Facts About the Weeping Cherry Tree

By Muffy Marracco , last updated May 10, 2011

Here are some facts about the weeping cherry tree. These trees are spectacular in spring, with long swaying tendrils full of pink blossoms. It is known by the scientific name Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula.’ Prunus means “plum” in Latin. “Subhirtella” means “slightly hairy underneath” in Latin, referring to the veins on the bottom side of the tree’s leaves. Pendula is from the same Latin roots as pendulous and is a reference to the tree’s weeping branches.

This deciduous tree can reach heights of 20 to 40 feet. The branches arch up and then dangle downwards like an umbrella, with a spread of up to 25 feet. The pink flowers appear in late March or early April. These trees, although they do produce cherries, are used just for ornamental purposes. The cherries themselves are small and black and hard to notice amidst all the foliage.

The weeping cherry tree is native to Japan, where it is known as "shidarezakura." Considering the climate of its native habitat, this tree will do best in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8. The tree thrives in full sun. It prefers moist yet well-drained soil. Mulching the base of the tree is recommended so it will retain water. Dried out and drought-stricken trees are more susceptible to diseases and pests. Diseases that afflict the weeping cherry include red spot, powdery mildew, leaf spot, black knot and twig canker. Pests include aphids, spider mites, borers and tent caterpillars.

The leaves of the weeping cherry are alternately arranged, ovate in shape and anywhere from one to four inches long. In the autumn, they turn yellow or orange and then fall to the ground. The flowers are pink and about half an inch in diameter. They come on a small inflorescence in clusters of two to five. The blooms appear before the leaves do.

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