Planting a Flowering Cherry Tree

Learn how to plant an ornamental cherry tree and enjoy these ephemeral flowers in your own backyard

Q: How do I plant an ornamental cherry tree to give it the best start??

Here are some key points for planting cherry trees:

Choose fertile, well-drained soil

Flowering cherries grow best in deep, fertile, well-drained soil.

Give your cherry tree room to breathe

Flowering cherries require full exposure and good air circulation to stay healthy and flower well, so it’s important to locate your cherry in an area that is not overly shaded or crowded. ‘Kanzan’ and ‘Akebono’ cherries are wide spreading, while ‘Pendula’ has a much narrower crown.

Expect ‘Kanzan’ to grow at least 3.6 m/12 ft. wide in 10 years (ultimate height and width 9 m/30 ft.), ‘Akebono’ 3 m/10 ft. (ultimate height and width 8 m/26 ft.), and ‘Pendula’ about 2 m/6½ ft. (ultimate height and width 5 m/16 ft.).

Pruning for size control seldom brings favourable results; pruning can seriously weaken a tree and often increases disease susceptibility. It is always better to site a tree where it can grow unimpeded to its natural size. 

Be meticulous with the planting of the cherry tree

For planting, dig a hole just slightly larger than the size of the container. Make sure the tree has been thoroughly watered and any excess water allowed to drain away, then knock off the container and carefully place the tree in the hole, making sure to maintain the same soil level in the ground as in the container.

Backfill with the soil taken from the hole to fill in any gaps. Tamp the soil firmly and make sure there are no large air-pockets around the roots. Create a small soil dam in a circle at the edge of the planting hole to contain any surface water and water the plant thoroughly.