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Japanese weeping cherry tree..

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by gogetter, Jun 20, 2001.

  1. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Hi guys. Need some help. A customer/friend has a Japanese weeping cherry tree (this is what she said it's called, I had no clue myself).
    She said her husband planted it when just a little 12" thing.
    Now it's about 4' tall and maybe 6' around (trunk is maybe 4" around).
    Woman is concerned it's not growing tall enough. She thinks the "weeping" branches are just growing too long and too heavy to allow it to grow taller. So it's going wider rather then taller.
    She points to neighbors same species of tree that is taller and about same width.

    Questions are: How do I go about pruning this type of tree? Will the right pruning promote height?
    She wants it done next week (when I trim hedges). Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Michael Fronczak

    Michael Fronczak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 230

    Let it grow, prune branches up from ground. They grow slow & don't get vey tall, 20-30 ft average. Hope this helps.
  3. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    We call them Flowering Cherries.

    As for the pruning, we prune them from the top. I will cut them back structurally (at the crotches of the limbs) to get the desired look. They are often long branches that cascade down to the ground and we will just begin to thin them out until we have the canopy (top of tree) we desire. Then we will prune them from the ground up as Mike does to have a uniform appearance.

    Think of Japanese maples. Its basicalkly the same techniques only a slightly larger scale.

    As for your clients concern - just console her in the fact that the specimen is healthy (if it is), and that it is growing just the way it was intended to. These trees are used as an accent piece in a landscape to give it form and color, not shade.

    Good Luck!
  4. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Hate to bother you guys, but I just want to make sure I understand you right. When you say "prune them from the ground up", you mean the ends of branches that are touching down to the ground, right?
    How much do you take off? How high off the ground should they be when done?

    I'm good with hedges and shrubs, but this is the first ornamental type tree I've done. Thanks in advance!
  5. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,361

    The 'starting' height of a weeping cherry depends on how high the graft is. Many are grafted at 4-5' so the crown is up higher to start with and has more room to weep.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,839

    How high up from the ground is a personal preference. But I believe it looks best when their pruned about 1/3 up from the ground. That is, for a 6' tree, you would prune the branches evenly right at 2' from the ground. That's what ** I ** think looks best. Your client may think otherwise. Some people like them up a little more. And I've run into a few who like the branches to hand all the way down to the ground, which I think just ruins the look of the tree.

    I think it's also important to thin out the branches a little so you can see into the trunk a little.

    Same techniques go for weeping pussy willows, weeping elms, etc. They all have the same basic shape.

    p.s. I have the coolest weeping cherry in my front yard. It blossoms twice per year and the 6' trunk was trained to grow in a serpentine fashion (S form). It looks so cool.

    example of a serpentine shaped tree (for those who don't know);
  7. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    This customer is now moving into her sons home (also a customer of mine) and wants to take this tree with her.

    So the question is can this be moved at this time of year safely?

    If so, how big of a ball of soil should I take with it? I'm guessing the more the better? Thanks again.
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    Lanelle is right on the money. If it is a Weepnig Cherry (Prunus subhertella) the trunk is what it is. It will get fatter, but never elongate.
  9. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,622

    This had not been my experience. I have planted hundreds of cherries and found they do grow after the graft. That is, they do gain in height.
  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Regarding the growth rate....I have 3 on my own property. THey DO NOT like wet feet. all 3 ten years old....1 of them has grown far more slowly than the others and its in an area close to a swail in the front yard...often its very damp in there...check to see if hers has wet feet

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