IF YOU DON’T ALREADY HAVE A YOSHINO CHERRY TREE IN YOUR GARDEN, by all means acquire one. This Prunus x yedoensis is the tree of Washington, D.C. fame, and the subject of a wildly-popular festival in Macon, Georgia. But it cheerfully thrives in my cold, zone 5-b garden in upstate New York, too. Well before the first crabapples bloom, the Yoshino adorns itself in luxurious, white-to-pink, almond-scented blossoms. Here are the keys to success with this deciduous tree of Japanese origin:
For optimum health, the Yoshino has two requests: full sun and well-draining soil. My tree thrives on a sunny, south-facing slope in the Serpentine Garden. Make the planting hole twice the size of the root ball, but no deeper. A wide hole, of course, permits roots to establish themselves very quickly. Back-fill the gap between hole and roots. Then build a 4-inch berm of soil around the tree, as a reservoir for water. Water weekly during the first spring and summer. Thereafter, deep watering will only be required during times of prolonged drought. Remove the berm after the first year.
A marvelous spring picture is achieved when the Yoshino is planted among other spring-flowering trees, such as dogwoods, redbuds, and crabapples. But be sure to allow at least 20 feet between each tree. For this flowering cherry has a potential height and spread of 35-40 feet.
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