Yoshino Cherry Trees Buying & Growing Guide

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Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino Cherry Tree)

Best known as the stars of Washington, D.C.’s annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, Yoshino Cherry Trees are an ornamental tree popular for their clusters of beautiful pale-pink blossoms. While its fruit is generally not sweet enough for human palettes, Yoshino cherry trees are prized for being easy to care for, adaptable, and aesthetically pleasing.

  • Adaptable to a variety of climates, and tolerant of heat and humidity
  • With a pleasing natural shape, it does not need to be pruned for aesthetic reasons
  • Fruit attracts many birds, including robins, cardinals, and waxwings

Where to Buy Yoshino Cherry Trees

Yoshino Cherry Tree Overview

Quick Facts

Origin Japan
Scientific Name Prunus x yedoensis
Family Rosaceae
Type Deciduous tree
Common Names Yoshino Cherry Tree, Japanese Flowering Cherry, Tokyo Cherry, Potomac Cherry
Height Up to 40 feet
Toxicity Toxic to cats, dogs, and horses
Light Full sun to partial shade
Watering Maintain moist soil
Pests Caterpillars and leaf miners
Growing ZonesOutdoor: 5-8

Zones 5-8

Growing Zones: 5-8


Planting and Care
SunlightYoshino cherries flourish in full sun: 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
WateringNewly-planted Yoshino cherries need frequent watering; after they are established, water when the soil is very dry.
FertilizingUse a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for flowering trees in spring; add compost yearly around tree.

Planting instructions

Weeping Yoshino cherry

The best time to plant your Yoshino cherry tree is in the spring or fall. Choose a planting location that receives full sun, and has moist, well-draining soil. Dig a wide, deep hole with a mound of soil at the center. Set the tree on the soil mound, and spread out the roots. Starting with a nutrient-rich topsoil, backfill the hole to cover the roots, and water when the hole is about two-thirds full. Fill in the rest of the hole, without covering the crown. Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch over the tree’s root zone, keeping the mulch approximately 8 inches from the trunk.

Watering and nutrients

Yoshino cherry trees need consistently moist soil, especially in their infancy. However, they do not tolerate waterlogged soil, so plant them in well-draining soil. Water the tree at the trunk base whenever the top layer of soil dries out. To help the soil retain moisture, add a layer of mulch over the soil. When mulching, leave a gap of a few inches around the trunk, to prevent the trunk from rotting. If your soil is not naturally rich in nutrients, you can use a standard liquid fertilizer as recommended, or add compost rich in organic materials to the top of your soil annually.


Close up of Yoshino cherry

This tree performs best when left to its own devices, so don’t feel the need to prune on a regular basis. However, you should ensure good maintenance of the tree by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased branches as they appear.

These trees have an upright growth habit with outward spreading branches that result in a dense vase-shaped canopy. Their natural shape is very appealing, so you shouldn’t need to prune for any aesthetic reason. However, if you do decide to prune your Yoshino cherry tree to shape it, then always do so in early summer, to avoid removing any flower buds.

Pests and diseases

These trees can be affected by insects like scale, aphids, and mites. Natural remedies include neem oil, horticultural oil, or insecticidal soap applied thoroughly to the tree. Yoshino cherry trees are also susceptible to leaf-eating caterpillars and tent caterpillars, which can be controlled with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis).

Bacterial diseases like leaf spot and twig cankers, as well as fungal diseases, can affect Yoshino cherry trees. You can prevent these diseases with proper tree care and maintenance. If your tree becomes infected with a bacterial disease, immediately remove infected branches, and fertilize the tree. For fungal infections, treat the entire tree with 2 tablespoons of neem oil mixed with 1 gallon of water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Close up of Yoshino cherry in bloom

Do Yoshino cherry trees produce fruit?

Yes, these trees do produce cherries, but not the kind you will find in the grocery store. Yoshinos produce small, black cherries that, while edible, are not appealing to the human palette. However, many different types of birds, including cardinals, robins, and waxwings, as well as other small wildlife, are big fans of the fruit, so if you want to attract some feathered and furry friends to your yard, a Yoshino cherry tree is a good choice.

Are Yoshino cherry trees toxic to dogs?

Yes, the stems, leaves, and blossoms of this tree are toxic to dogs, which may mean these are not an ideal tree for dog-owners. The stems, leaves, and blossoms contain Cyanogenic glycosides, a toxin which prevents oxygen from being properly absorbed and transported by cells (meaning they are also toxic to humans as well). It’s best to keep dogs and these trees separated, or clean up any blossoms, leaves, or stems immediately after they fall.

How long do Yoshino cherry trees live?

With proper attention and care, Yoshino cherry trees can live and flower for about 80 years. Although this is a relatively short lifespan compared to other trees, which can live for hundreds of years, it is certainly long enough for a few generations to enjoy. To improve the longevity of your Yoshino cherry tree, plant it in an area where it will not be harmed by heavy foot traffic or other abuse.

Are Yoshino cherry trees fast-growing?

Given their relatively short lifespans, the answer is yes. These trees grow rather quickly, at a pace of about 3 to 4 feet per year in optimal conditions. Given that Yoshino cherry trees typically grow to be between 25 and 35 feet high, this can mean that you will have a fully grown tree in less than 10 years, giving you plenty of time to enjoy this enchanting, ornamental tree.