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
- Arbor Day Foundation - Starting at $25.99
- Fast Growing Trees - Starting at $69.95
- Brighter Blooms - Starting at $69.99
- Plant Me Green - $39.95
Yoshino Cherry Tree Overview
|Scientific Name||Prunus x yedoensis|
|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 Zones||Zones 5-8|
Yoshino Cherry Tree Growing Zones: 5-8 Outdoors
Planting & Care
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.
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
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.
Types of Yoshino Cherry Tree
Other cultivars of Yoshino Cherry Trees include the following.
Prunus x yedoensis ‘Akebono’
This is an American variety of the Yoshino Cherry Tree, which offers masses of semi-double blooms covering its bare branches in early spring. The flowers are soft pink and have a mild fragrance. As they mature over the course of a few weeks, they turn to an off-white color.
This tree is easy to grow with a moderate growth habit and a tolerance to drought and disease. While it does prefer moist soil, it can be left in dry soil for extended periods once mature. This cultivar is considered to be one of the most disease-resistant flowering trees available in the Pacific Northwest.
Mature Size: Up to 35 feet
Hardiness Zone: 5-8
Light: Full sun
Water: Average moisture needs
Special Features: Semi-double pink blooms
Prunus x yedoensis ‘Shidare-Yoshino’
Also known as the Weeping Yoshino Cherry Tree, this cultivar has an elegant weeping growth habit. It is the result of a hybrid between Prunus speciosa and Prunus subhirtella s. Pendula, which is thought to date back to the 1800s.
This is a fast-growing tree that tops out at a maximum of around 25 feet tall. Its small blooms appear in early spring and are white in color. It performs best in moist, well-draining soil and will not tolerate soggy or heavy soils.
Mature Size: Up to 25 feet
Hardiness Zone: 5-8
Light: Full sun
Water: Maintain moist soil
Special Features: Weeping habit
Prunus x yedoensis ‘Somei-Yoshino’
This low-maintenance tree is easy to care for and highly rewarding. It is a small tree, growing to between 25 and 30 feet in height, with a similar-sized spread. It is staggeringly beautiful, with pale pink flowers that all bloom simultaneously in early spring.
It is the recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society and is ideal for growing as an ornamental on the lawn or for use in a border. It thrives in moist, rich soils, in a position of full sun.
Watch out for caterpillars and leaf miners, which can present a problem in the summer. The tree is also susceptible to diseases such as bacterial canker and silver leaf. To help prevent disease, ensure the branches have sufficient airflow and are not crowded with other plants and trees.
Mature Size: Up to 30 feet
Hardiness Zone: 5- 8
Light: Full sun
Water: Maintain moist soil
Special Features: Award-winning cultivar