Dwarf Weeping Cherry Tree
Have You Considered A Dwarf Weeping Cherry Tree?
A dwarf weeping cherry tree might be just the right ornamental for some gardens or yards. If you are looking for something truly stunning, a full sized flowering cherry or full sized weeping cherry might be the best choice. If the area where the tree is to go is rather small however, or if you're just looking for an ornamental that can be placed close to the house, a dwarf weeping cherry tree would probably be your best bet.
Dwarf fruit trees are not terribly difficult to find in nurseries or plant stores. Dwarf apples, peaches, and apricots are usually available in a number of varieties, and the same is true with certain ornamentals such as the flowering plum. Things can get a bit more difficult as far as a cherry tree is concerned, weeping or not. Depending upon the rootstock used in creating the dwarf cherry, if not pruned back and pruned carefully, the tree can easily reach the height of a standard tree. If you are in the market for a dwarf cherry tree, or a dwarf weeping cherry tree, find out all you can about the young plant before you purchase it. It may be a true dwarf, or you may have to expend some effort in keeping it small and manageable.
Branches Will Require Pruning - Both the weeping cherry tree and the dwarf weeping cherry tree have branches that extend first upward, then outward, and finally droop towards the ground. Dwarf weeping cherry trees in particular will almost always have branches that not only touch the ground, but begin to run along the ground. The solution to this is quite simple. Every autumn, after the tree has begun to go dormant, trim off the drooping branches to a foot or so above ground level. Don't trim all the branches to the same level or your tree will look like the haircut worn by Moe of the Three Stooges. Use a little variation in the lengths of the cuts.
Dwarf And Smaller - Usually a dwarf weeping cherry tree is planted in the yard or garden. One can also be planted in a container. Cherry trees require a container somewhat larger than most dwarf fruit trees because of their root system, but a 24" diameter pot should be sufficient. If you go this route you'll have to prune back the branches annually, but also will need to prune back the roots at least every other year. As the tree matures you might even have to re pot it once or twice, but by and large the tree will be an easy keeper. Not so easy a keeper would be if you go to the extreme and grow a bonsai dwarf weeping cherry tree. It would no doubt be a beautiful little tree, and they are available on the market (look for a Japanese dwarf weeping cherry tree), but obviously would require the training and care that goes with bonsai plants and trees.
Major Varieties - The four most common varieties of weeping cherry trees are the Higan, Kwanzan, Autumnalsi, Zakura, and Snow Fountain. Of these, only Snow Fountain is a true dwarf, reaching a height between 6' and 8'. Kwanzan might fit into a semi-dwarf category, reaching a height of around 15'. The others are standard size, growing anywhere form 25' to 40' tall. Snow Fountain then is the weeping dwarf cherry tree of choice for most people, and while there is admittedly not much of a variety to pick from, Snow Fountain is very popular and most owners appear to be very satisfied with it.
Not Much Pruning Needed - While you can prune Snow Fountain to suit your individual task, most owners of this little tree let it grow more or less wild, and don't attempt to shape it in any way. One still needs to prune back the branches if they begin to run along the ground, but beyond that Snow Fountain generally is not pruned much. One nice feature about Snow Fountain is its reputation as a fast grower, reaching its mature height in a relatively short time. It may take 2 or 3 years however before it begins to bloom, or at least bloom profusely. At least you don't have to wait half a lifetime to see if the tree you bought is the one you wanted.