Cherry Blossoms are some of the most beautiful flowers, coming in bright colors. The Cherry Blossom tree in full bloom, during the arrival of spring, is one of the most beautiful sights to behold.
The Cherry Blossom is so popular that festivals are celebrated in its honor- the Cherry Blossom Festival, celebrated in the months of March and April.
The Cherry Blossom is Japan's unofficial National Flower. Somei Yoshino is a favorite Cherry Blossom variety of the Japanese. The flowers are almost pure white, tinged with the palest pink, especially near the stem.
The Somei Yoshino Cherry Blossoms bloom, and usually fall within a week, before the leaves come out. The trees, thus look nearly white from top to bottom. Other Cherry Blossom varieties include yamazakura, yaezakura, and shidarezakura. The yaezakura Cherry Blossom have large flowers, thick with rich pink petals.
The shidarezakura Cherry Blossom, or weeping Cherry, has branches that fall like those of a weeping willow, bearing cascades of pink flowers.
The Japanese Cherry starts flowering profusely from the first warmer days in April, heralding the coming of spring. The pink or white flowers grow in racemose clusters at nodes on short spurs. They are past flowering early in May.
The Cherries can be divided into three groups - the European, the American, and the Oriental. In general, the Oriental types (Prunus serrulata) are less hardy. This genus - Prunus comprises over 400 species and numerous cultivars of trees and shrubs growing in temperate climates mostly in the Northern Hemisphere.
It includes evergreen shrubs, flowering fruit trees, and all the stone fruits - almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, and prunes. They are also very ornamental.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual celebration in Washington, D.C., commemorating the March 27, 1912, gift to the city of 3,000 Japanese cherry trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to strengthen the growing friendship between the United States and Japan. Cherry Blossoms are rooted deep in the culture of Japan and were used in ancient Japan to forecast how crops for the coming year would do. Modern Japan still celebrates Hanami - gatherings of friends to picnic under a canopy of Cherry Blossoms, enjoying the brief burst of the beauty of nature and springtime. Through the centuries, the Japanese have developed many different varieties of the Cherry tree. All of these trees bloom for a short time with pink or white flowers. Cherries are part of the rose family and like roses, most cherry trees bloom during the spring. A few varieties are grown to flower later and actually show their blossoms in autumn or even during winter! Normally, it is just a week to ten days before all of the blossoms are carried away by the wind.
Growing Cherry Blossoms
Cherries are propagated by budding them on seedling stocks in the nursery and are sold for planting stock as one or two-year-old trees. Sweet and Sour Cherries are fairly easy to grow. Sour Cherries, which are smaller and more tolerant of cold and heat, are easier to grow than sweet Cherries.
Sour cherries are self-pollinating so you don't have to plant two kinds. Sour Cherries also bloom later, which makes them less vulnerable to harm from late spring frosts.
- Because of the fact that Cherry Blossom trees bloom early in spring and are susceptible to damage from late spring frosts, the site for growing Cherries should be slightly higher and sloped than the surrounding ground to prevent frosty air from settling in the low spots.
- Cherry Blossom trees should be placed in a sheltered location with full sun, in soil that is deep, fertile and moist, but well drained.
- Full sun exposure for Cherry Blossom trees is necessary to produce delicious Cherries and strong trees.
- Cherry Blossom trees grown in shade will produce spindly branches and fewer cherries that are less sweet.
- Sweet and sour Cherries are susceptible to most of the same problems.
Cherry Blossom Plant Care
- Maintaining a clean surrounding is very important to keep pest and disease problems down for Cherry Blossom trees.
- Bird problems on Cherry Blossom trees can be prevented by planting your trees near people or pets and by netting.
- Diseased fruit, leaves, and prunings on Cherry Blossom trees should be removed immediately and either burned to kill insect larvae and disease spores or destroyed in a hot compost pile.
- Some common problems seen in Cherry Blossom trees are Plum curculio, Brown rot, cherry fruit flies, cherry leaf spot and bacterial canker.