By Don Fry, Mobile County Master Gardener | www.mobilecountymastergardeners.org
Spring means that Cherry Blossom trees burst into bloom around the world.
The blossoms can be seen at the Mobile Botanical Gardens, the Mobile Japanese Gardens and many homes and businesses.
With proper care they can be grown in lower Alabama. Although they can be planted in the late fall, they are most often available for sale in spring while in bloom. They do best in well-drained soil that receives full sun. They don’t like to dry out or stay wet. They will grow lichens on the bark. Although I usually describe the bark as a skin. It is very thin and scars easily. When damaged by a string trimmer they are inclined to not heal and may start to rot in the open scar. So, use a tree guard for protection from damage.
There are several types of cherry blossom trees, not be confused with actual fruiting cherry trees. The cherry fruiting trees are usually grown in colder areas such as the “Cherry Capital” in Traverse, Michigan. Here in Alabama, we buy our cherries at the grocery store and enjoy the blossoming varieties which produce beautiful flowers in spring, bursting forth even before the leaves.
When planting, loosen any roots on the outside of the root ball. Plant slightly above ground level (so don’t dig the hole deeper than the root-ball). With this type of tree the roots spread sideways nearer to the surface. This means they can be damaged by weed-killing chemicals. It also means more mulch to keep the roots cooler in our summer heat.
Enjoy “Hanami” the ancient tradition of enjoying the beautiful but ephemeral blossoms of cherry trees at www.nps.gov/subjects/cherryblossom