Ailing Weeping Cherry - 'Pendula' Double Weeping Prunussubpen106

Asked May 31, 2018, 11:58 AM EDT

Our weeping cherry isn't off to a good start this year. It was planted in the fall. It has several suckers and many of the top branches did not bear blossoms or leaves - although they are still supple and appear to have tiny leaf buds that aren't forming into leaves. The soil was amended and other trees planted at the same time are doing well - dogwood, crepe myrtle and rose-of-sharon. Thank you in advance for your help.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Many weeping cherry trees suffered dieback after the past harsh winter. Prune out all dead branches.

Also prune off the suckers and the growth on the trunk. Suckers are sometimes a typical habit of cherry trees. If so, prune off after the first flush of growth in spring (say, June) and then again in July or August if necessary.

The suckers and sprouting also may be a cultural problem. We cannot see the natural flare of this tree at the base (where the trunk flares out as it enters the soil). This should always be visible on a tree. A tree trunk should not go straight into the ground like a lollipop. If you pull away the mulch and do not see the flare, the tree was planted too deeply. This can slowly kill a tree, and it should be quickly replanted at the correct height. More about this here:

In addition, mulch should never touch the trunk or base of any plant. Mulch is actually not a natural state of affairs for plants, though it can be very useful and beneficial in landscaping. Always keep mulch pulled back from the base of plants a few inches. It should not be more than 2-3" deep.