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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

UNL Extension in Lancaster County

Horticulture

Helping Nebraskans enhance their lives through research-based education.

Flowering Trees: Cherry

by Don Janssen, UNL Extension Educator

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Flowering trees add beauty and seasonal interest to any landscape. Many have colorful or interesting fruits that may be edible or attractive to birds. In the landscape, flowering trees are secondary in importance to shade trees that provide framing, shade and background. Nevertheless, flowering trees provide interest that few shade trees can match.

It is best to use relatively few flowering trees in the landscape. A small residential property usually needs only two or three trees or small clumps. Rows, large groups, large masses and formal designs can be used on large estates or commercial properties.

Among the many flowering cherries, only a few are both spectacular and reliable enough for use throughout southeast Nebraska. They are best used as specimens, accents, groups or in borders. Most cherries are slow growing. They respond well to good soil and tend to decline in vigor on poor or heavy soils. Cherries will not tolerate wet soils.

Below are some cherries you may want to consider for your landscape.

Double-flowered Mazzard cherry: This cherry grows in a conical shape, eventually reaching a height of 30 feet with an equal spread. It bears clusters of 1 1/2-inch double white flowers early in spring lasting seven to 10 days. It is resistant to winter cold and has medium-sized edible fruit that are attractive to birds.

Higan cherry: This is a dense rounded tree, to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Light pink flowers. Both single and double flowered forms are available. This cherry has small black inconspicuous fruits. A pendulous, weeping variety (Pendula) is the most popular form.

'Kwanzan' cherry: This is the hardiest and most reliable form of Oriental cherry. Double pink flowers up to 2 1/2 inches in diameter are in pendulous clusters of 3 to 5. It grows in an upright rounded growth habit, under 30 feet.

Sargent cherry: Sargent cherry is the most cold-hardy of the flowering cherries and lives longer than other types. It has an upright dense growth habit to 30 feet, with bronze colored foliage is in spring, green in summer and red in fall. Sargent cherry has deep pink, single flowers and small, black, inconspicuous fruit. A narrow columnar cultivar 'Columnaris' is also available.


(This resource was added April 2007 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office


Contact Information

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
in Lancaster County
Web site: lancaster.unl.edu
444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A,
Lincoln, NE 68528
| 402-441-7180