Weeping Higan Cherry
(Rosaceae - Rose Family)
- medium-sized ornamental tree
- maturing at up to 40' tall by 25' wide (but often smaller), and grafted onto a standard
- pendulous oval growth habit in youth, becoming a pendulous mounding growth habit with maturity (like a single or multi-tiered umbrella)
- medium growth rate for its arching vertical growth, but a rapid growth rate for its many weeping stems
- full sun to partial sun
- prefers moist, well-drained soils of average fertility in full sun, but is adaptable to poor soils, compacted soils, dry soils, and heat
- propagated primarily by rooted stem cuttings, and rarely by seed
- Rose Family, with several potential disease problems (including trunk cankers) and several potential pest problems (including trunk borers and Japanese Beetles), plus potential frost cracks on the trunk in Winter
- commonly available in cotainer or ball and burlap form
- Weeping Higan Cherry is somewhat sensitive to being transplanted in Autumn, and care should be taken to amend the soil, fertilize, water thoroughly, mulch adequately, and avoid Winter salt spray, to enhance survival chances during the first Winter
- placement near a house foundation should be done with discretion (note the mature height and width) as well as placement directly at water's edge (it is not wet-site tolerant, but will do fine if placed on a well-drained slope above the water)
- if desired, stems that weep to the ground can be pruned up to a desired height (either staggered in height for informality, or clipped to precisely the same height for formality) so that mowing, growth of other ornamentals, or maintenance access can be achieved underneath the tree
- remove all suckers and watersprouts that occur below the graft union, as these will be vertical (rather than weeping) in their growth habit and will destroy the character of the tree
- medium- to dark green with dull shiny upper surfaces, alternate, ovate to elliptical, singly or doubly serrated, with an acuminate apex
- fall color is a mixture of green, chartreuse, and yellow, and is ornamentally insignificant
- single- or double-flowering, light-pink pendulous clusters of flowers occur on the weeping branches in late March or early April before the leaves emerge, effective for one week
- fruits are small and glossy black, but are sparse, ornamentally insignificant, hidden by the foliage, and seldom noticed
- rapid growth rate at the weeping terminals, but a medium vertical growth rate from the upper arching shoots
- among ornamental tree members of the Rose Family, Weeping Higan Cherry is one of the few that has very few spur shoots, as most flowers occur from buds along the slender, straight, relatively unbranched weeping twigs
- single trunked, obtained from grafting the weeping cultivar 'Pendula' onto the upright species standard, typically at 5' to 6' above the ground
- bronzy-copper in color and lenticeled, becoming gray in color and platy to exfoliating in bark character with age
- prone to fissures (frost crack or borer-induced) that ooze a thick, gummy sap
- remove all root suckers and trunk watersprouts that occur below the graft union, as these will be vertical (rather than weeping) and vigorous in their growth habit, and will destroy the character of the tree
- strongly weeping character that arises from rapidly growing whip-like, virtually unbranched, hanging shoots that are attached to arching branches grafted onto a vertical standard, having faded pink showy flowers in late Winter or early Spring, before the foliage emerges
- weeping thin stems will grow all the way to the ground, and sway gently in the Summer breezes
- specimen, foundation, border, or entranceway ornamental tree
- often used near bodies of water to showcase its cascading, waterfall-like weeping effect
- medium texture in foliage and when bare
- open density in foliage and when bare
- strongly weeping and cascading habit on a relatively large ornamental tree
- pendulous, relatively unbranched stems sway easily in the breeze
- rapid growth and establishment
- accent tree in late Winter or early Spring, with its showy pink flowers that emerge before the foliage, on pendulous branches
- relatively long-lived (on average) for a Cherry
- several potential diseases and pests, as is typical of most Rose Family members
- marginally hardy in severe zone 5 Winters, especially at the graft union on established trees, or the entire tree on recent transplants
- vertical trunk watersprouts and root suckers, if not removed, will destroy the weeping character of the tree
- zones 5 to 8
- native to Japan
- early- to mid-Spring-flowering ornamental trees (Amelanchier, Cornus florida, Magnolia x soulangiana, Malus, Prunus serrulata, Pyrus calleryana, etc.)
- weeping or cascading flowering trees or large shrubs (Caragana arborescens 'Pendula' or 'Walker', Malus 'Louisa', 'Molten Lava', 'Red Jade', 'Weeping Candied Apple', or 'White Cascade', Prunus x 'Snow Fountains', etc.)
- pendulous evergreen trees or large shrubs (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula', Picea abies 'Pendula', Pinus strobus 'Contorta' or 'Pendula', Pseudotsuga menziesii 'Pendula', Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula' or 'Sargentii', etc.)
- Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis' - an upright oval form with a few sporadic flowers in Autumn (mostly obscured by the still-persistent foliage), and a heavy floral display of semi-double pink flowers in Spring, maturing at 30' tall and 20' wide
- Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula Plena Rosea' - a double-flowering form with pink flowers, maturing at 40' tall by 25' wide with the same weeping growth habit as 'Pendula'
- Prunus x 'Snow Fountains' - sometimes considered a small tree cultivar of Weeping Higan Cherry, this dwarf hybrid matures at about 12' tall and 12' wide when top-grafted onto a 5' standard, with stout stems that repeatedly arch, branch, and cascade to the ground, having showy white flowers in early Spring before the foliage, but again prone to the typical diseases and pests of the genus (especially Japanese Beetle) and dieback or death in severe zone 5 Winters
- Prunus is the Latin name for plum.
- subhirtella translates as "somewhat hairy beneath", referring to the pubescent veins on the undersides of young leaves.
- 'Pendula' translates as "pendulous", referring to the weeping growth habit.
- Weeping Higan Cherry is a strongly weeping tree (grafted onto a standard) with prolific pink flowers that bloom before the foliage emerges.
- Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula' is a medium-sized tree noted for its showy early Spring blooms, rapid growth, and strongly weeping habit to the ground, with its upper arching branches becoming mounding with age.
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