The Q&A Archives: Care Of Yoshino Cherry Trees

Question: I am wondering about the optimal conditions for growing yoshino cherry trees. I have two trees in a bed that has sandy soil covered with mulch, about 5 yrs. old that don't seem to be growing and flowering very well. The other plants in the bed are alive but also don't produce lush foliage. They are dwarf alberta spruce, Abigail Adams azalea and another low growing deciduous azalea transplanted about 8 years ago that never blossomed. This raised bed is near pine trees and measures about 24'x10' on the longest sides (it is roughly tiangular) and receives full sun from about 10 A.M until 3 P.M. Do I need to remove the mulch (very thick) and add something to the soil or just fertilize the plants and with what? I also have 2 two-year old yoshinos in my yard that were planted in loam over sandy soil, not in beds, just in the lawn. They seem to be healthy. Anything special I should be doing for them? Thank you soooo much!

Answer: I suspect that there may be two things at work, one being competition from the pine trees' roots for nutrients and moisture, and the other being too little sunlight. The cherries really do best in all day sun or with at least six or seven hours of sun including the hour of noon. That being the case, I am not sure fertilizing will solve the problem. There is a possibility, if the mulch was woodier rather than predomininantly bark, that there has been some temporary nitrogen loss. You might run some soil tests and see if the pH or nutrients are out of line, then fertilize based on the results. In any case, a layer of about three inches of mulch is all that is needed. Allow this mulch to rot down sufficiently and then maintain a thinner layer.

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