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Yoshino cherry



Yoshino cherry
Prunus × yedoensis

Photo: Dr. Robert Polomski

Beauty While It Lasts

In the Carolinas, ornamental cherries tend to be shortlived because they are afflicted with a multitude of damaging insects and diseases. Nevertheless, I will always be a fan of Yoshino cherry. This natural hybrid produces clusters of single white to pink, slightly fragrant, one-inch wide flowers between March and April.  The effect is utterly mesmerizing.
When I see the Yoshinos in bloom in our area, I’m reminded of the cherry trees planted around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. (~ 3,750 cherry trees), most of which are Yoshino cherries. The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship from Japan. The first National Cherry Blossom Festival was held in 1927 and will be held this year to coincide with peak bloom, which is expected to be between March 14 and March 17 this year.
Yoshino becomes a broad-rounded tree that typically reaches a height of 20 to 30 ft. with wide-spreading horizontal branches. I’ve seen it used successfully in front yards and along the edges or walkways and near patios.  Fall color, which is often a rare event in some areas of the Carolinas because the leaves drop prematurely in September, is yellow to bronze.

So as I anticipate this year’s floral display, I am reminded of their reduced life span compared to other tree species. But because a Yoshino cherry tree will live longer than most celebrity marriages, I will continue to admire and recommend this magnificent specimen.