Kwanzan Cherry Tree Info – Caring For Kwanzan Cherry Trees

Kwanzan Cherry Tree Info – Caring For Kwanzan Cherry Trees

So you love spring cherry blossoms but not the mess the fruit can make. Try growing a Kwanzan cherry tree (Prunus serrulata ‘Kanzan’). Kwanzan cherries are sterile and do not fruit. If this double-flowering Japanese cherry sounds perfect for your landscape, read on to find out how to grow Kwanzan cherries and other Kwanzan cherry tree info.

Kwanzan Cherry Tree Info

If you’ve been to Washington D.C. in the spring, you’ve no doubt been in awe of the numerous flowering cherry trees lining the avenues. Many of these beauties are Kwanzan cherry trees. Not only are they stunning in the spring, but they lend beautiful fall color and the trees are sterile so they do not produce fruit, making them the perfect specimens along roadways and sidewalks.

Native to China, Japan, and Korea, the tree’s original name is ‘Sekiyama,’ but it is rarely found under this name. Kwanzan (also known as Kanzan or Japanese flowering cherry) cherries were first donated by the Japanese people in 1912 along with 12 other varieties of flowering cherry.

Considered to be one of the most ornamental of the flowering cherries, the cherry tree grows to around 25 to 30 feet (7.5-10 m.) tall with an overall lovely vase shape. The deep pink, double blossoms bloom in clusters of 2-5 in April, just prior to leaf emergence. The tree has dark green, serrated, 5-inch (12 cm.) long leaves. In the fall, this foliage changes from yellow to an orange/bronze tone.

How to Grow Kwanzan Cherries

Kwanzan cherries are adaptable and can be found thriving along sidewalks, roadways and even as container plantings. You can also try your hand at growing a Kwanzan cherry tree as a bonsai. The biggest downside to growing this cherry ornamental is its limited lifespan; the tree doesn’t exceed 15-25 years. That said, its stunning beauty and minimal care make it well worth planting.

Kwanzan cherries can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 5-9 and should be planted in an area that receives full sun for at least 6 hours per day. The tree tolerates acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy, and both well-draining to wet soils. It prefers regular irrigation, although it is somewhat drought tolerant once established. Kwanzan cherries will also tolerate summer heat and humidity.

Kwanzan Cherry Tree Care

Although Kwanzan cherries are mildly drought tolerant, they prefer plenty of moisture. When caring for your Kwanzan cherry tree, be sure to give it adequate irrigation and avoid other stresses, as the bark is thin and easily damaged.

Kwanzan cherries are susceptible to a number of pests, including aphids – which result in sooty mold. Borers, scale bugs, spider mites, and tent caterpillars may afflict these flowering cherries as well.

Kwanzan cherries may also be afflicted by several diseases. Diseased branches should be pruned out but, otherwise, Kwanzan cherries need little pruning.

Kwanzan Cherry Tree Problems

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The "Kwanzan" cherry, a cultivar of the flowering cherry (Prunus serrulata), produces showy, deep pink blooms in spring and brilliantly colored orange, yellow or copper foliage in the fall. It is a small ornamental tree growing to a height and spread of 15 to 25 feet. Excellent specimen plants in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5B through 9A, these flowering cherry trees have short life span due to its susceptibility to disease, pests and intolerance of environmental factors.

How to Grown Kanzan

Grow Kanzan Cherry Trees in full sun and in well-drained soil with plenty of humus. Keep the soil evenly moist, because this is not a drought-tolerant tree. Kwanzan cherry trees can function in the landscape as fast-growing shade trees for small spaces, such as patios.

While these type of cherry trees grow to be moderately large, it's possible to grow Kanzan cherry trees as bonsais. Keep in mind that P. serrulata 'Kanzan' can be fairly short-lived—between 15 and 25 years—because it's particularly susceptible to pests and disease.

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

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Pruning Techniques and Considerations

Sharp, sterile tools will permit clean, easy cutting and minimize the potential for pathogen or pest invasion. Hand pruners or pruning shears cut small branches with a diameter of up to about 3/4-inch. Loppers or lopping shears remove branches up to 1 3/4-inches, while a pruning saw will cut through larger branches. Make pruning cuts at slight angle and just above a bud or branch junction or at a branch collar, the raised area of tissue where a branch meets the trunk or a larger branch. "Kwanzan" cherry trees are particularly prone to bark splitting or sunscald, sometimes caused by a sudden increase in the amount of sunlight reaching the trunk or main branches. To avoid this problem, thin only a small percentage of the cherry tree's canopy at one time. If necessary, prune to thin out a dense canopy or extensively shape the tree over several years.

Prunus 'Kanzan'

Previously known as:

Japanese Flowering Cherry is a small, deciduous, showy tree that grows up to 36', is rounded, spreading, has stiffly ascending branches, and is in the rose family. Young trees have a vase-shaped habit that becomes more spreading with a rounded crown into maturity. These trees prefer sandy to clay moist well-drained loams in full sun but will tolerate light shade. This plant has viral and fungal diseases and is susceptible to borers and scale.

This tree blooms with abundant clusters of double pink blooms in the spring and is considered one of the showiest of the Japanese cherries. Fruit ripens in the summer. When the leaves fill out they provide excellent shade. Fall leaf color is usually orange-bronze. Grafted trees may only reach 6.5' tall, but grown on their own roots, they will reach the full height. This plant is the domestix cherry in Japan and is called 'Sato Zakura' which means 'domestic cherry'.

Use this tree as a specimen, in groups, as a street tree, in parks or other public areas.

Problems: Potential diseases include leaf spot, dieback, leaf curl, powdery mildew, root rot and fireblight. Potential insects include aphids, scale, borers, leafhoppers, caterpillars, tent caterpillars and Japanese beetles. Spider mites may also be troublesome.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Large, pink, double flowers in pendulous clusters of 3-5
  • Leat teeth with slender stalks bearing ga gland
  • Large, wart-like glands (2-4) on petiole look like spider eyes
See this plant in the following landscapes: Cottage Garden, Storybook Cultivars / Varieties: Tags: #showy flowers#small tree#shade tree#pink flowers#spring flowers#berries#sterile#fantz#japanese#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses

Form in bloom CC BY 2.0 JC Raulston Arboretum
Form in bloom Myrabella CC BY-SA 3.0 Form not in bloom David J. Stang CC BY-SA 4.0 Close up of flower Sofig (Sophie Grail) CC BY-SA 4.0 Leaves and Bloom DAVID J. Stang CC BY-SA 4.0 Leaves in fall Liné1 CC BY 2.5 Stem and buds Captain-tucker CC BY-SA 3.0 Spring Form (Henderson County, NC) Barbara Stanley CC BY 4.0

Kwanzan Japanese Flowering Cherry

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With a Kwanzan Cherry tree , you can have your own personal Cherry Blossom Festival! At t he height of spring, this small to medium-sized ornamental tree is thickly set with scores of ruffled, frosted pink flowers. You’ll be snapping pictures like a tourist in your own backyard! And though those frilly Japanese Cherry bl ossoms receive all the glory, Kwanzan Cherry will also grace your landscape with lovely peach-colored foliage in fall. Plant this vase-shaped beauty as a single specimen underplanted with tulips, or place one on either side of a path in your garden and have the pleasure of walking under a Cherry blossom tree arch each spring.

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Spacing: 20-25'
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
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The Story

Thanks to a very generous gift from the People of Japan in 1912, approximately 3,750 Cherry trees are planted along the Tidal Basin in Washington DC. In a ceremony on March 27, 1912 the first lady Helen Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador Viscountess Chinda, planted the first two trees together on the northern bank in West Potomac Park. These two original trees are still standing today marked by a large plaque. Each spring our nation’s capital celebrates the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This has become a cherished tradition for many, drawing 1.5 million people to the city each year. In 2012, The United States sent 3000 flowering dogwood trees to Japan to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Japan’s Cherry trees. The trees are a living reminder of the good will and friendship between the two countries.

The Details

Passersby will do a double take with this gorgeous flowering Cherry in your yard! This superb specimen's branches are covered with clusters of large double-pink flowers in spring. And although you can't see them under the blanket of pink ruffles - this tree has leaves too! Beautiful bronzy-green foliage covers the tree when those fluffy pink flowers fade.

How to Grow

These Flowering Cherries like being planted in sunny locations and can grow in most soil conditions. Once you have your Cherry planted, make sure the soil is moist, without being constantly wet. As with most trees, a once a year fertilizing for about the first few years will give your tree the nutrients it needs to provide new, healthy growth and flowers for the following season. Apply a low rate fertilizer once in the fall. The Kwanzan Cherry doesn’t send out suckers very much at all and it only requires pruning when you feel that it is needed. There are those “lucky” trees that Japanese Beetles like to munch on and Flowering Cherries are one of them. There are a few ways to prevent or control beetle damage to your trees. Insecticide concentrates and sprays are available that can either be watered in around the base of the infected tree or sprayed on the foliage or beetles.

Basic Information

  • Botanical Name: Prunus Serrulata
  • Commonly known as: Kwanzan Cherry
  • Growing Zones: 5 to 9
  • Origin: Japan, China, Korea
  • Native name: Sekiyama

The Kwanzan flowering cherry tree requires a site with reasonably good drainage for optimum results. Although it is somewhat resistant to drought, it will flourish in soil conditions that are high in moisture. However, it has low tolerance to pollution. For these reasons, it should be planted on a site that is not exposed to vehicular traffic or other sources of pollutants. Avoid street side planting.


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The tree will flourish in cool, dry climates, and requires medium to full exposure to the sun. Though these trees will flower in partial shade as well, maximum sun exposure is recommended for optimum flowering patterns. The flowering season begins in spring, and blossoms are the longest lasting of all the cherry tree varieties, lasting through the season. Come autumn, the tree exhibits beautiful fall colors in foliage, when leaves will turn gold, copper, orange, and maroon.


Cherry trees require regular pruning to enable the tree to grow in a suitable (umbrella like) shape, and to maximize flowering. Pruning cherry trees also aids in quicker and better growth, and ensures that the tree grows in a pattern that is best suited to bear the weight of branches and blossoms to come. The Kwanzan cherry tree should be pruned in late winter, enabling maximum growth in the flowering season. Once the tree reaches maturity, you can prune in the summer as well. Pruning techniques need to focus on enabling the branches along the central leading branch (that will constitute the trunk) to grow outwards.

This tree is susceptible to diseases, one of the reasons that contribute to their relatively low life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. When growing a Kwanzan cherry tree, the following are some diseases and pests to guard against:

  • Cherry leaf Spot: As the name indicates, signs of this disease will be found in the form of spots on the leaf, and sometimes on branches and stems. The spots may be dark or light in color, and this condition can also be accompanied by untimely yellowing and shedding of leaves.
  • Powdery Mildew: This appears as a whitish powder that accumulates on the leaves, branches, and stems. The condition, one of the common plant diseases caused by fungi, also causes unseasonal leaf dropping.
  • Black Knot: This is characterized by longish dark swellings that appear at the nodes where leaves meet the stem.
  • Black Cherry Aphids: These are insects that eat the leaves of cherry trees, causing them to appear curled at the edges.

It’s best to call an arborist to help you deal with these problems, if you see any of the symptoms affecting your flowering tree. A trained arborist will not only diagnose your problem efficiently, but also be able to suggest the best treatment and preventive measures to avoid future attacks.

The Kwanzan cherry tree works as a valuable addition to any garden. It is one of the best ornamental flowering trees, that with a little care, can be a visual treat for months together, not only when it blossoms, but also when it exhibits its spectacular fall colors. Plant one in your garden and watch it enchant you with its magical beauty!

Watch the video: Close to the seaside, prunus serrulata kanzan, kwanzan, cherry blossom trees