With its small, clustered, fragrant white to pale-pink blossoms, the Yoshino cherry tree (Prunus x yeoensis) is a sight to behold when in full bloom. An ornamental tree, it grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, but it can adapt to a range of soil conditions. A rapid grower, the Yoshino cherry tree will not make you wait too long before you can enjoy its full beauty and almond-scented blossoms in your landscape.
Considered a medium to fast grower, the Yoshino cherry tree develops very quickly, especially during the early stages of growth -- an extra plus for children eager to see the tree you plant grow to maturity and blossom. In only 3 to 4 years, the tree can reach up to 15 feet tall and have a trunk diameter of around 3-inches. After 4 years, the growth rate slows down, but the tree can still grow up to 3 or 4 feet each year for the rest of its life, which is relatively short -- 15 to 20 years at most.
As quickly as it grows, the Yoshino cherry tree reaches only 20 to 30 feet when fully mature. With it’s round branch shape, the large, extending branches that can reach upwards of 30 feet in length will droop some with age. The loss in battleground to gravity that comes with age, though, in no way detracts from the Yoshino cherry tree's beauty.
All varieties of the Yoshino cherry tree are fast growing and showy. However, certain varieties will exhibit special characteristics. “Snow Fountain” is a semi-weeping variety, so its branches droop more than other cherry tree types. It is also shorter, reaching between 6 to 10 feet tall, but it can spread out to upwards of 12 or 15 feet. In turn, the “Akebono” has a traditional growth pattern with the rounded top and the wide spreading branches. However, the blossoms are a pale pink, lending a delicate air to this sometimes over-the-top tree.
As a very showy and exotic tree when in full bloom, the Yoshino cherry tree can be used as a central focal point of a garden design, or, if you want to make an especially strong impact, group several of the trees together. The scent and beauty of the blossoms can be quite intoxicating for even a single tree, and when there is more than one in full bloom, the impression is unforgettable. The Yoshino cherry tree prefers full sunlight.