Cherry trees did not bloom this spring (2016)

(Question)

Hi Master Gardeners,

My question is about flowering cherry trees.

We have a city-owned cherry tree (type unknown, the blossoms are white) on our boulevard that normally produces lovely blossoms every year. This year – nothing. The same goes for a mature kwanzan cherry in our backyard, which is normally covered in pink double blossoms. It was pruned 2 years ago, and did not bloom well in 2015. This year it is the same story again: no blossoms. Was it improperly pruned, or was it the late frosts and snow storms this winter?

Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this!

(Answer)

Hi Sara,

The famed Sakura cherry trees in High Park which include the Kwanzan cultivar are showing only sporadic bloom this year blamed on the low temperatures we experienced in April so I expect your lack of bloom is also weather related. Blossom development is very temperature sensitive. You will still see some flowering cherries around the city that are blooming because their particular site offered some protection from the low temperatures. Despite lack of blossom, the flowering cherries have a lovely, upright, symmetrical form and good fall colour so are attractive year round.

While I don’t think improper pruning was the cause of your lack of bloom on the Kwanzan cherry, I’m including a link below to a Canadian Gardening site that provides advice including pruning on the care of ornamental cherries.

The High Park Nature Centre tracks the peak bloom time of their Sakura cherries each year so is a good reference point for bloom status as well as information on the history and cultivation of the trees. Check the High Park website.