Can I plant a cherry blossom tree in my backyard in July/ August? I am thinking of buying a tree from home depot and planting that. Any tips?
Thank-you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your question about flowering cherry trees (Prunus ssp).
All cherry trees flower in spring, but I am guessing you are referring specifically to an ornamental cherry tree – one that is planted for the flowers rather than the fruit.
This Gardenia article gives some information on the various species and varieties of ornamental cherries available (7 species and many more varieties are included in the designation Flowering Cherry), and this Better Homes & Gardens article discusses planting sites and methods. Regardless of the particular variety you are thinking of purchasing, you should really wait until early fall to plant it in your garden. The heat and dry conditions of summer in the Toronto area would impose an extra challenge on a newly planted tree, trying to establish itself and get over transplant shock. If you want to buy the tree now, that is fine. Just leave it in its pot until the weather begins to cool a little, in late August or early September. That will still give it plenty of time to settle into the garden before winter hits. Select a site that is sunny but protected from strong winds. Good drainage is also important. Remember to dig your planting hole at least twice as wide as the pot, but just to the depth of the soil in the pot. Do not dig too deep a hole! Building a small “dam” around the plant about 20cm away from the trunk (or as far out as the drip line of the leaves) helps to keep the water from running away from the tree. It will need plenty of water after planting and right into late fall/early winter.
Although this TMG Gardening Guide is not specifically about cherry trees, it is an excellent general resource and applies to planting any tree.