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A Complete Guide to Autumn Cherry Trees

Autumn cherry trees reveal their stunning pink-white blossoms in early spring—and do an encore in fall.

Autumn Cherry Tree Adobe

Autumn Cherry trees are stunning and unique, offering up small clusters of flowers not once but twice a year. After an early spring bloom, where deep pink buds open up to pale pink-white flowers in large clusters, these trees give an encore in fall, when many other trees are losing their leaves.

Autumn Cherry trees’ foliage shifts with the changing of the seasons, giving them a new gorgeous visual interest year-round. You can bring the National Cherry Blossom Festival to your own backyard with this lovely, fast-growing, and unique tree.

Autumn Cherry Trees at a Glance

  • Blooms twice a year
  • Blooms earlier in spring than most cherry trees
  • Attracts songbirds
  • Fast-growing
  • Cold-hardy

Appearance

The Autumn Cherry tree has delicate, broad upright branches. It grows at a fast rate of two feet or more per year until maturity, reaching 20-35 feet in height and 20-25 feet wide. Its lustrous, serrated, oblong-ovate leaves transition from green in the spring to gold, bronze, and red in autumn.

Its famous semi-double blossoms start as deep-pink buds, which become pale pink as they open, then become nearly white as they open fully. In the spring, the Autumn Cherry tree yields small, black, fruit-like berries that attract songbirds and other wildlife.

Specifications

Appearance Glossy leaves that transition from green to red, gold, and bronze in rounded canopy. Semi-double, 10-petal blooms start as pink buds before blossoming into pale pink-white flowers. Small, black berry-like fruits.
Appearance Glossy leaves that transition from green to red, gold, and bronze in rounded canopy. Semi-double, 10-petal blooms start as pink buds before blossoming into pale pink-white flowers. Small, black berry-like fruits.
Height 20-35 feet
Hardiness Zones Zones 5-8
Type of tree Deciduous flowering
Sunlight requirements Full sun to partial shade
Soil composition Adaptable, but prefer acidic, well-drained, moist loam or clay soil

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the best regions to grow various types of plants based on average temperatures throughout the year. Out of 11 total, Autumn Cherry trees grow best in Zones 5-8, thriving across most of the country.

Planting

Start by choosing a location that receives full sunlight—at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day—to partial shade. Clear away any weeds and debris, then dig a hole that is the same depth as the root ball but twice as wide, leaving a mound of soil in the hole’s center.

Place the tree on top of the soil mound and then spread the roots. You want the tree’s crown to be roughly an inch above the surrounding soil level. Backfill the hole about ⅔ of the way, then water the tree. After, fill the hole with soil so that the roots are covered but the crown is not. Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch over the tree’s root zone.

You should plant Autumn Cherry trees at least 35 feet apart, if you plan to plant several.

Growing Conditions

Autumn Cherry trees are low-maintenance and extremely rewarding. Set them up for success, and you’ll enjoy a beautiful range of foliage colors year-round and soft clusters of blossoms twice per year.

Sun and shade

Autumn Cherry trees thrive in full sunlight but can tolerate partial shade. They grow best with at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day.

Soil

These trees are adaptable and can tolerate a range of soils but grow best in moist, acidic, well-drained loam or clay soils.

Watering

The correct level of moisture is key when you first start growing your Autumn Cherry tree. If the soil is soggy, your tree’s leaves will yellow and fall off. Once your tree is established, you don’t need to water more than once every seven to 10 days, giving your tree about half an inch of water each time.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing your Autumn Cherry tree isn’t necessary unless your branches are experiencing slow growth—less than eight inches per year. Using fertilizer won’t enhance the number of berries your tree grows but can boost its foliage and branch growth. Balanced fertilizer, with an NPK value of 10-10-10, works best. Apply it in early spring.

Pruning

If you want to prune your Autumn Cherry tree, wait until after its bloom encore in the fall. This way, your tree will have time to heal before the following spring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Autumn Cherry trees lose their leaves in Autumn?

Autumn Cherry trees’ leaves turn bronze, gold, and red in fall.

What do they look like in the fall?

In the fall, Autumn Cherry leaves retain their rounded canopy, but their oblong, semi-ovate leaves turn to shades of bronze, gold, and red. They bloom once again, with semi-double, 10-petal blooms that are pale pink-white opening in large clusters.

Do they bloom more than once?

They are unusual among cherry trees in that they bloom more than once.

Do you eat cherries from Autumn Cherry Trees?

Autumn Cherry trees produce small, black, bitter berry-like fruits that songbirds like to eat but people do not.

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