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Everything You Need To Know about Yoshino Cherry Trees

Yoshino cherry trees bloom a fragrant cloud of whitish-pink blossoms earlier in spring than many other cherry varieties.

Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 05/24/2024

Yoshino cherry trees, or Japanese flowering cherry trees, are a standout at cherry blossom festivals worldwide. Their almond-scented, whitish-pink blossoms create a stunning display against bare branches each spring. Although the small cherries are too bitter for people to eat, they provide a vital food source for birds, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Renowned for their heat tolerance, graceful branching, and stunning spring blossoms, Yoshino cherry trees bring a unique beauty to any landscape. Our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about these iconic trees, including planting and care tips.

Yoshino Cherry Trees at a Glance

Fragrant, almond-scented whitish-pink flowers in spring
One of the first cherry trees to bloom
Staple of the National Cherry Blossom Festival and Washington, D.C., Cherry Blossom Festival
Attracts birds and butterflies with small dark berries
Exotic branching pattern and vase-like canopy


Yoshino cherry trees are known for their elegant, vase-shaped canopy that unfurls from a distinctive, upright branching pattern. Their smooth gray bark adds to their aesthetic appeal.

These trees grow relatively quickly at first, often reaching a height of 10–15 feet by the third or fourth year. With proper care, a fully mature Japanese flowering cherry will typically reach 30–50 feet tall with a spread of 25–40 feet.

One of the first cherry varieties to bloom, Yoshino cherries create a spectacle in early spring—typically March to April. Each blossom has five pale pink petals that mature into pure white. Yoshino cherry blossoms appear against bare branches in clusters of five or six, creating a cloud-like effect.

As spring gives way to summer, the Yoshino cherry’s foliage emerges, showcasing serrated, ovate leaves. These glossy green leaves change to fiery tapestry of yellow, orange, and red in the fall before dropping in winter.

Yoshino Cherry Tree Specifications

Not sure if a Yoshino cherry tree is a good fit for your yard? This at-a-glance guide will help you make an informed decision.


Vase-shaped canopy with branching pattern. Whitish-pink flowers in spring, glossy green serrated leaves in summer that turn yellow, orange, and red in fall.


30–50 feet

Hardiness Zones

Zones 5–8

Type of tree


Sunlight requirements

Full sun to partial shade

Soil composition

Highly adaptable but prefers moist soil

Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the regions where plants can grow, based on minimum winter temperatures. Yoshino cherry trees can grow in Zones 5-8, which encompass a wide range of climates across the United States. This includes regions from the mild Pacific Northwest to the humid Southeast, and many areas in between. However, these cherry trees will struggle in the extreme cold of Zone 4 and colder, or the intense heat of Zone 9 and warmer.


The best times to plant Yoshino cherry trees are spring and fall. We recommend following these steps:

  • Choose an area that receives full sun to partial shade—full sun is preferable.
  • Clear away any debris, turfgrass, or weeds.
  • Dig a hole twice the depth and the same width as your Yoshino cherry root ball, leaving a small mound of dirt in the middle.
  • Spread out the root ball using your hands or a small spade, and place the root ball carefully on the mound. The tip of the root ball should be an inch above the surrounding soil.
  • Backfill the hole with soil 1/2 of the way, then soak the hole.
  • Once the water drains away, fill the rest of the hole with soil.
  • Finish by spreading a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over the roots, being careful not to let it touch the trunk.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out the video below for a step-by-step guide to planting a Yoshino cherry tree. Expert contractor Jenn Nawada demonstrates the entire process, from choosing the perfect location to essential post-planting care tips.

Yoshino cherry trees must be kept moist but are tolerant of a wide variety of soil types.

Sun and Shade

Yoshino cherry trees flourish in full sun, or at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. They can also grow in partial shade, but they will have fewer flowers.


Yoshino cherry trees’ only true requirement of soil is that it’s moist. They can grow in acidic, moist, sandy, loamy, and clay soils.


The soil should be consistently moist, especially as your Yoshino cherry tree is getting established and growing its root system. Water with a garden hose for roughly 30 minutes if the top 2 inches of soil are dry—you can test this by inserting your index finger into the soil. That translates to roughly every two weeks in the summer and every three or so weeks in fall and spring.

Applying a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch can help prevent the moisture from evaporating and allow you to space out waterings more. Always be sure to leave a gap of several inches between the mulch and the trunk.


Your Yoshino cherry tree will not need to be fed for the first two years. After that, you can fertilize with nitrogen each year, using 1/10 of a pound per year of the tree’s age. You can either spread it out into two or four feedings over spring and summer or do the entire application just once in spring.


Yoshino cherry trees do not require pruning, but if you see any dead, diseased, or crowded branches, you should prune them when they appear. If you want to prune for aesthetic reasons, early summer is the time—that way, you won’t prune any buds.

Our Conclusion

With their captivating beauty, adaptability, and ecological benefits, Yoshino cherry trees are a rewarding addition to nearly any landscape. Follow the planting and care tips in this article, and you can ensure these iconic trees grace your garden with color and fragrance each spring for years to come.

FAQ About Yoshino Cherry Trees

How fast do Yoshino cherry trees grow?

Yoshino cherry trees grow at a rate of roughly 1–2 feet per year. They are considered fast-growing, especially in their early years. They often reach 10–15 feet (about 1/3 of their maximum height) within their first three to four years, but their growth slows as they age.

Can you eat Yoshino cherries?

Yes, you can eat Yoshino cherries—but we don’t recommend it. Though technically edible, the pea-sized fruit is too bitter for people to enjoy. However, the berries are appealing to birds, including robins.

How big does a Yoshino cherry tree get?

Yoshino cherry trees can reach a maximum height of 30–50 feet with a spread of 25–40 feet.

How long do Yoshino cherry trees bloom?

Yoshino cherry trees typically bloom for two to three weeks in early spring, depending on the weather and climate conditions.

What does a Yoshino cherry tree look like in summer?

In summer, Yoshino cherry trees sport a full canopy of glossy green, serrated, ovate leaves.

Are Yoshino cherry trees messy?

Yoshino cherry trees can be messy compared to non-fruit-bearing trees. They drop their leaves in the fall, and their small, dark berries can attract birds. However, they are not particularly messy compared to crabapples, black cherries, and many other fruit trees.

Are Yoshino cherry trees hard to grow?

Yoshino cherry trees are relatively easy to grow, especially for a fast-growing tree. They thrive in full sun to partial shade and a variety of soils, as long as the soil is kept moist.

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