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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - February 18, 2011

From: Morganton, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Planting ornamental cherries in GA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

What is the correct way to plant ornamental cherry trees in N. Georgia Mountain clay soil? Which is the hardiest variety?

ANSWER:

If you are referring to the Kwanzan or one of the many other oriental cherry trees that have made the Washington DC cherry blossom festival famous, we cannot help you.  But if you are referring to one of the cherries native to Georgia, we can!  The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.

To determine which cherries are native to your area visit our Native Plant Database and insert "prunus" where it requests "Name" and click "Go". A list of 32 plants in that Genus (cherries & plums) will be generated.  Then "Narrow your Search" for Georgia and you will have 12 plants to choose from.  Each plant on the list is linked to a detailed information page with images that will tell you about blooming and plant requirements.  There is also range information available which will help you determine which is most hardy (some of them grow as far north as Canada).  There is a link to the USDA website which shows a map of where each plant grows, as well, which will make that determination simpler.

Here is an article on how to plant a tree from TreeHelp.com that will illustrate proper planting technique and one published by Tree Canada which has more information about care of your newly planted tree. What is most important for you as you have clay soil is to be sure that you don't overwater your newly planted tree.  Clay soil does not have a lot of pore space so it can become saturated (plant roots need air as well as water) and it can retain water much longer than sandier soil.

 

 

 

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