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Cannon: Its cherry blossom time so pick your favorite
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Yoshino cherry trees

There are 300,000 to 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees in Macon. The Cherry Blossom Festival and the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission have distributed more than 6,500 trees as gifts from the Fickling family. For information on purchasing your own Yoshino cherry tree, contact Pam Carswell, executive director of the KMBBC, at 478-751-7413 or pcarswell@kmbbc.org.

The first day of spring was ushered in this week and the cherry trees are blooming. When you see pink blooms on the trees around town, it seems to whisper that warm weather is on its way.

Cherry trees sport stunning spring flowers and handsome bark, grow quickly and have colorful leaves in the fall. What more could you want from a gardener’s viewpoint?

Several varieties of cherry trees can be planted in this area. The most popular is the Yoshino cherry. Yoshinos have showy blooms of blush pink to white pale pink that cover the leafless branches in early spring. The Yoshino grows about 3 feet per year and can reach 35 feet in height and width. This tree is popular for lining residential streets and is also a great lawn tree or medium shade tree. The tree’s foliage turns yellow to russet in the fall.

Another good variety is the Okame cherry. It can bloom as early as late February and into late March, so sometimes it’s just a matter of when it decides to bloom. Hundreds of glorious, deep pink blossoms grace its branches. The Okame tree has an oval or rounded shape and it can grow to 20 feet in height and width. This tree is ideal for shading a courtyard or patio.

The Okame is heat and cold tolerant. In the fall, its leaves turn orange red, and once they have dropped, it reveals a glossy reddish brown bark.

The Kwanzan cherry tree is another variety that grows well here. Its beautiful double pink blossoms resemble dangling prom corsages that are huge and ruffled in their appearance. This tree blooms in mid- to late spring after most of the other cherry trees have bloomed. Its vase shape makes it a popular lawn, street or courtyard tree. The Kwanzan can grow up to 30 feet tall with plenty of headroom underneath. This tree will grow vigorously and eventually form a flat-top form. The leaves turn russet red in the fall.

Last but not least is the beautiful weeping cherry. This graceful tree blooms in pink and white with some single blooms; others have double. Weeping cherry varieties can grow 15 to 40 feet tall. Their pendulous branches cascade to the ground and have a fountainlike look.

There is not just one type of weeping cherry. There are many, so choose wisely. The leaves turn orange and gold in the fall. This tree makes an exceptional focal point in a garden.

Cherry trees grow easily and fast, and fit into all sorts of spaces. These four favorites of the South are widely available. Give them full sun and well-drained soil and pick the right one for the right situation and enjoy many springs to come.

The history of the cherry tree is celebrated in festivals in Macon and Conyers. Google the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon and find out all of the specifics on the events. There are more than 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees blooming in Macon.

Also, make plans to attend the annual Hall County Master Gardener Spring Garden Expo on April 5-6 at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center in Gainesville for a large selection of spring annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. Go to hcmgs.com for more details.

Wanda Cannon serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. Contact her at 770-535-8293. Her column appears biweekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.

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