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Planting a Yoshino Cherry Tree. Are the roots deep?

thundersweet
17 years ago

We have ordered a large Yoshino from Home Depot Landscape Center in Ga. We had planned to plant it in front of our home in a "circle area" that we have. Its about 5 feet from the driveway. I have 2 questions. Are the roots deep? We were told they were. We don't want something with roots at the surface. We had a tree like that at our previous house and it was impossible to grow grass around this tree. The roots spread across the yard. Someone else told me tonight they had shallow roots. Which is it? My other question is this. Will planting this close to driveway cause driveway to crack? My guess is no if the roots are deep but we have no idea if we are getting the right information. Please help before I waste $300 on this tree.

Thanks,

Sandy

Comments (26)

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    17 years ago

    that said it depends on your soil .... and your age .... lol

    are you going to be here in 20 to 30 years when the roots might affect the driveway?? if you will be long gone.. and this tree makes you toes curl ... why not enjoy it ....

    in clay .. i presume it will be much more shallow rooted than it might be in sand ....

    and finally .. smaller trees transplant easier and establish faster than larger trees ... maybe you should buy the 100 dollar version .. and cut it down when it irritates the heck out of you ... lol ...

    good luck

    ken

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  • thundersweet
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    I thought I posted back but I guess I lost it. gardengal, yes the tree is already big. I don't know how big but its big. We wanted something big to offset a large addition/in law suite we added for my mom. I will post pictures below.

    Ken, we will not likely be here in 30 years. It that about how long it would take to affect the driveway? Also, does this tree have roots that travel on top of the ground? We plan to put a small pine island around the base in a circle. Other than that there will be grass and I don't want roots on the surface messing with the grass. Ideally we want the tree with a smallish circle pine bed and then lush green grass surrounding that.

    Here are some pictures of the area.

    This one is the spot we plan to put the tree. We had heavy rains yesterday and the hole is filled with rain.

    {{gwi:349435}}

    This picture is a little farther back.

    {{gwi:349437}}

    {{gwi:349439}}

    {{gwi:349441}}

    You can see why we want to add a large tree here. I wanted something big and beautiful. The addition was just finished and its bare.


    Thanks,
    Sandy

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    17 years ago

    Not a good spot for the cherry, especially a large one :-( Too close to both the drive and the walkway. And the roots will spread faster than you might imagine. And yes, they will travel along the lawn and can affect the ease of mowing.

    You may very well get other opinions, but I believe that location is not well-suited to any large tree. I'd consider planting something of a smaller scale there to soften the area and save a big tree for elsewhere in that huge sweep of lawn.

    And personally, I think investing $300 in a large flowering cherry is a highly risky proposition. Large specimen trees are much more difficult to transplant and establish than smaller ones and ornamental cherries are generally considered to have limited life spans, often very easily affected by diseases and insect problems. Yoshinos at the nation's capital are in a continual process of replacement. You might be paying a premium price for something that is not going to be around for very long anyway.

  • thundersweet
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    UGH! I was afraid to hear that. What do you suggest in that spot then? I would like something that stays green all year with some flowers at times. Something not too small.

    Thanks,
    sandy

  • entling
    17 years ago

    Instead of one big thing, why not plant a grouping of several smaller things that will not have the same problems as a large tree. The green mass will be equivalent or more and thereby balance the house's mass.

  • pineresin
    17 years ago

    How about one of the evergreen Magnolias? They have fleshy roots which are somewhat less liable to crack concrete than most other trees.

    Though note that concrete doesn't take much to crack it anyway, I can't think I've ever seen a concrete drive more than a year or two old with no cracks, even without trees!

    Resin

  • thundersweet
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    Yes, in the island in front of the house, not really shown in pic, we have a large Magnolia. We have several others on the property that are not that large. In fact, before we did the tear down during the remodel, there was a Magnolia at the corner of the house. It did great there with no signs of cracking anything (this tree was already here when we purchased the house). Anyway, that had to be torn down. I love Magnolias but want to try and put something different here. I had this image of the cherry tree draping over the walkway and sort of hiding part of the house.

    Sandy

  • quirkyquercus
    17 years ago

    I have to disagree.
    While I don't know much about flowering small trees, I googled the term "yoshino cherry suface roots" I got many sources that said surface roots were not a problem with these.
    I did this a few weeks ago because I didn't want the surface roots either. I looked at some mature trees in my area and did not see objectionable surface roots like with red maple so I proceeded to plant.
    Just FYI, they don't live that long. Supposedly about 15 years.

    I'd like to know more about the surface roots of yoshino cherry if they are indeed "notorious" for having surface roots, you'd think I'd have seen them or read about them by now.

  • pineresin
    17 years ago

    Since yoshino cherries are grafted, the roots that matter are those of the rootstock species. The usual rootstock used here is Prunus avium, and that certainly has prominent surface roots. These have the added problem that, after being 'scalped' by a lawnmower, the injury promotes greately thickened growth, leading to further scalping, and a big ugly wooden knot in the soil. I once dug one out, where the portions of root that weren't scalped were about 2cm thick, but the scalped portion was nearly 10cm wide.

    Resin

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    17 years ago

    I have a large yoshino next to a driveway and there are no roots. I think you are wasting money on a tree like that also. For twenty bucks I can get an eight foot tree here and they grow very fast. In two or three years you will have a good sized tree already. Take the three hundred and buy some magnolias and some redbuds.
    I just saw that you are in Georgia!! My goodness, yoshinos are cheap here. How about adding an Oklahoma Redbud (lowes, 17.95) and some dogwoods?

    And, cherry trees can be iffy. For no reason they can get root rot, gumosis, what ever, then they are gone.

  • pineresin
    17 years ago

    Just went down into the local park and got a pic of a mower-scalped cherry root . . . note how the damaged portion tapers much narrower where it isn't damaged. This is a very common occurrence with cherries in lawns.

    {{gwi:349443}}

    Resin

  • thundersweet
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    bumblebeez, we really really want a tree thats already big for this particular spot. Rethinking this though. I don't know if we can cancel the order though. Do you happen to have a picture of your tree next to the driveway?

    I am going to google the redbud and see what thats all about. Also, we do want to plant some dogwoods. Everyone in Ga has dogwoods. Everyone but us that is. I mentioned it to dh and he went out and bought one for me. Its maybe 4 feet tall. Now, where can these be planted. Is it true they need to be planted under another tree or somewhere that there is partial shade? Our neightbor has a big beautiful dogwood in full sunlight. The other ones he has that are "under" other trees are much smaller and not as full.

    Thanks for the help,
    Sandy

  • Dibbit
    17 years ago

    Dogwoods will grow in full sun OR in part shade, and will flower more with the more sun.

    If you want green all year, then why the cherry? I have to agree that they are short-lived trees, and paying BIG bucks for a big one that has to recover from transplant shock and then might not live more than another 5-10 years anyway seems shortsighted to me, but, it's up to you.

    If a magnolia isn't to your liking, what about a big holly? The bigger cultivar of 'Burford', not the 'Burford Nana' can be seen around here as a slightly weeping tree, and is COVERED with berries from fall to spring. It's only about 15-20' tall, though, so might not work. Other hollies can reach 40' or more, with age.

    While I can understand why you want the tree there, it seems to me from looking at the photos that you might do better in the long run to fill in this hole and move the tree placement out along the driveway. From the photo, this hole looks to be about 9-10' away from the corner of the walkway. I would rather, if it were me, have more like 15-20' distance from the walkway, whatever tree I put in. That way also, you would be further away from your access to utilities, judging from the cover shown in the top photos. Of course, if the utilities come along the drive and across the lawn to that point, then you can't really plant the tree on top of them, so scratch that idea.

    I think I would be much more tempted to put a tree more out in the lawn, and not so much at the corner. If you want something at the corner, a smaller tree like a redbud or dogwood, or a clump of taller shrubs ould be nice, with a larger tree further out, as Gardengal48 suggested. But I'm not the one living there, so..., ignore me if you want.

  • thundersweet
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    dibbit, this seemed like a logical place to put it. We could move it a little farther out. We were just not sure how it would look. All of our trees in the yard are in islands surrounded by pinestraw. This was not from our doing. It was like this when we bought it. I went out and took a couple more pictures to show you what I am talking about.

    {{gwi:349445}}

    {{gwi:349447}}


    Sandy

  • quirkyquercus
    17 years ago

    Sandy, not everyone in GA has dogwoods. They are a pain in the butt because they are prone to disease and don't want to deal with that. They are also pricey because everyone thinks that since everyone has one that they should have one too.
    I bought a yoshino cherry, a small container size at northside gardens in buford for $24. It's one of the few places that sells them in small container sizes. You can find them in 10-15 gallon sizes for about $49 at Pike nursery chain.

    Pineresin, good point about the root stock. Where is the trunk in relation to that root though? I expect some roots just not running out 10-15 feet from the tree and lifting sidewalks and all of that.

  • pineresin
    17 years ago

    Hi QQ,

    That one was about 1.5m from the tree, but some other similar roots (I could easily have taken a couple of dozen similar pics!) were 3-4m or more from the trunks. I have less often seen them even further out, maybe to a maximum of 6-7m.

    Resin

  • quirkyquercus
    17 years ago

    That's not encouraging. Thanks for letting me know though I just hope my rootstock is different and won't be problem as it is in prime from lawn territory where I like to keep it in tip top shape.

  • Dibbit
    17 years ago

    Sandy, I can uderstand how you came to your idea, but have to reiterate that I think it isn't ideal.

    Again, I would put a shrub, or several shrubs there in the corner, because a tree is going to grow into/over the sidewalk, blocking it with branches, and gnerally getting in the way. If it's a BIG tree, then it may well also grow long enough branches that it needs to be trimmed away from the side of the garage. A shrub in that location will maybe get wide enough to run up against the sidewalk or possibly the driveway, but the right one won't. With a shrub, you can know beforehand about how wide it will get, but most trees aren't so obliging - there are exceptions, but...

    If you want an evergreen shrub, do you want a tall one (4-8') or will a couple of shorter ones (2-5') do, or do you want both heights? Either, coupled with an tallish evergreen tree by itself in the middle of the lawn, would give enough visual mass to balance the addition. Me, I think I might go for a mix, maybe a small or medium evergreen to provide winter mass, and something like a butterfly bush to give summer interest. You can keep Buddleias trimmed to the size you want, and in fact, should trim them in summer after a bloom flush to get better reblooming. If you don't want to cut a shrub back hard in the spring, and a couple of times in the summer, then a crepe myrtle could be very nice. Since you can chose cultivars that range in height from 3' to 40', and colors from white, red, purple and pink, you have a wide variety to select from. A rhododendron or a camellia would also give you an evergreen, with flowers in winter/spring, with azaleas at the base for lower fill-in. Selecting for height and color could give a very nice effect with either or both. The camellia can be trimmed, if you really want a formal effect at the corner.

    For a taller evergreen tree, out in the lawn, I might go with a conifer - NOT a Leyland or something that will get 40-60' - but an interesting one with a good form or maybe a variegated or color selection. I would LOVE to have a weeping Atlas or Alaskan blue cedar growing in my lawn! You could also go with another magnolia, or with a holly - some of them can get pretty tall. There is certainly enough room for a tree in the lawn, unless, of course, you like the expanse of it and don't WANT another tree out there....

  • Embothrium
    17 years ago

    Apart from root-related issues which are frequent up here in this area, where if I had a digital camera and was posting pictures on this site I would have little trouble finding sites to take photos of scalped sweet cherry rootstocks also heaving sidewalks as well, there is the matter of incompatibility between Japanese cherries and sweet cherry rootstocks. However, some ornamental cherries sold in this area at least are being grafted onto dwarfing 'Gisela' rootstock (as are fruiting cherries). In addition to producing a smaller Japanese cherry top this probably doesn't have the root-related issues of sweet cherry - but I don't know for sure (and it is probably too soon to know if there might be incompatibility problems).

    Whatever you plant it looks like you will have to install drain lines or plant on berms or mounds to expect anything other than swamp plants to grow on that site.

  • Dibbit
    17 years ago

    Bboy, you might have missed where Sandy said there had been heavy rain the night before, so the hole was filled with water. I am not sure that water is a problem as a usual thing. But if it can be a problem some of the time, then I would agree that planting on a slight berm might be better all around - it does look like the trees farther out in the lawn are planted in a raised area. It also looks (judging from the first two photos) as though the spot where Sandy wants to put the tree (or shrub) is lower than the driveway and will collect runoff from it, so a raised bed/berm might be a very good idea. Planning it so it doesn't block the drainage patterns across the lawn would also be a good idea.

  • thundersweet
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    If you look in the first picture, the little square in front of the circle is where the water drains. dibbit, you are correct we had terrible rains after the whole was dug. Like 1/2 day and then all night rain. Whatever kind of tree we plant there, would it be advisable to plant on a raised bed? How do you do this? What is a berm?

    Thanks for all the help!

    Sandy

  • pineresin
    17 years ago

    "What is a berm?"

    A bit like those things they have along the banks of the Mississippi, except not so big!

    Resin

  • Dibbit
    17 years ago

    Humor aside, Resin is right, a berm is a raised mound, meant both for drainage-problem areas, to control water, and, as seen along busy streeets in front of many houses, to control noise and provide more privacy, when used for planting. While a mound implies a somewhat circular "lump", a berm is longer than wide, and is usually beside something. The last isn't a requirement - the trees and shrubs in front of your house seem, from the photos, to be planted in a low berm. I suppose the easiest definition is that a berm is a raised bed, but a bit taller and wider. How much taller or wider is up to you.

    You make a raised bed by either actually building the sides (wood, stone, cement block, etc.) and filling it with soil, or by bringing soil and heaping it up. You can use the soil already there, making a raised bed/berm that has lower areas surrounding it (which works in a veggie garden, but might not for your lawn!), or by having soil brought in from else where, which is what I would recommend you do. Just look at whatever comes in, or before you get it, and be sure it isn't pure clay - it should be dark and somewhat loose, and generally LOOK, and smell, like good soil. If you have, or have access to, a pick-up truck, a pick-up load will make a good enough berm to plant the tree/sshrubs we are talking about in the corner. If you go with a tree in the lawn, also raised up, then you might need another load or half load. If you go the bagged top-soil route, it will take a number of bags, minimum 20, probably 40, but it might be more convenient.

    You don't HAVE to do this. The reason it was suggested at all is that trees, while they NEED water, do not, in general, grow well in really soggy soil. There are exceptions, but most trees aren't efficient enough to get the oxygen their roots need while sitting in a bog. It's not too complicated - tees need oxygen which they get from the soil, running or moving water has oxygen, standing water has much less - saturated soils, as in a continually wet lawn, don't have much oxygen. Raising the root ball of a plant above the true ground-level gives them some area of root that won't be sitting in saturated soils, so they can get the oxygen needed.

    Hope this hasn't confused you more than you may have already been!

  • Embothrium
    17 years ago

    Water filling planting holes and sitting there since "the night before" = too wet. If it happened once it will happen again. Especially if this is a hot southern climate there will probably be a problem with rotting of roots by water molds if plantings are exposed to standing water for hours at a time. Even infested water being splashed around, as with impact sprinklers in a container nursery can be adequate for infestation by water molds (some kinds which also attack foliage or stems).

  • Embothrium
    17 years ago

    "Cultural needs of all [flowering cherries] are identical. They require fast-draining, well-aerated soil; those grown in heavy, poorly drained soil are sometimes subject to root rot, for which there is no cure (an affected tree will usually bloom, then send out new leaves that suddenly collapse). If your soil is substandard, plant in raised beds."

    --Sunset WESTERN GARDEN BOOK