Okame Cherry Tree: A Fantastic Pink Flowering Cherry

Ed Wike
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Quick Care

Its flowers are pink and its leaves are a glossy green. In spring, it blossoms out with a multitude of flowers. The fruits that it produces are loved by crows and other scavengers.

The Okame Cherry Tree is a popular sakura that is brightened up by pink blossoms in the spring season. It comes in rows of beautiful blossoms that dazzle with elegance. It can be seen in bloom starting around mid-March. The leaves it produces are in a rich glossy green. This beautiful tree is planted all across Japan. 1

The fall season brings about something special as the fruits change from green to a deep pink. Over the course of spring and fall you will find this tree to be a beautiful plant.

The fruits it produces are loved by birds because of how sweet the fruit inside is. The flowers it produces are loved by other animals as well. From Peacocks to squirrels, this tree has many fans throughout the animals that inhabit Japan.

This tree is the perfect addition to your lawn as a centerpiece during the summer months. You will find that it is the perfect conversation piece. After the flowers fade, you will find the fruit to be the perfect topping for the fall season. 2

This unique tree is a popular addition to many gardens in Japan. It is a cute, pink flowering tree that blossoms early. Your family can enjoy seeing the tree bloom and make wonderful memories.

Okame Cherry Tree Care

How to Grow a Pink Flower

The Okame Cherry Tree (Prunus 'Okame') is a small ornamental variety from western Japan that is especially impressive when it flowers in late March and early April. This cherry tree is the only Japanese cherry that has no fragrance, but it makes up for it with the size and color of its blossoms. Okame cherry flowers are pure white with a thin velvety texture that changes to pink very quickly with the slightest hint of a breeze. This feat can be seen in the delicate petals of the flowers when they are first opened. Instead of turning fully pink, the petals turn from white to pink over a period of several hours. This color change is due to the fact that the petals contain anthocyanins, which are water-soluble pigments that are dissolved by water and some of which are present in the flowers. Anthocyanins (or antho for short) are water-soluble pigments in flower petals. They are responsible for the colors of many flowers and also contribute to the color of fruits, berries, and leaves. Anthocyanins are one of the most important classes of plant pigments. Anthocyanins are water-polyphenols.

Unlike other pigments, they are present in the watery vacuoles of plant cells and are not usually deposited in the thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts.

Light & Temperature

Because Okame Cherry belongs to the Prunus Group and thus is a deciduous plant, it appreciates proper dormancy and exposure to cold weather at an early stage; this would help the plant to form a strong and healthy root and trunk. It's better to let the plant rest under an orchard tree or in a quiet spot in the yard. The minimum temperature at which the Okame cherry tree could grow is 32F. If the temperature drops below zero, the tree will need protection from dry winds. If you would like to grow the Okame cherry tree indoors, it will need to be in a bright light location. Transplant the tree to the new area in early spring and keep the soil moist.

Water

The Okame-zakura Cherry Tree is one of the few flowering cherry trees that does not need to be watered on a regular basis. Its beautiful pink blossoms remain fresh for a week during which the tree requires no additional water and will not lose its buds. After blossoming, this tree will shed all its petals in a two-day period; just as it is about to bloom for the next cycle.

If you live in a climate where temperatures drop below 25°F, the tree may need to be watered in order to last through the winter.

This tree will not remain in bloom for long. Therefore, a great way of prolonging its beauty is through bonsai pruning. When the tree is pruned correctly in the spring, it will bloom about a month earlier than if pruning is not done. Without proper pruning, this tree can grow to about 30 feet, and it takes about 20 years to reach maturity.

Soil

The soil for Okame cherry tree should be highly draining so as to allow air into the roots. A loamy soil mixture works well. Soil pH should be neutral for best results (6.5 – 7.6.). You can add 20-20-20 fertilizer or compost to enrich the soil. However, plants grown at the edge of woodland are usually fertilized naturally, so you don't need to add any other fertilizer to the soil.

Any acidic soil will not do well, as the Okame cherry tree is unable to tolerate an acidic environment. Pay attention to the natural pH of your soil — especially if you plan to put your Okame cherry tree into the ground. However, for those of you who don't want to plant it, the soil needs to be highly draining since the roots require air to live.

Soil temperature should be warm for best results: a minimum of 5 degrees celsius and no more than 35 degrees celsius. Temperatures below 5 degrees celsius will result in poor growth and little or no flowers.

Fertilizer

These particular pruning instructions are only for if you are specifically trying to shape your Okame cherry tree to bloom in the spring or if you want to encourage outlying branches to bloom in the spring.

If you are trying pruning for fall color, you will be removing more branches, and pruning in late winter or early spring.

The easiest way to encourage your Okame cherry tree to bloom in the spring is to prune in the fall.

The last thing you want to do is remove a lot of branches in the spring. On the Okame cherry tree, this could mean that all the flowered branches you have worked so hard to shape and prune will become ugly brown stubs.

Fall pruning can create your branches and flowered buds, which will form the spring flowers on your Okame cherry tree.

To do a proper Okame cherry tree fall pruning, you need an Okame cherry tree at least 2 years old.

The tree should be pruned only AFTER the leaves have fallen and the tree is dormant.

To prune your Okame cherry tree, use a decent pair of hand pruners.

If you have the pruning sheers, you can also use those. Snip off any dead, diseased, or crossing branches.

Remove crossing branches so that your Okame cherry tree has a natural direction to grow.

Propagation

Okame is a popular flowering cherry that produces a spectacular profusion of pink flowers in the spring. The Okame cherry tree is also durable in most climates, as it adapts to tough environmental conditions like heat and salt.

Okame Cherry trees are both beautiful and practical for people who want to grow a cherry tree that is uncommon. This makes them the perfect choice for people looking for something different in the flower and tree world.

They don’t have the typical white flowers, or the more popular pink and red colors either. Instead they have a unique orange color that makes them one of the most unusual flowering trees you will find.

They are easy to grow, which is one of the reasons they are so popular. Okame trees are not considered to be a dwarf tree. They typically grow to about twenty feet tall, but they are incredibly hardy and grow in a variety of different climates.

The Okame cherry tree grows best in the northern regions of the United States, as well as the Pacific coast. The cherry tree isn’t winter hardy in colder portions of the U.S. such as the northern region. If you live on the Pacific coast, however, it’s a good choice.

Pruning

Okame Cherry Tree is a stunning small tree with pink flowers and an oval to heart shaped crown. It is popular for its elegant pink flowers that stick out from the dark green foliage of spring, and the ruddy purple to almost black colored autumnal leaves.

Okame Cherry Tree is patented as “Okame” and is the result of the careful breeding and selection of “Minami-kikyo” Cherry Tree.

Okame Cherry Tree needs plenty of pruning to achieve its refined shape. In the first year, the tree should be pruned as much as 50% of its height.

This process is called hard pruning and this is what will grow into a beautiful tree.

Okame Cherry Tree is relatively pest-free, but can be susceptible to Japanese Beetle grubs that can lead to defoliation and infection.

In the first two years, the tree should be sprayed or drenched for insects.

On mature Okame Cherry Trees, spray of tree and ground can eliminate problems before they set in.

In later years, try to keep the pests down minimally since they can hang around and cause a problem on future crops of Okame Cherry Flowers.

Younger Okame Cherry Trees are more vulnerable to sudden cold weather.

Problems

As you can see by the Okame Cherry Tree infographics, it doesn’t have many problems. There are virtually no import or quarantine restrictions, and it is suitable for areas with high humidity. It is also suitable for areas with high pollution.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you will want to be careful if you have pets as they could be tempted to eat the fruit. The fruit itself is a bronzy red color, and it’s not toxic, but an animal may be tempted to try it.

You might have noticed that facts have emerged that suggest there are complications with this type of tree.

Luckily, those complications are nothing to worry about.

The first complication, which you could consider to be a positive, is that the Okame Cherry Tree is slow growing. You will need to give it plenty of time to grow. However, in some ways, that’s no bad thing.

It will flourish, and it will be beautiful once it does, but the first few years will be hard work. You will need to water it. You will also need to give it food. Over the first few years, it will give you fewer blossoms, and those that it does give you won’t be as full as they would if it was looked after correctly.

Growing Problems

The Okame cherry is actually a cross between two other Japanese maples, a weeping cherry and a Shidare cherry. Together, they produce a cross that has the beauty and grace of both along with the wide-angled flower display of the Shidare. One of the best known examples is the Okame Cherry, which doesn’t flower all at once, rather, some branches flower early while others hold back, flower late, or even skip a year.

As an ornamental cherry, it’s one of the prettiest but that’s not all. It’s also a healthy and beautiful shade tree that produces mouthwatering cherries.

Similar to most maples, the Okame cherry thrives best in bright, full sun and slightly acidic soil. They do not like competition with adjacent plants and should be planted at least ten to 15 feet from the other trees. They thrive with a slightly moist soil but also do well with normal watering.

Pests

Pests and diseases of Okame Cherry Tree include aphids, borers, leaf drop, blight, and fireblight.

Aphids

Aphids are small insects that suck the sap from the tree and leave behind white sticky residue. The residue also serves as a place for sooty mold fungi. Spread by eggs, the aphids can be withered from the tree by knocking them off with a hard spray of water or by treating them with a citrus oil spray.

Borers

Borers that attack the Okame Cherry Tree are the pit borers, tree borers, and powder post beetles. These exotic insects vary in color and vary in attack as well.

Powder Post Beetles

Powder post beetles drill holes into wood of a tree resulting in a crumbling of the wood. Once the wood has turned to dust, the borers consume the powder. Treatment of powder post beetles can result in removing the tree from the soil, cutting open the tree to apply poison to the inside of the tree, and injecting soil into the tree so that the insects do not consume it.

Diseases

The most common disease of Okame Cherry is anthracnose, which is a fungal disease. This can be prevented by keeping the trees watered immediately after planting, and keeping the soil evenly moist. This prevents the fungus from spreading. Anthracnose causes purplish black spots to appear on the leaves. Sadly, there is no known cure for this disease, so remove infected trees.

Powdery mildew can appear after prolonged periods of hot and dry weather. It can also attack trees that are planted in too much shade. The best way to combat powdery mildew is to plant your tree in full sun with moist soil. Trees with more than 3 years of age have less chance of being infected. The most you can do to combat powdery mildew is to spread a thick layer of organic fertilizer over the entire tree before the new leaves appear in the spring.

FAQs

What type of climate is the Okame Cherry Tree for?

The Okame Cherry Tree thrives in coastal climates. For its healthy growth, it needs a chill of at least 100 days below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it loves the cold, it will still yield if you are living in a milder, warmer climate and will still grow well.

How do I grow the Okame Cherry Tree?

Prepare your Okame Cherry Tree nursery before you plant it. Dig a deep hole to plant it at the start of fall in a sunny location. Make the hole at least a foot wider than the tree’s root system and fill it with a mixture of peat moss and soil. Plant the cherry in the hole and tuck in loose dirt around the base.

Water the cherry with a mixture of compost tea and water and cover it with a blanket of leaves to protect it from frost for the first winter.

After the first two years, you can plant your Okame Cherry tree in the general area of where you bought it, since it can survive in a variety of spots.

To make the cherry tree flower, it needs to receive a chill period. During the first month of fall, keep the roots cool by wrapping the stem with burlap. Cut off the burlap in early spring. When the Okame Cherry tree blooms, there will be about 100 flowers per tree.