Flowering cherry trees need constant care to keep them growing and blooming well. They are pruned once a year to remove damaged or diseased limbs. A second annual pruning shapes the trees. Soil that has been compacted - one of the great dangers to the trees' health - must be aerated so that oxygen and moisture can reach their roots. Dead trees are replaced with young saplings grown from cuttings so the original stock is constantly replenished. Healthy, well-maintained trees live longer and produce more blooms. National Park Service arborists have been so successful in their work that about 100 of the more than 3,000 trees planted in 1912 survive today.
A Gift for JapanThe famed cherry trees along the Arakawa River near Tokyo, which provided the parent stock for the original 1912 gift to Washington, D.C., had fallen into decline after World War II. Japan requested assistance in rejuvenating the grove in the Adachi Ward; in 1952, the National Park Service shipped budwood from descendants of the original trees to Tokyo. Cherry Trees Are Their BusinessThe trees have been cared for and maintained using the best-known tree care practices since they arrived from the city of Tokyo in 1912. The tree crew is made up of trained professionals and certified arborists. They are dedicated, many
working for more than twenty years, and a few have been second-generation tree crew members. Their work is year-round and demanding, requiring attention to the numerous varieties of cherry blossom trees that have become world-renowned. Keeping tools clean and sharp is essential for successful pruning. Clean cuts made by bypass pruners, hand saws, and chain saws minimize the danger that pests or disease will harm the trees. Wearing proper clothing and googles protects the tree crew members.