Description & Overview

The Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry is a small-statured, weeping deciduous cherry coveted for their beautiful blooms. Prunus x ‘Snofozam’ features cascading branches that will eventually droop to the ground, giving it the appearance of a fountain of snow when covered with pure white flowers in early spring. The foliage is lush dark green throughout the growing season but will display shades of yellow, orange, and red in fall.

Core Characteristics

Category: Tree

Wisconsin Native: No - Introduced

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 8-15 feet

Mature Spread: 15-20 feet

Growth Rate: Moderate

Growth Form: Compact, weeping.

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Site Requirements: Moist, well-draining.

Flower: Small, white. Emerges from pink buds.

Bloom Period: April-May

Foliage: Dark green

Fall Color: Yellow, orange, and red.

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Inedible. Small, round, red drupe that turns black over time. Forms sporadically after flowering.

Suggested Uses

Prunus is a genus of over 400 species found in north temperate regions, the Andes of South America, and the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia. Many are grown for their showy flowers, colorful foliage, and attractive bark. Prunus x ‘Snofozam’ or the Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry is a small, ornamental tree grown for its cascading form and beautiful white flowers.

This plant is a fantastic landscape specimen in small spaces, courtyards, or Asiatic-themed gardens. The cascading habit of this plant can be maximized by planting it atop a retaining wall or sloped area of the landscape.

Wildlife Value

Prunus is one of the world’s most valuable genera for wildlife. While the wildlife value of the ‘Snow Fountains’ Weeping cherry is dwarfed in comparison to Wisconsin’s native cherry trees, such as Black Cherry, its beautiful blooms will still attract nearby pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.
The flowers are followed by pea-sized dark red to black drupes, which are inedible.

Weeping cherry trees contain toxic substances known as cyanogenic glycosides, which are harmful to animals such as dogs, cats, and horses. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, consuming the stems, leaves, seeds, and flowers of Weeping Cherry trees can cause animals to experience difficulty breathing, reduced amounts of oxygen in the bloodstream, nausea, seizures, reduced heart rate, and vomiting. According to the ASPCA, weeping cherry trees are most toxic when their leaves are wilting.

The fruit of weeping cherries themselves isn’t considered poisonous, although consuming small amounts may cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Maintenance Tips

The best time to prune your cherry tree would be when the tree Is still dormant, so early spring or late fall would be ideal. If the branches are beginning to touch the ground, trim back the tips to about 6 inches above the ground.

Not every branch on a grafted weeping cherry will be cascading; sometimes, you will get shoots that are growing straight up. These branches should be removed to ensure your tree stays “weeping.”

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: Yes
Deer Resistant: No
Rabbit Resistant: No

Black Knot is a fungal disease that beleaguers the Prunus family. The fungus Apiospornia morbosa is also commonly, yet less formally, known as the “poop on a stick fungus.” Black Knot primarily affects plum and cherry trees, although it can also infect other stone fruit, such as apricots and peaches. The disease causes serious damage to the branches, twigs, and fruit. This disease is easy to diagnose because of the distinctive, worty-looking black galls that completely encircle the stem. The infected areas of the tree will produce excess wood tissue that becomes swelled and light brown in color. These swellings, or galls, will continue to increase in size and will eventually rupture, releasing spores into the air, which will further the spread. Black Knot spreads in spring. Smaller twigs may die within a year of infection, while larger branches can last for several years before the disease eventually kills them. The tree will slowly weaken and eventually die if left untreated.

Black Knot is a disease that is just a part of life when it comes to the genus Prunus. If there is a specimen you wish to protect, the first step in treatment is to cut away infected branches and stems. If possible, do this in winter while the tree is dormant. The fungus may extend further inside the tree than what is visible on the outside. Cut 2-4″ below the gall to ensure you are cutting back to disease-free tissue. We recommend burning the diseased branches to prevent further spread.

After the diseased parts are removed, if you wish to continue treatment, the second stage is to apply a fungicide. We recommend contacting an ISA Certified Arborist near you to assist you with the pesticide application and product selection.

Other pest and disease issues you may encounter include leaf spot, powdery mildew, scale, tent caterpillars, and fireblight.

Leaf Lore

Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry is a hybrid cherry. Its proper nomenclature is Prunus x subhirtella, the Higan Cherry, a cross between Prunus itosakura and Prunus incisa, two of Japan’s native cherry trees. Prunus incisa is known as the Fuji Cherry because it’s abundant around Mount Fuji. Prunus itosakura, also known as the thread cherry, has appeared in historical documents dating back to Japan’s Heian period (795-1185). Prunus itosakura has the longest life among cherry trees thanks to its firm trunk, resistance to snow and wind damage, and it does not rot easily. This species has many large and long-lived trees in Japan for these reasons. For example, Jindai-zakura is estimated to be 2000 years old. It still stands today at the Jissoji Temple, a Nichiren Buddhist temple located in Hokuto City, in the Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan. Cherry trees are often considered sacred and have become a landmark symbolizing Shinto Shrines.

Snow Fountains is a cultivar with a basal graft, meaning it is top-grafted. This means its height is determined by the graft height, which is typically 6′, although it can be shorter or taller. Grafting is the method by which tissue from one plant is inserted into another plant so that vascular cambium is lined up and the plants can grow back together. Two plants are chosen, one for its roots and one for its shoots. Grafting is done for many reasons, such as to produce desirable traits in plants, to produce hybrids, to dwarf plants, to repair plants, and to produce hardy/sturdy plants.

Companion Plants

When Snow Fountains Weeping cherry is fully leafed out, it casts ample shade which may be difficult in which to grow plants underneath. Usually, you find this weeping cherry planted by itself, where it is the focus of that location. If you are looking to maximize blooms in early spring, consider pairing them with other early spring blooming plants like Vernal Witchhazel, Corneliancherry Dogwood, Eastern Redbud, Forsythia, Crabapples, or Magnolia.

The Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry is a small-statured, weeping deciduous cherry coveted for their beautiful blooms. Prunus x 'Snofozam' features casca…
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Written by Miles Minter