Conyers’ first cherry trees were donated by the former President of Maxell Corporation of America Hideo Ogino in an effort to further cultivate the exchange of Japanese culture with people in Conyers. Maxell along with the local Chamber of Commerce put together the 1st Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival in 1982. The festival featured many Japanese cultural attractions including bonsai tree exhibits, Kabuki theater, Japanese cooking classes, Oriental doll exhibits, silk flower arranging, Origami exhibits, Haiku contest and a karate demonstration.
The variety of trees planted at the Parker Road annex are ‘Yoshino’ Cherries (Prunus x yedoensis). According to my colleague Willie Chance of the University of Georgia Urban Agriculture and Natural Resources Center, the best way to take care of cherry trees is to get them started off right.
“First plant them properly. Select well drained but moist, full sun sites. Dig large, wide beds to plant them in. Till an area four or five feet or more across. This will allow roots to get a strong start.”
Mr. Chance continues, “Yoshino cherries like a high soil pH – around 6.5 to 7.0. Georgia soils are often more acid than this. It is best to soil sample and lime accordingly. Without a soil sample, till 10 lb. of dolomitic lime in around the tree before you plant it. For established trees spread the lime around the tree and do it again next year.”
Planting according to Mr. Chance is critical. “Plant the tree as deeply as it originally grew. It may be best to plant into raised beds for best drainage, but if you do this it will be even more important to water the tree. Water immediately after planting to firm soil around the roots and then again in a day or so. Apply a two to three inch mulch around the tree. Water regularly the first year to thoroughly moisten the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Do this again when the soil gets dry two inches deep. Watering properly the first year is very important.”