Some may argue that the best feature of the sand cherry tree is the gorgeous purple leaves whose color never seems to fade, while others may feel that the white and pink flowers that bloom during the spring are the best feature of this tree. Whatever feature of this beautiful tree has caught your attention, you’ve probably found your way to this article to learn everything you need to know to successfully plant and grow the sand cherry in your garden or yard—and I won’t disappoint you!

First of all, it is important that you understand the needs of the sand cherry tree before purchasing one. This particular tree can grow in most types of soil; however the soil must be kept well hydrated as this tree does not handle low water conditions very well. If you feel this might be an issue—especially in the summertime—be prepared to commit to a regular watering routine with your garden hose. This tree must also be placed in a position where it is exposed to full sunlight, or nearly full. This tree will grow in the shade, but the result will be a bronzy-green shade of leaves rather than the famed purple.

Now that you are aware of the soil and sunlight needs of this tree, consider the area that you believe will best suit the tree—or trees if you are planting more than one. In optimum conditions, the sand cherry tree can grow to a height of about eight feet tall with nearly a six foot-wide branch spread. If you are planting the sand cherry near other trees or a building, it’s a good idea to overestimate the width by a good two feet to give yourself a little extra space to work with in the event that your tree really flourishes! Once you have picked the ideal spot to plant your tree, it’s time to get your hands dirty!

The hole that you dig will largely depend upon the size of the roots, which will generally be compacted into the shape of a ball until you are ready to plant. Take the size of the roots and imagine a hole three times wide and three times as deep as the roots. After digging your hole, it’s time to place the tree in the ground. Don’t be so hasty, though! The top of the roots need to be nearly level with the ground, which means filling in the area below and around the roots with the loose dirt. It can seem a bit peeving to shovel all that dirt back into the ground, but it makes it a great deal easier for the roots to stretch out if the soil has been loosened up a bit. So shovel a bit of dirt in, add a bit of water, then shovel in more dirt. It’s important to water a bit as you shovel so the soil stays nice and moist, just take caution not to overly dampen the soil. Once you’ve filled the hole to the point where the roots are touching the soil, prepare the roots to go into the ground. To do this, (gently!) spread the roots a bit so that they aren’t as compacted. Try not to break the roots, if possible—just loosen them with your fingers. Stick the roots back into the hole and fill in the remaining dirt (don’t forget the water!) until the tree is stabilized. It will help to pack the dirt firmly as you go, as soil that is too loose will result in a fallen tree at the first bit of rough weather.

You should be aware that while the life expectancy of this tree is about 10 to 15 years, it is quite susceptible to a number of diseases. As it produces small fruit, it may also attract several types of birds to your garden. Some pests to look out for include tent caterpillars, webworms, and aphids.

Don’t let the fear of pests and plant diseases discourage you! The sand cherry tree will make a beautiful addition to your landscaping and is sure to please you. Just remember the necessary full sunlight and moist soil and your sand cherry should stay lovely for many years to come!