The Canada red cherry also known as the chokecherry is a great native tree with strong ornamental and functional qualities. In the spring the leaves emerge bright green accompanied by long clusters of fragrant white flowers that provide early season food to pollinators. As spring wears on, branch by branch the green leaves of the tree will transform to a deep burgundy purple. A Canada red cherry in the midst of transition is a spectacular sight and something to look forward to each year. In addition to it's ornamental beauty the Canada red cherry is also a solid choice for a specimen shade tree. With an average height and spread of 25 feet, a Canada red cherry is just the right size for those with smaller front or side yards. It's not as dense as many shade trees, so the diffuse light it lets through won't kill your grass or sun loving plants, but it will provide quality shade for those looking to shade part of a yard, patio or home. In the fall, the Canada red cherry continues to provide beauty and value, the leaves turn a glowing orange/red and the flower clusters produce small edible fruits that provide food for many birds, or can be used in a sauce or jelly preserve.
Why we'd plant a Canada red cherry
Overall we rate the Canada red cherry highly. It's an extremely well rounded tree that grows fast and requires minimal care, making it a good choice for the master and beginner gardener alike. We love it's medium stature, fragrance, and changing leaves that's why we'd choose it to shade the smaller yard on the west side of our house. It's a location that get's plenty of sun and would benefit from some light shade that wouldn't shade out our grass walkway. Our soil in that location is decent, but not great it drains well, but is still heavy with clay. After planting the tree, we would mulch with 3-4 inches of mulch and top dress with compost in a 4-5 ft ring to immediately begin improving the soil. After planting, we'd prune all of the branches on the lower 3/4 of the tree and do this each year until the lowest branches were about 5-6 feet hight. This would keep the tree branches up above our heads and keep grass path to the backyard open.
|Fall Color:||Orange and red|
|Foliage Color:||Emerges bright green and darkens with age|
|Genus & Species:||Prunus virginiana|
|Growth Rate:||Moderate to fast|
|Mature Height:||20 to 30 ft.|
|Mature Spread:||20 - 30 ft.|
|Soil Type:||Well drained soil rich in organic matter|
|Sun Exposure:||Full sun; Partial sun|
|Zone:||2 to 7|
General care for any tree or shrub is easy, please educate yourself and follow these simple rules.
Caring for Ornamental Cherry
Ornamental cherry trees are beautiful and fast growing. This makes them worth the small amount of extra care that is required to help them thrive. Cherry trees are susceptible to a number of diseases, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Reduce stress on your cherry tree by providing well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Do not plant the tree where soil does not drain adequately. If your soil is compacted or poor, prepare for your tree by adding organic matter to the garden bed by tilling in compost and mulching the surface with leaves or hardwood chips.
Consider collecting a soil sample for a soil test. Armed with the results, you can provide your cherry tree with adequate nutrients – to apply the fertilizer, follow the following the guidelines on your soil test and fertilizer label. Provide supplemental water to your cherry tree during hot/dry spells and continue to apply mulch until the tree is well established.
Identify and prune problem branches early. Get to branches while they are small to maintain the shape of your tree and prune out damaged or unhealthy branches.
Perform this simple prune, mulch, and fertilize upkeep once per year before your tree blooms in the spring and you will be on your way to having a gorgeous healthy cherry tree that is the envy of your neighborhood.