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Prunus 'Kursar'

Prunus 'Kursar'

This small tree packs a punch with beautiful deep-pink saucer flowers profusely borne on bare stems. We have it growing as a specimen tree where it will catch the visitor's eye in the Stone Garden and close to Rosemoor House. It is a favourite of our gardeners because it gives a splash of intense colour before the other showy flowering trees such as magnolias in Lady Anne’s garden really get going.

Vital statistics

Common name
Cherry 'Kursar'
Family
Rosaceae
Height & spread
Up to 8m (26ft) tall and wide
Form
Deciduous tree
Soil
Any moist, but well-drained and moderately fertile soil
Aspect
Open position in full sun.
Hardiness
Fully hardy

Prunus

This is a genus of more than 200 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. It was first introduced into Britain by a naval officer in the early twentieth century. These plants are prized for their appetizing fruits, beautiful spring blossom and autumn colour. Included in this group are almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum trees. Some Prunus are cultivated purely for ornamental interest, as not all of them produce edible fruit.

Prunus is found mainly in woodland and thickets spread through North, temperate regions and the mountains of South East Asia. They also grow in coastal sands, rocky places and cliffs.

The ornamental cherry that we know today has been bred from wild varieties to produce larger and greater blossoms for a more sensational display. Flowering cherries can be spring- or winter-flowering trees producing single or double, white, pink or red blooms with five petals. Flowers, which are saucer-, bowl- or cup-shaped are borne on upright or weeping stems and are generally followed by fleshy fruits. 'Cherry blossom time' is one of the most beautiful times of the year.

Some Prunus are grown for their distinctive shiny bark such as P. maackii and P. serrula.

Prunus 'Kursar'

This is a spreading, deciduous tree with dark-green leaves up to 12cm (5in) long, coppery-bronze when young. It bears single, vivid, deep-pink saucer-shaped flowers up to 2cm (1in) across in clusters of three or four in early spring before the leaves emerge.

Cultivation

  • Grow in any well-drained, moisture-retentive soil.
  • Prefers an open position in full sun.
  • Pruning is rarely necessary, but when unavoidable is best done in late summer so that the cuts can heal before winter.
  • Bullfinches, caterpillars, aphids may be a problem.
  • Susceptible to bacterial canker, blossom wilt, honey fungus, silver leaf.

Propagation

  • Cherries can be propagated by budding onto seedling stocks in the nursery in summer or grafted in early spring and then sold for planting stock as one- or two-year-old trees.
  • Sow seed of species in containers outdoors in autumn. Cultivars will not come true from seed collected from trees.
  • Root softwood cuttings of deciduous species in early summer with bottom heat.

AGM

The RHS Woody Plant Committee awarded Prunus 'Kursar’ an Award of Garden Merit and described it as a: small deciduous tree of spreading habit, to 8m (26ft) tall, with ovate leaves, coppery when young, turning deep orange in autumn. Single, vivid, deep-pink flowers 1.5cm (1/2 in) wide are borne in profusion.'

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