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Prunus avium

wild cherry

P. avium is a medium-sized deciduous tree with nodding clusters of pure white flowers 2.5cm wide in late spring, followed by small, shiny red-purple cherries; leaves turn orange and red in autumn

Other common names
bird cherry
Cheshire merry tree
see morecrab cherry
gean
hagberry
mazzard
merry tree
Suffolk merries
sweet cherry

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Size
Ultimate height
Higher than 12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
Wider than 8 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring White Green
Summer Green
Autumn Orange Red Purple Red
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

North–facing or West–facing or East–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Rosaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Prunus can be deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs with showy flowers in spring, and often good autumn foliage colour. Some have edible fruit in autumn, and a few species have ornamental bark

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe to Asia Minor, Caucasus, W Siberia

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in moderately fertile soil in full sun

Propagation

Propagate by chip budding or grafting, although softwood cuttings in early summer with bottom heat can be successful. Can be propagated by seed - see trees and shrubs from seed

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Pruning group 1. Prune in mid-summer if silver leaf is a problem

Pests

May get aphids, caterpillars, leaf-mining moths and bullfinches

Diseases

May be affected by silver leaf, bacterial canker and blossom wilt

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