Cherry, Chokecherry, and Plum Trees

Cherry and Plum (Prunus), Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)

Overview 

Stone fruit trees are beautiful to behold and produce fruits that can be used in a variety of different ways, from fresh eating, to making preserves, wine, and juice.  Flowers pass quickly but are equal to any ornamental tree.  However, Prunus, as a group has many insect and disease problems and should therefore not be counted on as a long term garden investment.  Many will decline in 3 to 10 years, but a few, such as P. subhirtella and P. sargentii can be expected to live for 30 to 50 years.  There are over 400 species and numerous hybrids in the genus Prunus.  Many do best in the South but several can survive Iowa winters. 

Hardiness- zone 3 to 10

Growth Rate- medium to fast

Mature shape- varies by species

Height- 20 to 30 feet high

Width- 15 to 25 feet wide

Site requirements- Adaptable but prefers moist, well-drained soils.  In the right conditions, it will grow like a weed.  Withstands heavy pruning and prefers full sun to partial shade.

Features-  It is the Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) that is seen in the Washington, D.C. Tidal Basin and allows Macon, GA to host the annual Cherry Blossom festival.  Sweet cherries generally do better in the Southern United States, tart cherry varieties can do well in Iowa.  Two cultivars (varieties) that tend to do well in Iowa are "Northstar" and "Meteor".