Bird Cherry Prunus Padus

Description & features

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This product will be available from November to March as a bare-root plant.

Sizes and prices will appear on the website later in the year. What does bare-root mean?

Product description

PRUNUS PADUS – Bird Cherry

Characteristics

Bird Cherry is an attractive flowering tree with almond scented flowers in May which are held on long slender racemes.  These turn into small black bitter fruits.  Good orange yellow leaf colour in autumn.

The Bird Cherry is native to Europe, Western and Central Asia as far as Japan.  It occurs naturally in open spaces, in edges of forests and in wooded banks more generally in the wetter north of the UK.  It can make a maximum height of 10m (30ft) and more often than not as a multi-stemmed or short boled tree.

Where to grow

Bird Cherry is an extremely tough tree which will grow in the harshest environments.  Unlike most of the flowering cherries it will cope with wet ground well and tolerates exposure and winds, it is found growing almost up to the Arctic Circle.  However it will grow best in moist loamy fertile soils.

Did you know?

The wood is particularly evil smelling, the fruits are used to colour wine The bark was used in the Middle Ages to make stimulants  and extracts to treat stomach-ache, fever and colds.  It was considered so potent that pieces of the bark were hung on doors and in drinking water for protection against the plague.


 

Features

Mature height
Small - 5-10 metres
Spread
5-10 metres
Shape / habit
Broad headed
Growth rate
Fast
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Difficulty / hard to grow
Easy
Evergreen / Deciduous
Deciduous
Season of interest
Spring
Autumn colour
Yellow
Leaf
Green
Foliage
Dense
Flower colour
White
Flowering type
Single
Flowering month
May
Scent
Scented Flowers
Native / Naturalised
Native
Moisture levels
Wet/Water logged sites
Other
Good at altitude
Uses
Screening
Parkland Tree
City/Urban Sites
Country/Farmland
Encourages wildlife
Bird Food
Flower Arranging

Features

Mature height
Small - 5-10 metres
Spread
5-10 metres
Shape / habit
Broad headed
Growth rate
Fast
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Difficulty / hard to grow
Easy
Evergreen / Deciduous
Deciduous
Season of interest
Spring
Autumn colour
Yellow
Leaf
Green
Foliage
Dense
Flower colour
White
Flowering type
Single
Flowering month
May
Scent
Scented Flowers
Native / Naturalised
Native
Moisture levels
Wet/Water logged sites
Other
Good at altitude
Uses
Screening
Parkland Tree
City/Urban Sites
Country/Farmland
Encourages wildlife
Bird Food
Flower Arranging

Aftercare

For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.

Watering

The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water.  It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree.  In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass.  When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree.  It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one  metre wide completely free of grass.  The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:

  1. Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup.  Apply each year for the first 3 years.  It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
  2. Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this.  This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.

Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem.  Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.

Staking

If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree.  Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm.  The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots.   Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150  1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175  1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.

Ties

Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping.  These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens.  Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees.  Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge.  Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.


Comments

By Zandra Sheppard on 05/09/2015

How old must the Bird Cherry tree be before it begins to flower?

By Simon on 07/09/2015

Dear Zandra,

We have trees of 4 or 5 years old that flower at the nursery, so they flower from a fairly young age.

By Rubi on 23/03/2016

How tall do these threes get?

By Simon on 25/03/2016

Hello Rubi,

Prunus padus reaches about 10m (30ft).

By Sue on 06/06/2016

Are the black berries poisonous to dogs ?

By Simon on 08/06/2016

Hello Sue,

It’s probably not a good idea to let dogs eat too many of these. I would consult with a vet if you are worried about your dog having eaten some as they are probably toxic to canines, to some degree.

By Maureen Poulsom on 15/11/2016

I am hoping to buy a Prunus Paduswaterri, however would it best to buy one that is established in a container rather than as a bare rooted tree?  Do you have any that are containerised and is it best to plant now or in the spring?  I have £50 in National Garden Scheme vouchers, do you accept these towards the purchase.  I look forward to hearing from you, thank you

Maureen

By Simon on 16/11/2016

Hello Maureen,

The advantage of buying a container grown tree would be that you could come in to the nursery and choose your own specimen, whereas we would choose a bare root one for you. We have both available at the moment, but bare root trees are only available November - March. It’s up to you whether to plant now or in the spring - either time would be fine, but if it was later than March you would have to opt for container grown. We accept National Garden Scheme vouchers if you bring them into the nursery.

By Rosalind on 18/06/2017

Does the birdcherry self-seed? I would like to have a native tree but I already have a lot of trouble with weeding out tree seedlings (ash, alder, hazel, oak, hawthorn etc). Also would it fare well in west Kent, it seems only to occur naturally in the North of the UK. Thank you.

By Simon on 30/06/2017

Hello Rosalind,
Bird cherry certainly can self-seed, but prefers a moist soil so if it’s dry then this will inhibit germination. It grows perfectly well in Kent as a planted tree, although in the wild there are more colonies in the North. If this is a tree for your garden then you might want to look at the cultivars we offer, the more upright ‘Albertii’ and spreading form, ‘Watereri’.

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