Flowering schedule: Plum vs. Cherry

Discussion in 'Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival' started by Junglekeeper, Mar 26, 2017.

  1. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,196
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    How does the plum's period of bloom compare to that of the cherry, in either relative or absolute terms? I noticed plum trees around Vancouver have started to put forth a small number of flowers on each tree.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  2. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,721
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Nothing is absolute, and this year, absolutely nothing is absolute. I remember 'Whitcomb' cherries, then 'Accolade' cherries, then a few other early cherries, then plums, then 'Akebono' cherries. I think at least one year 'Akebono' came out before the plums. It was always a question whether people were going to confuse pink plums with 'Whitcomb' cherries or white plum trees with 'Akebono' cherries. This year, the 'Whitcomb' cherries still are not fully open anywhere (I'm even wondering if the early neighbourhoods where they started to open early will not even be good enough to say they were ever in bloom), and yes, the plums are starting to open, and pretty much everywhere. The double blireiana plums opened more than two weeks before the others, and surprisingly, earlier than some other years.

    Some of these trees are more sensitive to length of day than to temperature, others the other way around; this is complicated by the fact that the temperatures vary a lot around the city, with some areas hovering above the 10C degree mark that will encourage them to open. So on any one trip in the city, you might see one type of tree open before another, whereas if you'd stayed in the one micro-climate, that might not have been the case. Some years, people reported the pink plums (as cherries) three weeks after they had finished in the West End. And even in the West End, I would report 'Accolade' as open now based on the trees across from the Aquatic Centre, yet hardly open at all based on Chilco mini-park or even on Pacific Street one block above the Aquatic Centre.

    I really haven't been keeping any record of the blooming dates of these things. You're welcome to scour the blogs and compare what got posted when. The plums are all in one Plums thread, plus ones posted for ID in Ornamental Cherries. I don't know how to do this well enough that I would get any useful data. For starters, I would need to know when to really say something is in bloom, and to make that determination the same way for everything I was comparing.

    This year, like the magnolias at UBCBG that have mixed up their schedule, the cherries don't seem to be following any rules either. I have not seen an 'Akebono' flower open on any tree in the West End, yet I saw a small bunch of open 'Shirotae' flowers, way down the mid-season list.
     
  3. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,721
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I replied thinking that meant the plums were out, but I saw several areas on Monday where that was not the case, and a few areas where they are almost fully out. 'Whitcomb', 'Accolade' and 'Somei-yosino' are open now in the West End, the last one of these considerably before some cultivars that are supposed to precede it.

    I thought I linked to this article showing how to distinguish cherries from plums, but I see not:
    Cherry versus Plum Blossoms: What’s the Difference?
    This was written in 2013, when the festival blogger was able to use 'Akebono' cherries for the comparison. If she had written it this year, she would be using 'Whitcomb' cherries, as 'Akebono' are not out yet anywhere.
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,196
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Yes, I read that article last year and again this year- it's very helpful. Like you said earlier, the number of blooms will be affected by the micro-climate in each area. I saw a definite increase in the number of blooms in plum trees in the local neighbourhood this morning. I suspect full bloom will be in the not too distant future.
     

Share This Page