Best Prunus for wild wood land setting?

Discussion in 'Ornamental Cherries' started by waterboy, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. waterboy

    waterboy Member

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    There has recently been a timber harvest along both sides of the rural route to our small Northern Vancouver Island community. Playing with the idea of going out and planting a row of cherry on both sides of the road where the timber is being removed. Tentative idea is to attempt to propagate a good candidate into standard reforestation plugs and plant both sides of road before the block revegetates. This would be a plant and forgot operation for the most part, looking for spring blossoms and fall colours. Candidate would need to be hardy and aggressive growth habit as it will be competing with western hemlock, salmon berry and salal. Site has good sun exposure, good drainage, do expect an acidic soil due to 2nd growth western hemlock being the previous tree on site. This might not be a realistic project, any input greatly appreciated.

    We do have a few of what the old-timers call "Pie Cherry" (P. cerasus?) that has been spread by the birds around our community, they seem to do well and throw a decent show of blossoms and fruit, season dependent. Seeing this tree do well out here is what got me thinking.

    The best candidate I can think of so far, other than this "Pie Cherry", is P. avium 'plena'. Sounds like 'plena' does not bear fruit? This might help mitigate its molestation do to bears etc foraging for food.

    Thanks
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Non-native cherry trees are deer magnets. Any of these can also have other pest - as well as disease - problems at any stage. Outside of a fenced, cultivated setting likelihood of failure may be high.

    Down here the common, weedy white non-native cherry is sweet cherry (Prunus avium). I would never plant this in the woods as it is already competing well with native trees, with many examples on local hillsides actually surpassing native red alders (Alnus rubra) in height in the same stands. Plenty of basis for additional infestation will continue to be produced as long as people plant grafted named sweet cherry cultivars on their properties. It also continues to be used as a rootstock for Japanese flowering cherries, often throws up its own stems which may overtake and overwhelm the scions if not kept pruned back.

    Some wild cherries in the region with larger parts than bitter cherry (P. emarginata) - but with similarly veined and hairy leaves - are crosses with sweet cherry known as Puget Cherry (P. x pugetensis). Some locations may have quite a few of these present, often in groups - same as with the parental species.

    If dogwood leaf spot and twig blight are not too bad in the intended location(s) you might want to try Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) instead. Some years ago while helping with an old growth silver fir gap study I saw that some places in the southern Cascade Mountains of WA the air was apparently still clean enough* for this tree to be living without noticeable leaf and twig damage.

    *A match between ozone levels due to smog and disease levels above a certain point was seen during a mapping of diseased flowering dogwood (C. florida) in part of the eastern US. Presumably this would explain why dogwoods in heavily populated sections here are pretty consistently spoiled while the ones I saw way out in the mountains were still looking normal.
     
  3. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    It is always sad to hear about the growing devastation of our natural environment.

    What that removal of "timber" really means? It means cutting down trees, destroying habitat of other plants, animals, fungi and other living organisms, destroying biodiversity of our planet one little step by another. Always seeking instant gratification we are forgetting that we need that environment to survive as a species in the long run.



    Western hemlock, salmon berry and salal are native plants to your area. Replacing them with non-native plants, especially with plants that have potential to became invasive is not a good idea. It could contribute to the further elimination of native living organisms that rely for their survival, directly or indirectly, on the native plants. One more little hole in the Planet's web of life . . .

    I am far from being a native plants zealot pulling up any alien plant I can see, but I don't believe that introducing them purposefully to the native habitats is a good idea, either.

    P. cerasus and P. avium are beautiful, I agree, but so is Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry) commonly grown as ornamental (latin spectabilis means noteworthy, outstanding; worth consideration or looking at). There are also many other native to your area plants that are quite decorative you could try to plant in the vacant area, like, for example, mentioned above Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii).
     
  4. waterboy

    waterboy Member

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    Ron, Thank you for your informative feed back. On topic, balanced and relevant. I'll be doing some research on Cornus nuttallii.
     

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