Prunus avium



Parent plant of the edible cherries, it is a deciduous tree approx 15m high by 5m wide. Trunk has red-brown bark. Leaves are oval with serrate margins and a pointed end, turning yellow-crimson in autumn. Flowers are white and cup-shaped, occurring in spring. Fruit are red-black balls.


Suitable for parks and gardens, it is used as both an ornamental flowering tree and for its edible fruit.

There are so many ways to enjoy cherries:
    Eat them fresh chilled in the fridge
    As a snack - dried and chopped with nuts
    As a cereal ingredient
    Serve a small bowl or two with cold spreads
    Use them to garnish seafood dishes
    Use as an ingredient in Christmas cakes, cheesecakes, biscuits, fruit loafs and scones  


Prefers full sun and a protected position in moist, well-drained soils. Frost tolerant and drought sensitive. Apply fertiliser for improved growth and fruiting. Prone to pests and diseases, depending upon locality. Avoid pruning during humid conditions as this can leasd to wood rots. Propagate by seed, or grafting and budding of cultivars.


Will grow from seed, cuttings or grafting.

The best trees are produced by budding or grafting onto rootstocks of prunus species (eg. vigorous plum cultivars) that are appropriate to the situation.


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Plant Health

Cherries may be prone to some pest and disease problems.  Pests include root weevils, nematodes and aphids. The pear and cherry slug is also quite destructive on trees which are not growing vigorously. These are the larvae of black sawfly and may be hosed off or sprayed with insecticidal soaps. Birds are probably the greatest nuisance. Losses to birds can be devastating. Commercial growers often use noise from guns to scare birds away. The home gardener might use nets or hessian bags around fruits to protect them.

Of the diseases, bacterial canker can prevent buds from opening and cause yellowing and curling of leaves. There is usually a visible lesion on affected branches which oozes gum. Silver leaf can cause whole branches to turn white and die back. This is followed by purple fruiting bodies and can cause death of the tree. Diseased material should be removed and burnt.

Diseases may be avoided by selecting areas free of insect pests and maintaining good weed control. Where needed copper based fungicides may be applied.  Trees may also sometimes be attacked by viruses and there is no treatment for these. Good care and proper plant hygiene may help since they are spread by aphids and nematodes.

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