Black Cherry Live Stakes, or Prunus serotina, are a fast-growing forest tree.
Black Cherry Live Stakes deciduous tree grows between 25 and 80 feet with most varieties growing 50 to 80 feet in height with a 30-50 foot spread area. For about the first ten years or so the bark is thin and smooth, similar to that of a birch. At maturity, the tree is easily identified by very broken, thick bark resembling burnt dark grey or black cornflakes. Leaves are dark green 2–5 inches (5–13 cm) long, egg-shaped at the stem forming into a lancet point at the end. In the Fall leaf color is yellow to red.
In the Spring and early summer the small 5 petaled fragrant white flowers form clusters about 4-6 inches (10–15 cm) long. Each cluster contains several dozen flowers. Purplish to reddish-brown fruit, or black cherries, are produced.
Black Cherry Live Stakes, also known as wild black cherry, rum cherry, or mountain black cherry, are native to Canada and the United States from Chicago east and south. Black Cherry is a common tree in many areas and is often used as property barriers and perimeters as property line trees. With germination periods of up to 3 years the hard seeds can be found sprouting randomly around roadways and fields.
Black Cherry Live Stakes are easy to grow and will make a beautiful statement in any landscape.
Black Cherry Live Stakes is very hardy and is not susceptible to many pests of diseases. The leaves provide an excellent source of food for caterpillars and have become great habitats for a variety of butterflies, including the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Henry’s Elfin, Eastern Pine Elfin, Red-banded, and Dusky-blue Hairstreaks. Bees are drawn to the flowers each spring.
The wood of the black cherry tree is highly desired for furniture with its hardwood, beautiful, natural color and desirable wood-grain.
Black cherry trees are deciduous, meaning they drop their leaves in the fall. They thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9 and enjoy full sun and well-drained soil, but can withstand slightly dry conditions and shaded environments. These plants prefer pH levels slightly acidic to slightly alkaline at ph 6.8-7.2. They are tolerant to cold. Their native habitats include open woods, roadsides, old fields, thickets, woodlands, canyons, floodplains, and lower riparian slopes. They make excellent fence lines, border trees, and property boundary lines. They are often used as shade trees for residences and parks.
Black Cherry Live Stakes do produce twig, flower and fruit droppings, requiring moderate clean up during late spring and summer and again in the fall months for fallen leaf removal. They are home to a variety of songbirds, game birds, game mammals, bees and other insect pollinators, and small animals, like squirrels.
Black Cherry Live Stakes fruit is edible, best used pitted in jam and jelly preserves. These are not the standard commercial cherry trees you would use to eat consumable cherry fruits at the local grocery store. The trees may begin to produce fruit in May in warmer climate conditions and continue into the month of July.
Seedlings grow 2-4 inches in the first month after germination. On average black cherry trees add 2-4 feet in height each season depending on water availability and growing conditions. Young trees may be easily transplanted, but as the trees age and grow to a height over 10 feet it is best not to move them for fear of damaging their shallow taproot system. The trees have been known to live up to 250 years.
For those interested in smaller trees, some versions of the trees have been developed as dwarf trees growing to only 15-25 feet in height. Other fruit-producing cherry trees or decorative cherry trees may better serve this need considering the expense and availability.
In summary, black cherry trees are great, easy-to-grow shade trees. They make a nice addition to any yard or as boundaries or tree lines. Care for the trees is minimal and they grow easily.
Black Cherry Live Stakes