Chokecherry tree planting goes as far back as 1724, when it was first cultivated. The tree is now primarily used to control erosion problems and for ornamentation of the landscape. The fruit of the chokecherry is also known to be edible. Jams, jellies, preserves, and even wines are made from the chokecherry tree fruit, which resembles a cherry. The fruit is 1/4″ to 1/3″ in diameter with a thick skin and becomes deep purple, almost black, when ripe.
Where They are Found and Characteristics
Nowadays, evidence of chokecherry tree planting can be found in a number of regions. Its range encompasses the West Coast all the way up to British Columbia, down the southern part of the United States in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, and then on up the East Coast from Maine to Newfoundland.
For chokecherry tree planting, count on a tree that grows from 20-30″ tall with an 18-25 inch wide spread. The blooms are white and flower throughout the spring and summer. The trees deciduous characteristic makes it an excellent screen to break hot, southerly winds and its dense foliage helps conserve precious topsoil during the rainy season.
A Tasty Chokecherry Treat
Not only does chokecherry tree planting benefit mankind, it is a boon to animals, as well. More than 40 different species of birds enjoy the fruits of the chokecherry and animals such as black bears and cottontail rabbits can be found feasting on them, too.
Chokecherry tree planting should be done with care, away from other fruit trees because of its propensity to attract the tent caterpillar, which can devastate other types of fruit trees. Newer cultivars of the tree, including one called “Goertz”, have shown a tastier fruit than the common Prunus virginiana chokecherry, which has an astringent, barely-edible taste unless it is disguised with sugar. These new cultivars may cause more chokecherry trees to be introduced in growers fields, despite the tent caterpillar, because of the better-tasting fruits.
How and When to Plant
Chokecherry tree planting should occur the same as any other tree with fall planting. Planting in the cooler weather, when the tree is dormant, enables the newly planted tree to work on growing roots, instead of expending precious energy on branches and foliage.
- Dig a hole twice as big as the rootball when chokecherry tree planting.
After setting in the tree, backfill the hole with rich loamy soil, making sure you do not set the rootball down too deep.
Planting “high” helps prevent the tree from getting root rot from too much water. Cover the top of the planted rootball with two inches of mulch to help retain moisture.
Water the newly planted tree in well and check it every few days by inserting a finger in one or two inches to make sure it has not dried out.
Chokecherry tree planting is an old-fashioned endeavor thats been around longer than many other types of tree planting and has found favor among people for a number of reasons. Whether you are planting one for its fruit, its screening ability, to control erosion, or just because you like the way it looks, you cannot go too far wrong. Chokecherry trees are another one of Mother Natures treats that are sure to be around for many more decades to come.