Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’

14 Apr

Prunus avium 'Sunburst' (04/04/2011, London)

Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’ (04/04/2011, London)

Position: Full sun

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Early spring

Eventual Height: Varies with rootstock

Eventual Spread: Varies with rootstock

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a but may be altered depending on the stock used in grafting.

Family: Rosaceae

Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’ is a deciduous tree with a conical habit that becomes more rounded and irregular as it matures. It is usually grown on dwarfing rootstock, because of space restrictions or to assist in harvesting. The bark is a purplish-brown, becoming fissured with horizontal lenticels common to the Prunus genus as it matures. The leaves are ovate, alternate and dark green with a serrate margin. They will turn a golden red in autumn. It bears pendant white to light pink flowers in corymbs of two to six together. These are followed by bright red to dark purple, globular, drupes. Although this plant is self pollinating a pollinator close by will greatly increase both the quality and quantity of the harvest of fruit.

Prunus avium 'Sunburst' flower (04/04/2011, London)

Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’ flower (04/04/2011, London)

The species Prunus avium, commonly known as Wild Cherry has been cultivated and eaten by humans for thousands of years. They have been valued for their fruit, and their hardwood which is prized by carpenters and instrument makers. ‘Sunburst’ was created in Canada using two other Canadian varieties of Prunus aviumPrunus avium ‘Stella’ and Prunus avium ‘van’.

The etymological root of the binomial name Prunus is the classical Latin name of the plum tree. Avium also derived from the Latin, meaning ‘of the birds’.

Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’  is useful to the landscape architect as a flowering and fruiting tree which can be located in small areas. It is also an ideal specimen for use in community gardens.

Ecologically, Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’ will attract pollinating insects including bees with its nectar and pollen and will attract birds and mammals with its fruit.

Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’ Fruit (27/06/2015, Walworth, London)

Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’ Fruit (27/06/2015, Walworth, London)

Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’ prefers well drained fertile soils. It will tolerate most soils but has a preference for neutral to lime rich soils.

Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’ requires little pruning once established. Pruning should be carried out after flowering, from April to July to minimise the risk of Silver leaf infection. This tree will require different methods of pruning depending on the stock used as well as how it is grown.  Useful tips on the care of cherry trees can be found here.

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