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Tree Project.

Prunus Avium - Flowering Cherry.

Cherries were first cultivated so long ago that their origins have been lost, although it is thought that they came from Turkey and were cultivated in ancient Greece. However, Cherries have long been naturalised in western Asia and Eastern Europe from the Caspian Sea to the Balkans. They are also a common species in Eastern Asia, including China, Korea, and especially in Japan where they are almost worshipped with huge Spring Celebrations.
Cherries are Prunus and there are some 430 species classified under Prunus which also includes Plums, Apricots and Peaches. Basically though, there are two main types of cherry, the sweet fruiting Prunus Avium and the sour fruiting Prunus Cerasus.
Prunus can grow up to 10m in about 10-15 years and are often short lived surviving only up to 30 years, although some have been recorded at 250 years old and there are claims that in Japan, there is one particular tree that is said to be 2,000 years old.

Most Cherry Trees that can be bought commercially are grafted these days, although of course it is easy to grow one from a pip. You can buy them as weeping standards and grafted on to all sorts of root stocks to give a range of sizes.
Prunus generally, are best planted in a fairly sunny and sheltered spot otherwise they will lose blossom in any wind. Acidic cherries will however, grow in a shady position.
As with most trees Cherry Trees are best planted when they are dormant in the Winter time to allow their roots to develop before the burst of Spring growth puts a big demand on the plant. All trees will produce Blossom, but some (mostly the Sour, or Cooking Cherries,) are self fertile and some will need another pollinator to produce fruit.
Fruit production obviously follows the Blossom which at best only lasts a week or two with different varieties blooming at different times. In Tokyo, in Japan, most put on their best show from the end of March to the beginning of April. Cherry Blossom, or “Sakura,” is the national flower of Japan where the Japanese honour it by having the short-lived “Hanami Celebrations,” which are a reminder to “Seize the day.”
Most Cherry Blossom is pink and there are even very decorative, “Double blooms,” but there are also some white flowered varieties.
After the flowers comes the fruit with harvesting generally in June and July, although there are some Autumn fruiting varieties.
Not only are the Cherries eaten, but so is the blossom and leaves, especially in Japan where they’re pickled and used as ingredients for sweets, in baking and also in making a type of tea.
Cherry Trees do however suffer from many potential problems apart from Birds loving to eat them as soon as they start to ripen. They are particularly susceptible to Canker, Silver Leaf and Peach Leaf Curl as well as falling victim to various aphids and other pests as well as fungal diseases called Brown Rot and Blossom Blight.


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