Why plant Audubon® Native Common Chokecherry Treeling?
The word “Chokecherry” gives you a pretty good indication of what this sassy little tree’s fruits taste like. They are indeed bitter enough to make you choke! Fortunately, birds absolutely adore chokecherries. It is estimated that at least 70 species of birds ravish the quarter-inch drupes in late summer. Eastern Bluebirds are eager customers, as are robins, grosbeaks, catbirds, cardinals, Blue Jays, tanagers, orioles, and cedar waxwings. Add to that bounty the many, many caterpillars and other insects that this tree hosts, and you have a veritable songbird smorgasbord. Bon appetit!
Chokecherry is a denizen of the North; it is most prevalent in the upper Midwest, New England, and well into Canada—where winter temperatures can drop to -50ºF! Its range also dips down into some southern states, but usually only at high altitudes. For ancient Native Americans in the North, chokecherries were an important part of the diet. They were dried, cooked, or mixed with other ingredients to make them palatable. Today they are occasionally made into juice, jelly, or pies… with the addition of lots of sugar!
How to use Audubon® Native Common Chokecherry Treeling in the landscape?
Chokecherry makes a splash when it blooms in mid-spring. The fragrant white flowers are arranged in jalapeno-shaped clusters and are quite profuse. They attract scores of honey bees and many native pollinators as well, like bumblebees, sweat bees, miner bees, and syrphid flies.
Hardiness Zone: 2-6
How To Plant Audubon® Native Common Chokecherry Treeling
Chokecherry is not difficult to grow, and with a little bit of care, it will grow very quickly indeed. Give it as much sun as you can; it will also tolerate light shade. Good drainage is crucial with Cherry Trees—be careful not to plant them too deep and never site them in a spot that stays constantly wet. Your Chokecherry will need regular water during the first year or two of establishment, but it will be fairly drought tolerant after that. Cherry bark is thin and smooth in the early years—take care not to damage it with lawn equipment.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. If planting in the fall, use Elements fertilizer while planting and start your regular annual fertilizing the following fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established as it gives your tree the nutrients it needs to produce lush new growth for the following spring.
How To Prune
A young tree may need a little extra support to ensure that it lives a long and healthy life. Stake your new Treeling with a 6-8 foot tall wood or bamboo stake. Use expandable ties that will stretch as the tree grows, fastening the stake to the main trunk from the base to the top. Check the ties every few months, at least twice a year; ensuring the ties are not digging into the trunk. If there is any sign of this, take the tie off and reattach it, giving the tree more room to grow.
As your tree grows, remove a few of the lower branches each year in mid to late summer. Remove these lower branches before they reach 1/2 inch in diameter. It is better to make small cuts to avoid cutting a large, more mature branch - this is too stressful for the tree. Each year, make any corrective pruning needed, paying particular attention to removing damaged branches, rubbing branches, multiple leaders at the top, or suckers at the base. Limit any pruning to no more than 25% of the branching structure in a given year. Pruning benefits the tree and helps to achieve a balanced tree form.
After two or three years you can feel free to remove the stake from the tree.
Audubon® Native Common Chokecherry Treeling