Why plant Audubon® Native Great Lakes Sand Cherry?
Biologists have discovered that songbirds require enormous numbers of caterpillars for each brood of chicks they raise. One study monitored a pair of Carolina chickadees who brought 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars to their nestlings! Where do all these caterpillars come from? Largely, they’re reared on native Oaks, Willows, and Cherries. Sand Cherry is one American Accent you can plant to support caterpillars, and therefore, songbirds. Even if you don’t have room for a tree, you can still do a solid for wildlife by planting one or more of these lovely shrubs on your property. Sand Cherry’s sour little fruits will be a hit with birds, too!
At home where summers are cool and winters are downright brutal, this species is most often spotted in the wild in Canada, the Upper Plains States, the Upper Midwest, and New England. It favors light (sandy), dry soils in sunny sites. Besides serving as a stellar caterpillar host plant, Sand Cherry is also a delight for pollinators when the sweet white flowers open in spring. The blooms appeal to bumblebees, miner bees, sweat bees, hoverflies, butterflies, and skippers. In late summer, the purple-black fruits attract bluebirds, cardinals, cedar waxwings, catbirds, and kingbirds, among others.
How to use Audubon® Native Great Lakes Sand Cherry in the landscape?
At any garden center in the North, you’re likely to find Purple Sand Cherry for sale. This purple-leaved hybrid has the native Sand Cherry as one of the parents. While the Purple Sand Cherry is also a pretty plant, it is not as beneficial to wildlife. Studies have shown that insects tend to shun purple leaves. To support beneficial bugs and birds, choose the native green Sand Cherry!
Hardiness Zone: 2-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native Great Lakes Sand Cherry
Plant your Sand Cherry in full sun if possible; light shade will also suffice, but isn’t ideal. Irrigate regularly during the establishment period (the first summer); after that, the plant will be happy with little or no supplemental water. In rich, moist soils, Sand Cherry will grow larger than usual. It is adapted to poor, dry sites, where its habit is typically stunted. Constantly wet soils should be avoided for this species and for Cherries in general. Sand Cherry expands laterally by rhizomes (rootlike underground stems). Plant it where it has some room to spread out.
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. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.