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Black Cherry

Plant Type: Dormant, bare-root

Zones:  3-9

Soil Type:  Loamy & Sandy Soils

Site Selection: Full Sun, Partial Sun

Mature Height & Width:  60-80'+ Height and 25-35' Spread

Growth Rate:  Fast - 24" or more per year once established

Moisture Requirements: Average soils

Plant Characteristics

Black Cherry

Prunus serotina

The Black Cherry tree flowers profusely with elongated, almost bottle brush shaped, fragrant flower clusters in the spring. Leaves are dark green and turn yellow in autumn. Its bark is broken and dark grey to black in appearance, and looks to some like burnt potato chips. In autumn, the cherries ripen and are edible, commonly used in making great pies and wines. This Black Cherry variety is hardy in northern areas down to zone 3. An excellent choice for foresting an area for future harvest as this tree provides very valuable timber. This cherry likes moist, rich soil and full sun but grows well in other locations as well.

This selection is sometimes also known as the Mountain Black Cherry or the Rum Cherry.

For highest cherry yield, the Black Cherry should be planted in full sun.  This selection is also drought tolerant once it is established.

Special Note:  Livestock caretakers should use caution when planting on their property.  The bark, twigs, leaves and cherry pits (seeds) contain cyanide which can harm livestock.  Other wildlife are seemingly unaffected. 

Common uses for the Black Cherry tree:

  • Investment timber, valuable yield
  • Beautiful wood used by wood workers
  • Nice show of fragrant flowers in spring
  • Cherries eaten raw and used for making jams, pies, wine and liquors

The Black cherry provides important food for numerous species of song and game birds as well as red fox, black bear,  raccoon, opposum, squirrels and hares.  The cherries are eaten by birds such as the American Robin, Brown Thrasher, Nothern Mockingbird, Eastern Bluebird, Gray Catbird, Bluejay, Nothern Cardinal, Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, Crows and many types of Woodpeckers.

Many birds and mammals eat Black Cherry fruit, including: American Robin, Brown Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Eastern Bluebird, European Starling, Gray Catbird, Bluejay, Northern Cardinal, American Crow, woodpeckers, sparrows, Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey