The Prunus genus has more than 200 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees, including almond, apricot, cherry, peach and plum. Prunus grows naturally in woodlands but can escape to sandy and rocky areas. Shrubs and trees develop rounded, spreading and columnar, or upright forms. Some columnar Prunus species serve as fruit or flowering landscape trees. Flowering ornamental Prunus species are grown for their colourful bowl-, cup- or saucer-shape blooms, according to the "American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants."
Japanese apricot, or Prunus mume, is winter flowering, shrublike tree that bears double pink, red and white blooms. The yellow fruit is ornamental. Japanese apricot species grows 20 to 30 feet tall and develops a corkscrew, round, upright or weeping form, according to the Clemson Cooperative Extension. The upright Beni-Chidori cultivar grows 10 feet tall and wide and bears dark, pink cup-shape flowers that smell like almonds. The Omoi-no-mama cultivar grows 8 feet tall and wide and bears semi-double, pink-flush, white flowers. Japanese apricot performs well in sun to partial shade and fertile but acidic soil. It resists most insects and pests.
Sargent Cherry, or Prunus sargentii, is one of the first trees to flower in spring and produces the best fall colour of all cherry trees, according to the Michigan State University Extension. The standard species develops a 30-foot height and spread and a round form, but the Columnaris cultivar develops a 35-foot height and 15-foot spread. Columnaris features pink single blooms, cinnamon coloured bark and crimson-black fruit. Sargent cherry does best in full sun and well-drained, acidic soil. The tree is susceptible to verticillium wilt fungus and attacks by tent caterpillars. Being a cherry tree, it is also prone to breakage under heavy ice and snow loads.
Flowering Peach, or Prunus persica, is a rapidly growing tree that bears showy spring flowers and fruit. A flowering peach cultivar typically produces a spreading form with upright branches and an irregular crown. In 2008, the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service released an upright Corinthian cultivar series. Each cultivar derives from the Japanese Pillar peach and is designed to produce large double flowers in pink, mauve and white. A Corinthian peach tree develops to 25 feet in height and 15 feet in spread at maturity and does not bear fruit. A flowering peach tree tolerates full sun to partial shade and clay, loam and sandy soils. A flowering peach requires pruning and is susceptible to disease and frost injury.
Japanese Flowering Cherry
Japanese flowering cherry, or Prunus serrulata, is a large tree that provides pink and white blooms in mid-spring and bronze colouring in the fall. The standard species can grow up to 75 feet tall, but a typical cultivar grows only 20 to 30 feet tall. Tree forms include upright, spreading and weeping. The Amanogawa cultivar develops a narrow columnar habit with fragrant, semi-double pink flowers. Japanese flowering cherry performs best in full sun and fertile but well-aerated soil. The tree is often short-lived because it is susceptible to aphids, crown gall and mites. Pests and disease can be avoided with regular irrigation in times of drought and fertilisation.
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- "The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants"; Christopher Buckell and Judith D. Zuk; 1997
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Ornamental Cherry, Plum, Apricot & Almond
- Michigan State University Extension: Prunus Sargentii-Sargent Cherry
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Prunus sargentii 'Columnaris': Columnar Sargent Cherry
- North Carolina State University: North Carolina Agricultural Research Service-Notice to Nurserymen...
- Ohio State University: Prunus Serrulata-Japanese Flowering Cherry...