Silvics of Pin Cherry

(Prunus pensylvanica L.F.)

Common names:
- fire cherry, hay cherry, red cherry, bird cherry

Field identification aids:
- small tree that rarely exceeds 8 m (25') tall
- bark of young cherry resembles that of young birch sapling
- bark of older cherry is dotted with light brown markings
- buds smell like almonds when crushed
- berry is sour tasting

Average mature tree:
- 20 to 30 years old
- 3 m to 8 m (10' to 25') tall
- 10 cm to 15 cm (4" to 6") in diameter at breast height

Shade tolerance:
- very intolerant

- moderately deep and wide-spreading

- reproduces by seed
- seed is heavy and is dispersed by birds
- seed remains viable in the soil for long periods

Growing sites:
- occurs on burned areas, along rivers, and fence rows
- prefers sandy soil
- cutovers

Associated species:
- white and grey birch, trembling aspen, and alder

Principal damaging agent:
- black knot fungus

- pin cherry is not a commercial species
- favorite food for birds
- twigs and leaves contain cyanic acid and are poisonous
- a pioneer species

Quick ID:
Pin cherry has black wart like cankers from black knot fungus


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