28 February 2018 by Dr Jane Bingham
If you have limited space and are looking for a small, decorative tree, look no further than our beautiful selection here at The Mains of Drum. Some suggestions are listed below, but in springtime, nothing looks as lovely as the Flowering cherry.
Flowering cherries are highly ornamental trees with many fine attributes:
• In spring, they look breathtakingly stunning when they are in full blossom. Their soft, delicate, fragrant petals in pastel shades are a soothing and calming delight.
• The young leaves are often coppery or bronze, before turning green. In autumn the leaves become vivid shades of orange, bronze and red.
• There are many elegant forms with upright, spreading or weeping branches and there are pillar forms too, which are ideal for a small space or patio pot.
• Some varieties even have beautiful, gleaming bark.
Prunus ‘Kanzan’ is a vase-shaped tree, spreading with age. It has double, vivid pink blossom, coppery young leaves, and fiery autumn colour.
Prunus ‘Cheal’s Weeping’ syn. ‘Kiku-shidare-zakura’ is one of the best weeping cherries, with gracefully arching branches covered in large, double, deep pink flowers in spring with bronze and orange leaves in autumn.
Prunus ‘Snow Showers’ is a small, neat, weeping tree with a dense covering of pure white blossom in spring. Its green leaves turn bronze and red in autumn.
Prunus ‘Amanogawa’ has a narrow, pillar habit. It has fragrant, semi-double pink blossom, and orange and red leaves in autumn.
Prunus ‘Blushing Bride’ syn. ‘Shogetsu’ is one of the finest Japanese cherries and has a wide-spreading growth habit. It has clusters of large double pink flowers, which fade to a beautiful cloud of pure white.
Some of our Flowering cherry specimens, such as ‘Blushing Bride’, have been top-worked (grafted) on to a trunk of Prunus serrula (Tibetan cherry), which has stunning glossy, coppery bark with cream-coloured rings.
• Birch (Betula) is an excellent and popular choice and there are many beautiful forms here at The Mains of Drum. There’s ‘Red Panda’ with its stunning copper/pink peeling bark or ‘Moonbeam’ with pure-white bark, and it’s hard to resist the allure of the multi-stemmed birches.
• Rowan (Sorbus) are neat trees with elegant branches and dainty leaves. Clusters of flowers in spring are followed by bright berries in autumn and the leaves have vibrant autumn colours.
• Maples (Acer) are grown for their graceful shape, beautiful foliage and bark, and stunning leaf colours, which change through the season.
• Crab apples (Malus) have lovely blossom followed by attractive fruits and autumn foliage. Many varieties have fruit that is great for making delicious crab apple jelly. For example, the large yellow/pink fruits of Malus ‘Jelly King’.
Before planting trees improve the soil by digging over and incorporating plenty of well-rotted organic matter, such as garden compost or manure, and a handful of Bonemeal. Water your potted tree well in the days before planting and then carefully remove it from the pot. Gently loosen the roots. Place the root ball into the planting hole so that the soil is at the same level as it was in the pot. Fill in around the root ball and gently firm the soil with your foot. Hammer in a tree stake – most trees will only require a single stake. Insert it on the side of the prevailing wind so that the tree is blown away from the stake. Tie securely with a tree tie in a figure of eight so that there is a collar between the trunk and the stake. Water thoroughly after planting.
Mycorrhizal fungi are plant-friendly fungi that attach themselves to plant roots which encouagres increased root growth. This helps roots to access more water and nutrients resulting in better establishment and stronger, healthier plants. Look out for ‘Dragonfli Roots Boost’ or ‘Neudorff Mycorrhiza Root Enlarger for Ericaceous Plants’ in our Sundries Department. Please refer to pack labels for full details and instructions.
• It is essential that you keep your newly planted trees well-watered during spring and summer particularly when the weather is dry.
• Once a year, in spring, apply a general-purpose granular fertiliser, such as Fish, Blood and Bone or Growmore, to the soil around the tree roughly to the furthest extent of the branches.
• Apply a mulch of well-rotted organic matter to the surface of moist soil. Keep the area around the tree free of weeds.
• If your new tree is planted into a lawn, remove a circle of turf around the trunk to prevent the lawn grass from competing for water and nutrients.
• In exposed sites, protect newly planted trees, particularly conifers and evergreen trees and hedges, from icy blasts using windbreaks made of fine mesh, fleece or plastic sheeting attached to posts or, stakes or canes.