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Prunus avium Alkavo
While mazzard cherries are often grown as an ornamental cherry for their spring blossoms, but should not be overlooked for their fruit! Mazzard cherry, or bird cherry is the parent species of many of today’s popular cherry tree varieties. It is in flower from April to May with fragrant white to light pink blossoms and the sweet cherries ripen from July to August. It is a highly productive cherry, producing high yields, of tiny, delicious, black to red cherries. The species is hermaphroditic and is pollinated by Bees, and attracts other beneficial insects and birds.
While it is native to Europe and Asia, it has been cultivated in the US since colonial times. They grow best with medium moisture, well drained soil in fully sunlit areas. It typically grows 20-30’ tall, but can reach 60’ in its native habitat. A robust and determined cherry tree it is extremely disease resistant and is a great species for grafting other varieties onto. With their high yield, beautiful blossoms, and hardiness, this species would be a great addition to a food forest or as a backyard snack tree!
The Alkavo selection produces trees that are more frost hardy than Prunus avium, and they grow around 10% smaller, making harvesting easier.
Common Names: bird cherry, sweet cherry, mazzard cherry
Latin Name: Prunus avium Alkavo
Mature Size: Height: 15’ to 30’, Spread: 15’ to 30’
Native Range: Europe, northern Africa, southwestern Asia
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Soil Type: Prefers moisture-retentive loamy soils (compost derived) with good drainage. No tolerance for wet soils or boggy areas