With  smaller gardens one is  forced to choose a tree that has maximized assets, or put another way, bang for the buck. One tree that would certainly be a top consideration is the Royal Horticultural Society's award-winning Prunus 'Kursar', or Kursar cherry. This is a small Japanese cherry that blooms in early spring producing clusters of brilliant pink flowers that literally smother the bare branches. That's fairly typical for cherries, of course, but there are some other attractions. Kursar cherry's lovely flower buds, deep pink, decorate the tree for two months before bloom time giving as much as three months of winter to spring display. Then, after flowering, the leaves emerge, bronzy-red at first before turning a good clear green for summer. And Kursar cherry has some of the best fall foliage of any cherry when the leaves change to a rich orange. The form is quite nice as well. Given time it will make a polished looking, rounded tree of only 18 feet in height with a similar spread, a size which makes it so suitable to modern gardens, all of which combines to make Kursar cherry a tree with year round beauty that can be easily accommodated.

Kursar cherry has been around a while. It was bred by Captain Collingwood Ingram, who named it 'Kursar' because he thought its parentage was Prunus nipponica var. kurilensis and Prunus sargentii, thus kur-sar. But later he discovered that it wasn't Prunus sargentii but Prunus campanulata. Too late, however, as the name stuck.

Kursar cherry is easily grown and quite hardy. It will do best, of course, with well-drained soil but can tolerate acid or alkaline. It can grow in semi-shade, but will look its best in a sunny spot. It is not tolerant of drought however.  It may be hard to find, despite its many awards. It probably won’t be found in the big nursery centers, but more likely in the connoisseur tree nurseries.

Kursar cherry will do well in Canada, especially southern Ontario and British Columbia. It is fully hardy across the UK and should well in New Zealand and the cooler parts of Australia and the United States.


Kursar cherry

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