Gardeners in all of Pennsylvania have a choice when it comes to picking a small pink tree for a spot in the garden or to use as a specimen plant on the front lawn. There is a pink tree that will grow in any of the USDA hardiness zones in the state, bringing a pale or bright splash of a different color into the landscape.
Sargent cherry (Prunus sargentii) is a flowering cherry that is a native of Japan and a member of the rose family. Pink Chimes Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus, "Pink Chimes") is a native of Japan with very few problems. Cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera) is a native of Asia and a member of the rose family.
Sargent cherry is a deciduous tree that grows from 25 to 40 feet tall and about the same in width. The tree produces leaves that grow from 3 to 5 inches long, purple at first, changing to a dark green and then yellow, orange or red in the fall. The pink flowers bloom early in May and are followed by black fruit that is a food source for birds.
Pink chimes grows from 20 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide with pink bell-shaped flowers growing in clusters in May and June. The green, oblong leaves grow up to 4 inches long and turn yellow and red in the fall.
Cherry plum grows from 15 to 28 feet tall and about the same in width. The tree produces bright green leaves that grow up to 2 1/2 inches long and pink-white flowers up to 1 inch long that bloom before the leaves appear. The flowers are followed by an edible red fruit that measures 1 inch in diameter and matures in late summer.
Most of Pennsylvania lies in two temperate zones, USDA hardiness zones 5 and 6, where the winter temperatures usually do not get below 20 degrees below zero. Two small areas in the northwest are in zone 4 and a very small area in the southeast is in zone 7. Sargent cherry and cherry plum are hardy in all of Pennsylvania. Pink Chimes is hardy in zones 6 and 7.
Plant Sargent cherry in full sun or partial shade and in a soil that is moist and well drained. Pink chimes grows equally well in full sun, partial shade or full shade and in any soil that is moist and well drained. Cherry plum needs to be planted in full sun and in a soil that is moist and well drained also.
Caterpillars eat the leaves of the Sargent cherry. Pink chimes is damaged by the ambrosia beetle when it is under stress from being transplanted. Cherry plum has a short life span, just about 20 years. The tree is also subject to attack by aphids, borers, scale and tent caterpillars and is susceptible to two fungal diseases: canker and leaf spot.