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How to Plant a Chokecherry Tree

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) is a native North American tree. This tree grows as a large shrub or small tree. Chokecherry trees like rich, moist yet well-drained soil in sunny locations. Chokecherry trees--which attract birds to your yard--bloom from April to June and produce fruit from July to October.

Remove weeds, sod and unwanted brush from the area. Dig the planting area 6 feet in diameter and 24 inches deep. Loosen the soil, remove large roots and pick up large rocks. Break up large soil clumps.

Remove the packaging from the rootball by cutting it away with a sharp knife. Remove wires, twine and tags from the branches of the chokecherry with a pair of pliers. Place the rootball in a large bucket of water while preparing the hole. Do not leave the chokecherry tree standing in water more than 30 minutes.

Dig a hole that is as deep as the rootball and twice as wide. Scrape the sides up with the edge of the shovel to create toe holds for the new developing roots. Place the tree in the center of the hole.

Fill the hole halfway full with soil around the roots. Add enough water the fill the hole to the top. Push more soil into the hole until it is full. Firm the soil around the chokecherry tree and water well.

Spread 4 to 6 inches of mulch around the base of the chokecherry tree. Use shredded bark or wood chips since they last longer then other mulches. This helps to preserve the moisture in the soil and reduce weed growth.


Chokecherry fruit is tart to the taste. When combined with other fruit, chokecherries are used to make pies and jellies.


Nearly all the parts of the chokecherry tree are toxic to humans and livestock. Ingestion of seeds, leaves, twigs and bark can cause cyanide poisoning. This is fatal unless it is treated within minutes of ingestion. The fruit of the chokecherry tree can be eaten, but only if the pits are discarded first.

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