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Chokecherry Makes a Fine Hedge in Sun or Shade

Virtues: Chokecherry is a great wildlife shrub/tree, providing food for the larvae of many species of butterflies and moths, and berries for birds and humans (the tart berries can be made into jams and jellies). It takes sun or shade and makes a good hedge, given its multiple stems and excellent leaf coverage.


Common name: Chokecherry, Virginia bird cherry

Botanical name:Prunus virginiana

Exposure: Full sun to full shade

Season: Spring for flowers, summer for berries, fall for foliage, year-round for form

Flowers: Sprays of white blossoms appear in spring.

Foliage: The green leaves stay clean through summer and then turn gold or orange in fall.

Habit: Chokecherry grows as a large shrub or small, multi-stemmed tree. It can easily be planted in a row to create a hedge or windbreak. It can reach from 15 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide.

Origins: Native across North America save for parts of the Gulf Coast.

How to grow chokecherry: Site chokecherry in sun or shade, in moderate to moist soil. It will tolerate some drought once established. Chokecherry spreads by forming suckers at its base. These should be pulled if you do not want the spreading to occur, or they can be left if you want to naturalize an area.

Image credit: Deb Perry / Moment / Getty Images