Royal Burgundy Cherry
Prunus serrulata ‘Royal Burgundy’
Few ornamental cherry varieties do well in the Pacific Northwest, but the Royal Burgundy flowering cherry may be an exception. Similar in form to a kwanzan, it appears to grow at a slower rate. The Royal Burgundy Cherry also seems to have a less aggressive root system and less tendency to develop the large surface roots we sometimes see on grafted cherry trees. The most significance difference however, are the deep dark purple leaves framing the stout light pink double flowers in early spring. Dirr states that this tree was discovered by Frank Parks, Speer and Sons Nursery in Oregon and only patented in 1989. With its rich dark foliage, this tree is a knockout, especially when it is in bloom.
The Royal Burgundy is vase shaped. Select nursery specimens based on what height you want the crown to start. Most cherry varieties are grown from basal bud grafts these days so nurseries can start crown growth at a decent height on a tall liner. Trunks are relatively straight and it has an open branching habit, also good for cherry trees that need as much air circulation as possible to discourage fungal diseases. Leaves are simple, ovate to ovate lanceolate, and 1 ¼ to 2 ½ inches long. They have a lightly serrate edge. The dark reddish purple foliage can turn reddish orange in the fall. The Royal Burgundy Cherry transplants easily, but like all cherries, it should be planted in well drained soils and never be sitting in water.
While discussing this tree with other growers, arborists and landscapers, there is some concensis that there appear to be few insect or disease pests that bother it. This observation and its apparently slower growth make it an excellent tree to consider for street, landscape and garden locations. Let me know if you have had similar or different experiences with the Royal Burgundy Cherry.
I always appreciate any comments you have on this or other varieties you work with.
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