Prunus and Malus
Prunus and Malus are two of our favourite genera in the Rosaceae family! Most often they are deciduous, fruiting, and ornamental trees or shrubs that have stunning autumn colours and a profuse display of heavenly scented blossoms in Springtime. Classic examples of these include Cherries, Plums and Apples. Some of our most gorgeous species include:
A compact weeping cherry tree with white cascading blossoms that resemble falling snow. In Autumn its leaves turn a lovely copper-gold and orange.
Another elegant weeping charry tree with soft pink blossoms that attract bees and butterflies. Its shiny green leaves turn a delicious butter yellow colour in autumn.
A small ornamental Crab apple with double-petaled fragrant pale-pink blossoms in spring and a gorgeous array of autumn colours rippling from yellow to orange and scarlet.
This Crab apple tree has masses of pale pink buds in early spring that open to an abundance of sweet smelling white blossoms in mid spring. In autumn its glossy green leaves change to bronze-yellow.
This beautiful Crab apple tree has deep pink blossoms in spring. The leaves are also deep purple in colour creating a truly eye-catching display. In autumn its leaves turn from deep pink to bronze red.
Care and tips
- These plants love humus-rich soil with plenty of organic matter and good drainage.
- They are best suited to a full-sun or lightly shaded positions.
- Adding mulch and compost to the soil is greatly beneficial in insulating the roots.
- Pruning should be done in winter when the tree is dormant. First remove dead, damaged, or diseased wood followed by any crossing branches. Tip-prune the tree to the desired shape.
- The blossom of these species is very delicate and when planted in an exposed position can be very short-lived. If the tree is planted in a sheltered spot, you will prolong the flowering time.
Pests and Disease
Prunus and Malus species can both be susceptible to various pests and diseases, some merely damage the plants appearance, but others can be a little more sever and need to be treated! Some common ones to look out for and protect against are
Because these species produce fruit the possums are especially attracted to them. Creating a physical barrier is usually the best form of defense.
These pests multiply quickly and are best treated with a spray such as eco-oil, ensure there is thorough coverage including the stems and underside of the leaves. Another great option is to release a population of lady-bugs on the infestation as they love to eat aphids!
Fungal infections: Sadly there are many fungal infections that an can affect Malus and Prunus species. Depending on the infection different treatments can be used.
How to plant
Prunus and Malus can usually be planted any time of year provided the soil is not frosty. Mid-spring is the most ideal time as the weather is mild and there is plenty of sunshine and rain so the plant can really take off and have the best chance of flourishing.
Ensure you choose a sunny and sheltered position with loamy nutrient-rich soil. Compost can be very beneficial if the soil is poor quality.
Prepare the hole by digging it twice the size of the pot the plant is in and watering it well before planting. Remove the plant from the pot and gently loosen the soil to free the roots. Once positioned, fill the hole with three quarters of remaining soil mixed with one quarter compost and ensure there are no gaps or air pockets. Water well again and you can even add a layer of mulch to help the soil retain water. Ensure the plant receives plenty of water while the roots are establishing particularly on hot sunny days.