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All Species

Mayday Tree / European Bird Cherry / Chokecherry

Prunus padus, Prunus virginiana

Why is it a problem?

  • Anchorage has banned the sale of these trees because it aggressively invades moose & salmon habitat
  • Planted as an ornamental, but escapes cultivation via lateral roots that sprout new trees 20 feet from source, and cherries are spread long distances by birds
  • Alters plant and insect composition along streams, threatening salmon habitat
  • Poisonous to moose when eaten, and may result in death

How do I manage this plant?

  • Remove trees to reduce cherries spread by birds
  • Cut branches left on the ground can resprout—use for firewood, smoking meat, or take to the landfill; use wood chips as mulch if no cherries
  • Cutting stems causes trees to resprout thickly, requiring many years of follow-up cutting or use of herbicides
  • Small stems and seedlings can be hand pulled
  • Minimal herbicide applied around a cut stump will kill roots
  • Monitor for several years and remove new sprouts
  • Cooperative Extension Service “Control of Invasive Chokecherry Trees” handout link here.

More info on species biology

Photo courtesy of VanDenBerkNurseries