Sayonara, cherry plum tree

14 years ago our former neighbor, with our permission, planted a purple cherry plum tree (Prunus cerasifera ‘Krauter Vesuvius’) on the boundary between our two houses. We were assured that this was a non-fruiting variety, and with pink flowers in early spring and deep red leaves from March until November it is a nice ornamental tree.




…within five years, the first fruit began to appear on what initially was a fruitless tree. The amount of fruit was negligible to modest initially, and our neighbor occasionally made pies from it. (Contrary to what some online sources claim, the fruit is not poisonous.)

However, as our tree matured, the crop became larger and larger. This year there was so much fruit, smaller branches were bending under the weight. Since we weren’t interested in picking the fruit (it doesn’t taste that great), it just fell—right onto the roof, the car, the driveway, the succulent bed. The mess was indescribable: fruit dried onto the car; fruit stuck to the bottom of our shoes, staining the floor in the house; fruit discoloring the concrete driveway.





I finally had enough.

After talking to our neighbor, I called a tree service, and yesterday the tree was removed. Within 20 minutes, it was gone. After another 20 minutes of clean-up, our driveway—and the succulent bed—looked better than they had in a long time. Pressure-washing should remove most of the remaining mess from the driveway.





This once was a beautiful Echeveria ‘Azure Blue’ but it rotted after it got smothered by the relentless leaf drop.

Now it’s just a matter of having the stump ground out. Then the fun can begin: selecting and planting a new tree. Our current #1 choice is a blue jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia). I blogged about this tree earlier in the spring. But I’m not 100% sold because jacarandas have a reputation for being messy…

I’ll let you know what we decide to plant just as soon as we make our final decision. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment below.


  1. Good move! I'm in general against tree removal, sometimes it's the only valid option.

    It's too hard to pick a tree, even for somebody's garden you may never see in person. When you get the choices down to 4 or so, let us know and we'll help you pick. :)

    1. I didn't want to lose the tree either but the explosion in fruit production made keeping it impossible.

      Short list for a replacement:

      - Blue jacaranda
      - 'Desert Museum' palo verde

  2. A good spot for that palo verde tree you were thinking about- light shade, but enough sun for the succulents planted there. Sue

    1. Sue, I'd envisioned planting the palo verde where the weaver's bamboo is but you're right, this would be a good spot, too. Now I just need to find a source for Parkinsonia x 'Desert Museum'. I want to plant a tree that's at least 8 ft tall to get a head start.

  3. You do NOT want a jacaranda -- you will have just as much mess as you have with the cherry plum tree. As beautiful as they are - and I love them! - the blossoms are sticky and smelly and will stick to your shoes and car and you'll have just as much of a problem as you do right now. Jacarandas are a tree you want your neighbors to have so you can enjoy it, but not have to clean up after it! It took me about 3 years to get used to the idea that a beautiful jacaranda in my front yard was not in my future, but luckily, there are some around the corner.

    1. Laurie, I really appreciate you sharing your first-hand experience. No, I don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire, so sayonara jacaranda :-(.

  4. Check with Denise at AGO on the Jacaranda issue Gerhard..they are rear of the property trees in my opinion--away from sidewalks and buildings.

    Those flowering plums have sure plunged in desirability.Chronic reversion to fruiting not to mention the scale that seems to be endemic around here. You want that color, plant a Cotinus !

    1. Jacaranda mimosifolia is out (it's borderline hardy anyway). Right now I'm leaning towards a 'Desert Museum' palo verde. They grow great here and are perfect for our arid climate but for some reason they haven't been "discovered" yet, hence none of our local nurseries carry them.

  5. And to think my brother wants to plant one of those! I'll send him over to your post as a deterrent.

    As for what tree to plant I was going to say the same thing as ks, ask Denise about the jacaranda! My vote is wholeheartedly for the 'Desert Museum' Palo it!

  6. Yahoo! Wow, what a mess indeed. Thank goodness your neighbors were so agreeable!


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