Wild cherry is also known as the Gean or Mazzard tree. It is an attractive native species with a high quality timber, short rotation time and resistance to squirrel damage. As it is a light demanding, it frequently can be found occurring as single trees or small groups in lowland woodlands, particularly on the woodland edges. Cherry is often reproduced vegetatively by suckering so clumps of cherry frequently consist of identical trees or a low number of genetically distinct individuals. It is one of the first trees to flower in the spring and the fruits are eaten by many small mammals and birds. Its attractive nature and its ability to grow well in many soil types and pH ranges has made in cherry a common species in farm woodlands. Cherry timber is used for cabinet making, furniture, panelling and decorative joinery. The demand for wild cherry timber is high, though top quality timber can be hard to find and very expensive. As a result the majority of the cherry used in the UK is actually imported Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) from North America.

Cherry trunk

Currently, the majority of wild cherry seedlings planted in the UK are of continental origin and are of unknown quality and uncertain adaptability. Many have characteristics similar to sweet cherry which have been bred to produce large fruited, heavily cropping trees which have a wide, open and strong branching habit for ease of picking. Whereas, trees selected and bred for timber production will have quite different characteristics, including light branching, vigorous and strong apical growth. Timber trees also tend to be much less susceptible to bacterial canker, therefore ensuring that trees are of a timber type is essential for forestry purposes.