Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi


Leave a comment

Q: What is the white blooming tree I see just outside the wooded areas here? I know it is not a dogwood as the flowers are too small

Flatwoods plum

Flatwoods plum

A:  I believe you may be talking about the native flatwoods plum, Prunus umbellate. It is a round-topped, deciduous tree, reaching 20 feet in height with a 15-foot spread, which is most often planted for its spectacular display of blooms. Flatwoods plum trees are small trees produce a white, billowy, almost cloud-like appearance when they are clothed in the profuse, small, white flower clusters. These white, half-inch blooms are followed by one-inch-long, edible, purple fruits which vary in flavor from very tart to sweet. These small plums are an important and attractive food source to various forms of wildlife – mostly birds but yes even the occasional, annoying squirrel. They are perfect for cold hardiness zones 8-9 which includes most of Nassau County. Flatwoods plums grow well in full sun to part shade; they tolerate most any type of soil as long as it is well drained.  This would be a perfect patio tree just be sure it is out of the area where it would receive the same irrigation as lawns, which would be too much water.  Flatwoods plums cannot tolerate salt, even from ocean breezes so keep it away from the direct coastline.  It has no major diseases and only occasionally my house tent caterpillars which can easily be hand removed.  Flatwoods plums are easy care trees which also require very little pruning to be a beautiful upright tree.  It is definitely an underutilized small tree.  We have one in the main demonstration garden (James S. Page Governmental Complex) if you want to see it now (March) in full bloom.  The attached publication is from the University of Florida: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st521

Advertisements