Purple-leaf Sand Cherry (prunus X Cistena) - Knowledgebase Question

Hermosa Beach, CA
Question by ana4
February 11, 2001
I want to plant a Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry tree on my front lawn, but am concerned about the root structure. Does it pose potential damage to the sidewalk or base of the house? It's a very small patch of lawn (probably 10 feet x 10 feet).


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Answer from NGA
February 11, 2001

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Prunus cistena has a shrubby growth pattern and will be difficult to train into a tree. Prunus besseyi is the western sand cherry, and Prunus pumila is the dwarf sand cherry. If you have a choice, go for the dwarf sand cherry as its ultimate height is only about 8'. P. besseyi can grow to 25' in height. Generally, you can expect tree roots to extend one and one-half times as far as the canopy of the tree. In a mature sand cherry, that means the roots will extend 25'-40' out from the trunk. The dwarf version of the sand cherry will have roots extending only 8'-12' from the trunk.

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