I know what you are doing right now. You are scratching your head going I have never heard of such a tree but if you live in Florida, you probably have by a different name. In this region, it is referred to as the Florida cherry or Surinam cherry because it has naturalized itself in this area. The reason this has happened is two-fold. First, it’s USDA Plant Hardiness Zones include 9b to 11. They were planted in this area of the United States as a quick growing hedge or living screen and quickly made their home in this locale.
Beyond being a fast growing tree with a deep taproot, it is also beautiful. When the leaves are young, they are a vibrant red with a wonderful aroma. As these leaves age, they turn green. Small, white blooms appear along with a sweet smell. Once pollinated, the blooms produce red berries, which are edible.
While this tree does reach a mature height of 25 feet, what makes it a wonderful landscaping plant is the fact that it keeps a lot of its foliage farther down on the tree. This is a bit unusual for trees but this low foliage is what makes it a suitable as a hedge or living screen. The other reason is the fact that this tree does not mind being pruned into a shorter version of itself.
When it comes to the growing requirements of the Brazilian Cherry tree, make sure the soil is well-draining and the location is in full sun. Also, you will need to plan for “room” when it comes to this plant. Since this tree has a “spreading” habit, if you are going to simply add this fruit tree to your orchard plan on having at least 18 feet between plants. On the other hand, if you are looking to create a hedge, space out the trees so that there is two to five feet space between trees.
Since this tree can grow four feet a season, it is important to prune if you are using this as a hedge plant. In general, a hedge is defined as being 5 to 10 feet in height but it can really be any height that you need. While pruning can be done anytime, it is normally conducted in the spring after the flowers are spent but before the fruit has formed and again in the fall.
If you want the fruit, you will need to wait until it has been picked but as with any fruit, birds love these little cherries. This in itself can cause a problem if you planted this tree near your front door, patio and/or near your vehicles. If this is the case, it would be a good idea to prune in the spring to remove the fruit before it causes damage.
The pruning process is simple and only requires you to cut the plant to the desired height. After that, just continue to prune to control the height and the shape you want.