Mayday: (Prunus padus commutata)
A profuse and fragrant bloomer this tree has enough issues to make it a less desirable variety for the Calgary area. It is however quite common and sometimes offered with builder tree packages for new homes so here’s what to expect.
Size and Characteristics: Maydays mature at approx. 6m (20’) wide by 6m (20’) tall. Maydays are among the first trees to leaf out and put on a show of white fragrant blooms in May. On occasion this display will be a touch too early and late snow storm will spoil the show. Bark is similar to the Schubert, smooth grey, and the leaves are green with a fall color some years ranges into the orange tones. Fruit is a small black cherry that the birds will usually deal with before they fall and stain what’s beneath.
Pests and Diseases: Maydays aren’t fully hardy in Calgary (depending on parentage) although they thrive where they have protection (older neighbourhoods). They are more susceptible to aphid infestations that don’t really harm the tree but make it unpleasant underneath from the sticky aphid ‘honeydew’ or when the aphids go into flying mode in late summer. Black knot can also be an issue. If you already have a healthy Mayday in your yard there is certainly no reason to remove it but it is not high on our list of recommended trees.
© Clayton Ditzler