Hi folks -- I have a volunteer tree in my garden and I can't figure out what it is. It's about three feet tall at the moment and pretty fast growing -- it was about half that height last fall. I've left it in place to see what it is but it's not being helpful -- it hasn't flowered so I am reduced to looking at the leaf shape. I've tried the various tree identification guides online but can't decide if it's black cherry or yellowwood or some kind of elm.
I'm in northern Virginia, zone 7a.
I've attached a few pictures... Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I think that's certainly a cherry (Prunus sp.) of some sort. There are several species native in your area.
Without more info, I'd lean toward Black Cherry (Prunus serotina). Without flowers, you have to look for more minute details. Can you take a picture of the back of the leaves, and the petiole (where the leaf attaches to the branch)? Many members of Prunus have glands on the petiole, and that can help separate some of the look-alike species.
Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) will have alternately arranged compound foliage. Elms will have more obviously serrated simple foliage with oblique leaf bases.
Thanks ViburnumValley! Here are two more photos -- the underside of the leaf and the petioles, as requested. If you need more detail I can get a better camera for a zoomed-in view -- please let me know. I very much appreciate your assistance as I am not sure how to identify the tree on my own.
If it is a black cherry, are there any concerns with leaving it in place? Is black cherry the same as the "common" cherry trees we have in the DC/MD/VA area? I was initially puzzled as to how a cherry tree could pop up in our back yard as we are not in a cherry-heavy area. We have an elderly cherry tree in the front but as it is on its last legs I didn't think it was capable of seeding a new tree. But if it is a reasonably trouble-free species I am happy to encourage it.
betsy- I have no idea where the nearest cherry, wild or otherwise, is to my house (note MD) but I always have plenty of what look like cherry seedlings, They come up complete with pit attached if I pull them young. The birds bring them.