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Weed of the Week- Black Cherry

Black Cherry is common across the southern half of the United States. Mature trees span from 50 to 90 feet tall with an oval silhouette shape, and low branches that normally droop to the ground. This native tree is commonly used for landscaping but can also be  found in pastures and along fence lines.

The leaves of Black Cherry trees are toxic to livestock following wind damage, frost, or drought that causes the leaves to wilt.  Once wilted, the leaves contain prussic acid, a hydrogen cyanide toxin that only forms when enzymes of the wilted leaves are combined. Research has shown that  consumption of 1.2 to 4.8 pounds of wilted leaves can be lethal to a 1,200 dairy cow (Dairy Herd, Lewandowski 2017).