realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Category Archives: Cherry varieties

Growing cherries for you to eat (not the birds!)

Compact Stella

Compact Stella

There is nothing nicer than growing cherries in your garden. Because of birds, 20 years ago growing your own cherries was a dodgy proposition. Then several new dwarfing rootstocks and some new self-fertile varieties came along. It became easier to grow your own cherries, particularly if you have a wall or a fence along which you can train your cherry tree.

Nowadays it is really possible to grow your own cherries on relatively small trees, which makes good netting as easy as winks. Being able to cover your tree as protection against spring frosts as well as birds gives an extra guarantee to your crop of cherries. Growing cherries in the garden is now a practical proposition.

Which type of rootstock to use depends on your soil and the type of cherry you would like to grow, whether a sweet cherry or a sour cherry. If you contact me and let me know which cherry you would prefer, a cooking or an eating cherry, I can advise you which cherry we can supply to suit your fence or your wall.

However, make sure that you cover up your cherry tree with a double layer of garden fleece, BEFORE THE FIRST BLOSSOM OPENS! This is essential to avoid early spring frosts making your blossom sterile and making your crop prospects a disappointment. Leave some small gaps on the side for the bees to move in and out, as many varieties do better when pollination is performed with the help of bumble bees.

Finally greenfly, also known as aphids, can do real damage right at the start of the season. Go to your garden centre and select an effective product, organic or otherwise, to stop greenfly ruining your crop prospects.

Morello cherry

Morello cherry, photo courtesy of Rod Waddington/flickr.com

Here are our top ten tips on growing cherries in the garden and making sure that you, and not the birds, can enjoy them:

1) To make netting a success. it is far simpler to train your cherry tree along a wall or a fence, rather than a free-standing tree.

2) Cover your cherry tree with green shade netting from early April, before blossoming starts and leave it in position until you have picked your crop in June/July.

3) Don’t let aphids ruin your young shoots. Cut out any curled up shoots and put them in the non recycling bin. Encourage ladybirds, lacewings and earwigs, which are effective predators of the aphids. As a last resort, spray with an approved anti-aphids mixture, obtainable from your garden centre.

4) To stop the fruit from splitting, water the trees weekly with 5 to 10 litres of water each week from May until you have harvested your crop.

5) To avoid fungal diseases always prune your cherry trees as soon as you have picked your crop. Never prune during the winter months!

6) Depending on the rootstock used, give your trees sufficient space. Not too close.

7) Only plant self-fertile varieties. We will advise you. Place your order early.

8) Pick the crop when ready to eat. Cherries do not ripen off the trees.

9) Handle the fruit gently; pick the fruit with the stalk and the cherries will keep for 10 days in good condition at the bottom of the fridge, if you don’t want to eat them all in one go.

10) If you go on holiday ask your best friend to pick the cherries for you. Do not let them rot on the tree. Feed your tree with organic manure each year.

Sylvia

Sylvia is a recent cherry, developed in British Columbia, Canada, based on the varieties Sam and Van, and it was introduced in 1988. It crops mid-season, and in flavour it is similar to Stella. It is a partially self-fertile variety, and so it can produce fruit even when alone in the garden, though it will benefit from a pollination partner. The fruit is dark red in colour, sweet and juicy, delicious fresh, or made into jam or a pie.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Compact Stella

Compact Stella

Compact Stella

A self-fertile tree (no pollinator required) that produces a fine array of blossom, and superb dark crimson fruit, firm and juicy, which can be picked in July and August. The tree will begin cropping one or two years after planting.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Van

Van

Van

This is a hardy cherry variety that needs a pollinator (Lapins, Merton Glory, Morello, Stella, Summersun). It yields large crops of maroon-colour, sweet cherries, cropping from mid June. It is a very attractive tree, with its glossy leaves, fine white blossom, and lovely fruit. In autumn, the leaves turn bright yellow.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Sunburst

Sunburst

Sunburst

A self-fertile variety (no pollinator required) developed in British Columbia, Canada, and introduced in 1983. The fruit is dark red, sweet, large and prolific, with soft flesh and mild flavour. It ripens in mid-July.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Summersun

Summersun

Summersun

Summersun is an English cherry, partially self-fertile, but it crops better when it has a pollinator (Lapins, Merton Glory, Morello, Stella). It is particularly good for the UK because it crops well even if weather is not very good in summer. This variety is suitable for the North in a sheltered position. It flowers in April and May, and the sweet and tasty fruit ripens to dark red in late June/early July. The tree is good as a bush shape, but also ideal for fan training against a south-facing wall.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Stella

Stella, photo courtesy of Sherij2007/flickr.com

Stella, photo courtesy of Sherij2007/flickr.com

This variety of Canadian origin was the first of the self-fertile cherries (no pollinator required), and it has been a favourite from its introduction in the 1970s for the excellent flavour of its cherries. It flowers and crops relatively late. It is a good pollinator for other cherry varieties.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Morello

Morello cherry, photo courtesy of Rod Waddington/flickr.com

Morello cherry, photo courtesy of Rod Waddington/flickr.com

A self-fertile (no pollinator required) cherry that crops well and regularly. A hardy tree that is also suitable for fan-training for growing against a wall. The fruit ripens from late July to early August, and it is dark red and sharp, ideal for preserves and cooking.It is the only cherry suitable for growing against a north-facing wall.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Merton Glory

Merton Glory, photo courtesy of oxfordpomona.blogspot.com

Merton Glory, photo courtesy of oxfordpomona.blogspot.com

A self-sterile (pollinator required) English cherry variety introduced in the 1930s. The fruit ripens in late June/early July, and it is sweet and of good flavour. Often described as a white cherry, the fruit is an attractive pinkish red over a warm pale yellow background.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Lapins

Lapins cherry, photo courtesy of thefoodproject/flickr.com

Lapins cherry, photo courtesy of thefoodproject/flickr.com

A self-fertile tree (no pollinator required) that is naturally very vigorous; its size is kept under control by the dwarf rootstock. It is easy to grow, and produces attractive pink-white flowers in mid spring, and heavy crops of large, tasty, dark red cherries. The variety originates from Canada, as a cross between Van and Stella, developed by Dr Charles Lapins. A good pollinator for other cherries.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order