February is National Cherry Month and in celebration we’d like to share some information about growing cherries in our beautiful Willamette Valley.
Fun facts and tips for growing the best cherries, year after year:
- A cherry is a drupe fruit. The stem of the cherry is called a pedicel and is left intact for fresh-eating.
- Cherries boost your immune system!
- Sweet cherries are typically picked by hand and sour cherry trees can be shaken to get the ripe drupes to drop.
- Plant trees in full sun (6 hours or more) and provide good air circulation; plant away from buildings and 15-20 feet from other trees.
- Cherry trees produce fruit better when cross-pollinated which requires bees to do the work. Mason bees are the primary pollinator and their efforts directly effect fruit production – even if the cultivar is self-pollinating, planting two different cultivars will lead to greater yields.
- Adaptable to most soil types, though well-draining soil is a must!
Popular varieties available now as bare root trees:
‘Bing’ – Top quality black cherries – large, juicy & sweet. Excellent for fresh-eating and canning.
‘Black Gold’ – Beautiful and sweet, this variety produces a heavy crop of deep red cherries that are excellent eaten fresh. Late-blooming avoids spring frosts, and has great hardiness. Ripens in mid- June.
‘Glacier’ – Large, dark red sweet cherries with superior flavor – best for fresh-eating. Crack resistant.
‘Lapins’ – Self-fertile, ripens in mid-to-late July. Dark red cherries are crack-resistant, sweet, and juicy. Great pollinator.
‘Rainier’ – An early cherry that ripens in late June. Blushed yellow cherries are large and firm with an exceptional flavor. Vigorous and productive.
‘Royal Ann’ – A blushed yellow, large, sweet cherry – great for fresh-eating, canning or baking. Resembles ‘Rainier’ in flavor.
‘Stella’ – Self-fertile cherry that ripens in late July. Large almost black cherries are firm and very sweet. Great pollinator.
‘Surefire’ – Self-fertile cherry that ripens in mid-July. Later bloomer and heavier production than many other sour cherries. Sweet enough to eat fresh too!
‘Sweetheart’ – Sweet cherry that satisfies the soul with its unique taste and large, bright red fruits.