Cherries are small soft round stone fruit which are red or black when ripe.
Cherries originated from the area around the Caucasus mountains in Eastern Europe. The Romans are believed to have discovered sweet cherries in about 70 BC. They were introduced to Britain in the first century AD. Although the fruit has been popular for desserts and culinary purpose, cherries were also used in the 15th and 16th centuries for their medicinal properties.
Cherries in your garden
The cherry is a popular backyard tree grown for fruit and shade. Cherry trees produce the first fresh fruit of the season, followed by the other kinds of tree fruit. Winter injury can occur when winter temperatures fall below –10°F (-24°C). Trunk bark splitting or sun scald injury to tree trunks are common if trees have a southwest exposure (Southwest Injury), hardy to Zone 5. Sweet cherries usually bloom in late April. At this time of year the crop may be damaged by late spring frost. Sour cherries are hardier than sweet cherries, with Montmorency being as hardy as apple trees. Hardy to Zone 4.
Sweet Cherries, Early :
Bing : Excellent fruit quality. Susceptible to rain splitting. Winter tender and spring frost tender. Yields are not high, with high cull rates. Not self-fertile.
Celeste :Matures 5-7 days before Van. Fruit is dark red, medium firmness with good size. Tree is semi-compact.
Christalina :Ripens 5 days before Van. An extremely attractive dark red cherry. Fruit size is moderate to large. Tolerant to rain splitting. Not self-fertile.
Sandra Rose :Self-fertile. Matures 3 days after Van. Large, dark red fruit, shiny and split resistant. Tree is productive. Fruit is moderately firm with good flavor. Split resistant.
Santina : Early black cherry maturing 8 days before Van. Fruit is firm with a bright lustre. Tree is self fertile.
Sonnett :Ripens 2 days after Van. Fruit skin is red and flesh is pale pink and soft. Fruit is very large and very sweet. The tree is a light cropper.
Samba :Tree is not self fertile. Fruit is dark red and matures 2 days after Van. Fruit is large, firm, and moderately sweet.
Soil and Fertilizer
Soils in the Southern Interior are chronically low in organic matter and nitrogen. Minor elements such as: magnesium, boron, and zinc may be low as well. If good weed control is practiced, no fertilizer should be required for the first two or three years. When the tree starts to crop apply one ounce (28 grams) of a complete fertilizer such as 12-16-12 (which also contains minor elements) per square yard (0.8 sq.m) in the fall. Nutrients can be applied as foliar sprays in early summer. Organic growers should use approved sources of organic nutrients. Mature cherry trees should have 12″-14″ of new growth (30-35 cm) every year.
Choosing & Storing
When you bring your cherries home, refrigerate them immediately. Cherries can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for several days. Avoid placing cherries in the sun or warm areas, they soften quickly. When selecting cherries, look for firm, plump, shiny cherries with green stems and avoid cherries that are soft or have brown spots. Keep cherries refrigerated until you are ready to eat them. Don’t wash cherries until you are ready to enjoy them. Rinse them well under running water and let them drain in a colander