Cherries come in three distinct forms with many varieties in each category. The sweet cherry sold in markets is planted commercially in the coastal valleys of California and in the Northwest, espe cially Oregon. There are also extensive commercial plantings near the Great Lakes.

All cherries require considerable winter chilling, which rules out planting in the mildest coastal and Gulf climates, but they are also damaged by early intense cold in fall and by heavy rainfall during ripening. Sweet cherries are especially tricky for the home gardener, but try them where summer heat and winter cold are not too intense.

Sour, or pie, cherries are more widely adaptable and are good for cooking and canning. These are the most reliable for home gardeners, and there are

Trees With Berries
'Black Tartarian'

many varieties developed for special conditions. The dwarf 'Meteor' and 'Northstar' pie cherries were developed for

Minnesota winters. These and 'Early Richmond' and 'Montmorency' can all withstand both cold and poor spring weather better than sweet cherries.

Sour cherries are all self-fertile and there are two types: the amarelle, with clear juice and yellow flesh; and the morello, with red juice and flesh. In the coldest northern climates, the amarelle is the commercial cherry.

D-uke cherries are hybrids with the shape and color of sweet cherries and the hardiness, flavor, and tartness of sour cherries.

Standard sour cherries and sweet cherries on dwarfing roots both reach 15 to 20 feet. A standard sweet cherry with out a dwarfing rootstock is one of the largest fruit trees and can equal a small oak in size if the climate permits. Such cherries can serve as major shade trees.

See page 47 for pruning and training information.

All sweet cherries, with the exception of 'Stella', need a pollinator. 'Windsor', 'Van', and 'Black Tartarian' are good pollinators and bear well, but always plant at least two varieties or use a graft on a single tree. Sour cherries are self-fertile.

Dwarf pie cherries have lovely flowers and make fine hedges and screens. They produce good crops and larger cherries can be grafted onto them for a choice of fruit and good pollination.

Birds are the major pests, but cherries also need protection from fruit flies, pear slugs (actually an insect larva), and bacterial leaf spot.

For any cherry, check the recommended climate. If you try a cherry outside its growing zone, offer protection in fall and winter.

Early Season Varieties

  • Black Tartarian' Medium-sized, this sweet black cherry is fairly firm when picked but softens quickly. It is widely planted because it is one of the earliest cherries and an excellent pollinator. The trees are erect and vigorous. Use any sweet cherry as a pollinator. Good for all zones. Widely available. Origin: California.
  • May Duke' This duke cherry produces medium-sized, dark red fruit of excellent flavor for «Hiking or preserves. In cold climates use an early sweet cherry for pollination. In mild climates it is self-fertile. Good for the West. Origin: France.
  • Northstar' This is a genetic dwarf sour morello, excellent for the home garden. It has red fruit and flesh and resists cracking. The tree is small, attractive, vigorous, and hardy and resists brown rot, The fruit ripens early but. will hang on the tree for up to two weeks. Good for all zones. Widely available. Origin: Minnesota.
Florence Sweet Cherry Tree

'Royal Ann'

Florence Sweet Cherry Tree

'Sam' This medium to large, black-fruited sweet cherry is firm, juicy, and of good quality. The fruit resists cracking, and the tree is very vigorous, bearing heavy crops. Use 'Bing', 'Lambert', or 'Van' as a pollinator. Good for the North and West. Widely available. Origin: British Columbia.

Midseason Varieties

  • Bing' This variety is the standard for black sweet cherries. The fruit is deep mahogany red, firm, and very juicy. It is subject to cracking and doubling. The tree is spreading and produces heavy crops but suffers from bacterial leaf spot attack in humid climates. It is not easy to grow, although it is quite popular. Use 'Sam', 'Van', or 'Black Tartarian' as a pollinator (not 'Royal Ann' or 'Lambert'). Good for the West. Widely available. Origin: Oregon. 'Chinook' Like 'Bing' this variety has large, heart-shaped, sweet fruit with mahogany skin and deep red flesh. The tree is spreading, vigorous, and a good producer. It is slightly hardier than 'Bing'. Use 'Bing', 'Sam', or 'Van' as a pollinator. Good for the West. Origin: Washington. 'Coram' This sweet variety is the recommended pollinator for 'Royal Ann' in the Pacific Northwest. The fruit is yellow with a blush and thick, sweet, firm flesh. It is moderately resistant to cracking and is a good canning cherry. The tree is fairly vigorous. Use 'Royal Ann', 'Sam', or 'Van' as a pollinator. Good for the West. Locally available in the Pacific Northwest. Origin: Oregon. 'Emperor Francis' This large, yellow, blushed cherry resembles 'Royal Ann' but is redder and more resistant to cracking. The sweet flesh is very firm. The tree is very productive and hardier than 'Royal Ann'. Use 'Rainier' or 'Hedelfingen' as a pollinator (not 'Windsor' or 'Royal Ann'). Good for the North. Origin: unknown—European. 'Garden Bing' This genetic dwarf plant remains only a few feet high in a container but grows to perhaps 8 feet in the ground. It is self-pollinat ing and bears sweet, dark-red fruit like 'Bing'. Good for the West. Origin: California. 'Kansas Sweet' ('Hansen Sweet') This is not really a sweet cherry but a fairly sweet form of the pie cherry group. The fruit is red and has firm flesh that is palatable fresh as well as in pies. The tree and blossoms are hardy in Kansas. It is self-fertile. Good for the North. Origin: Kansas. 'Meteor' This amarelle sour cherry is a genetic dwarf that reaches only about 10 feet tall. The fruit is bright red and large for a pie cherry, with clear yellow flesh. The tree is especially hardy but also does well in milder climates and is an ideal home garden tree for all cherry climates. Good for all zones. Widely available. Origin: Minnesota. 'Montmorency' This amarelle is the standard sour cherry for commercial and home planting. The large, brilliant red fruit has firm yellow flesh and is strongly crack resistant. The tree is medium to large, vigorous, and spreading. Various strains have slightly
  • Royal Ann'

different ripening times and fruit characteristics. Good for all zones. Widely available. Origin: France. 'Rainier' In shape this sweet cherry resembles 'Bing', but it is a very attractive blushed yellow like 'Royal Ann' with Arm, juicy flesh. The tree is vigorous, productive, and spreading to upright spreading. It is particularly hardy. Use 'Bing', 'Sam', or 'Van' as a pollinator. Good for the South and West. Origin: Washington.

This very old French sweet variety is the standard for blushed yellow cherries. It is the major cherry used in commercial candies and maraschino cherries. The firm, juicy fruit is excellent fresh and good for canning. The tree is very large, extremely productive, and upright, spreading widely with age. The tree is moderately hardy. Use 'Corum', 'Windsor', or 'Hedelfingen' as a pollinator (not 'Bing' or 'Lambert'). Good for all zones. Widely available. Origin: France.

Hedelfingen Cherry Tree


Hedelfingen Cherry Tree


Lambert Schmidt



  • Lambert'
  • Schmidt' 'Bing' is being replaced by 'Schmidt' as a major commercial black cherry in the East. The fruit is large and mahogany colored with thick skin. The wine-red flesh is sweet but somewhat astringent. The large vigorous tree is upright and spreading. It is hardy, but the fruit buds are fairly tender. Use 'Bing', 'Lambert', or 'Royal Ann' as a pollinator. Good for the North and South. Widely available. Origin: Germany. 'Stella' This is the first true sweet cherry that is self-fertile (requiring no pollinator). The fruit is large, dark in color, and moderately firm. The tree is vigorous and fairly hardy and bears early. It can be used as a pollinator for any other sweet cherry. Good for the South and West, Origin: British Columbia, Canada. 'Utah Giant' This new sweet variety produces large, dark red fruit that has been compared to the quality of 'Bing' and 'Lambert'. The fresh fruit is excellent, and in canning it retains its color, firmness, and flavor. Good for the West, Origin: Utah. 'Van' Large and dark, this sweet cherry has some resistance to cracking. The tree is very hardy and especially good in borderline areas, since it has a strong tendency to overset and therefore may produce a crop when other cherries fail. It, bears from one to three years earlier than 'Bing'. Use 'Bing', 'Lambert', or 'Royal Ann' as a pollinator. Good for all zones. Widely available. Origin: British Columbia, Canada.

Late Varieties

'Angela' This large, dark cherry is comparable to 'Lambert' but is hardier and late flowering, so its blossoms are not likely to be frost damaged. The sweet fruits are more resistant to cracking than those of 'Lambert'; the tree is easier to manage, vigorous, and very productive. For pollinators, use 'Emperor Francis' or 'Lambert'. Origin: Utah. 'Black Republican' ('Black Oregon') This sweet cherry is firm and very dark with vliahtlv *a«triritf£>nt fleeh Thi>

tree is quite hardy but tends to overbear heavily and produce small fruit. Use any sweet cherry as a pollinator. Origin: Oregon.

'English Morello' This late-ripening morello sour cherry is medium sized, dark red, and crack resistant. The tart, firm flesh is good for cooking and canning. The tree has drooping branches and is small and hardy but only moderately vigorous and productive. Good for the North. Origin: Unknown. 'Hedeliingen' The sweet variety bears dark, medium-sized fruit with meaty, firm flesh. One strain resists cracking, but some trees sold under this name do not. The tree is winter hardy, has a spreading and drooping form, and bears heavily. Use any sweet cherry listed here as a pollinator. Good for the North and South. Origin: Germany. 'Lambert' This large, dark, sweet cherry is similar to 'Bing' but ripens later. The tree is more widely adapted than 'Bing' but bears erratically in many eastern areas and is more difficult to train and prune. The strongly upright growth produces weak crotches if left untrained. Use 'Van' or 'Rainier' as a pollinator (not 'Bing', 'Royal Ann', or 'Emperor Francis'). Good for all zones. Widely available. Origin: British Columbia. 'Late Duke' This large, light red duke cherry ripens in late July. Use it for cooking or preserves. In cold climates it requires a sour cherry pollinator. In mild climates it is self-fertile. Good for the West. Origin: France. 'Windsor' This is the standard late, dark, commercial sweet cherry in the East. The fruit is fairly small and not as firm as 'Bing' or 'Lambert'. Its buds are very hardy, and it can be counted on to bear a heavy crop. A fine choice for difficult borderline areas where others may fail, the tree is medium sized and vigorous with a good spread. For a pollinator, use any sweet cherry except 'Van' and 'Emperor Francis'. Good for the North and South. Widely available. Origin: Unknown.

Emperor Francis CherriesCherry Berries Trees Drawings
'Siberian Crab'

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  • winta
    How big is stella cherries fruit?
    8 years ago
  • John
    Are Cherries berries?
    8 years ago
  • terhi
    Are cherries related to tree nuts?
    8 years ago
  • Kaarina
    Are cherries related to almonds?
    7 years ago
  • Bertha
    Are peanuts and cherries related?
    3 years ago

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