Atlanta Fruitman’s Blog

The Souring of sweet cherries
May 25, 2010, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have beautiful mature “Stella” sweet cherry tree next to the house in my front yard. This year started out as a great year for it. It burst out with a plethora of small white flowers that made the bees work overtime with their nectar collection. The tree was more white than green as the leaves were still young small. Surprisingly the honeybees were not doing most of the work as I expected. In fact,my friends were no were to be found most of this season. These pollinators were some other bees that I could identify as well as the mammoth carpenter bees. As the blooms faded, petals began to blow across my yard, like sprinkles of snow or like some scene out of Japanese romantic film – laying a thin carpet of white. The fruits grew fast and I could see that this would be the biggest crop of cherries that I have had yet. This is surprising though the tree is self fertile, I thought I would still always get a small crop without a pollinator. I should say that this tree does bloom almost the same time as my bush cherries. I imagine they could pollinate the tree cherries but I don’t know that for sure. A few cherries were dropping, for some odd reason I could not understand. I dismissed it as its own way of thinning. There were so many, the few that dropped was not a worry to me. I would have a bushel or more to contend with. I needed to be ready.

As I got busier at work with the semester approaching as end. I didn’t do my daily walk in the yard. I simply forgot about a lot of stuff and it showed. The grass grew tall weeds were everywhere. The worst of all the sweet cherry was losing its fruits. Both birds and Brown Rot were ravaging the pretty red globes that were weighing the tree limbs down. My neglects showed and my heart sank. I tried to spray some sulfur to stop the fungus from spreading. The birds were annoying with their picking one side of the fruit an leaving rest to rot, but the main worry was the Brown rot. It was everywhere. I have always had a little problem with this before, but it was never this bad, my attempted at spraying were too little to late. The damage was everywhere and there were hardly a perfect fruit to be found.

About this time I was planning to have pictures of me in the yard with this overloaded tree – that by the way is not supposed to produce here – like all those pictures of state fair champions with their head big and chest out posing by their champion sized pumpkin or steer. The pride that I had before was shot.

The really curious thing about it is that this cherry ripen earlier that expected. Usually my bush cherries that are now in full ripeness are usually the first to come in. This is unusually best because it distracts the birds while the Stella cherry is ripening. There is always enough bush cherries for me and bird, so I don’t mind them feeding on them. Plus the bush cherries are small enough to take the whole fruit so they don’t leave mess

Lastly. I think the bush cherries actually taste better. Now this may be sour grapes – or cherries in this case, (…. Sorry I could help it) but I tend to gravitate to the bush cherries. I have notices in the fridge for a bit they taste better, but off the tree they seem to be bit bland. Maybe this is just me. Others seem to like the tree cherry better than the bush cherries.

Plus, the bush cherries rarely have any problems with fungus – only when we get days of rain when it is ripe.

Dare I say I like Nanking cherries better than Stella??

So what’s the next step…what did I learn form this? No I wont cut down the tree. The tree is gorgeous …before during and after fruiting. I actually want to try more cherries if I have the space. There are a few more bush cherries out there to look at, also I could graft a sour cherry like Montrancy or Northstar on to Stella.

Most of all, I will need to bit the bullet and get out there early with the sprayer and get some sulfur up in that tree. I hope that will work for next year.

1 Comment so far
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Where di you get your nanking bush and stella cherry?

Comment by Toney Senator

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