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Need advice on dwarf cherry trees

Posted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:55 pm
by jen ann
Hi all

I'm looking to plant a dwarf cherry tree but don't have a lot of space. Any recommendations on type? I found gisela 5 seems to be the way to go but am stuck from there. We only have room for one so it'd need to be self-fertile, and preference is sweet over sour. Also, the shorter the better.

Stella? English morello? Other options? I'm a bit lost.

Also, any advice on a trustworthy website we could find a mature one, at least a couple years old, that could be shipped out? Our local nursery just ran out of stock and won't have more in until the spring, but I'd love to have it before the winter comes.

Re: Need advice on dwarf cherry trees

Posted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:14 pm
by JONA
Hi jen ann.
Stella is a lovely cherry......morello is really a cooker or bottler.
Although Gisela is a good stock I'm afraid that at present Cherry stocks are not so dwarfing as apple stocks, so you must be prepared to have a go at pruning your tree as it grows to contain it at the size that you want.
Sorry I can't help on nurseries from this side of the pond....but I would suggest that if you are going to plant your tree in open soil as apposed to container growing...then it would be a waste of money to buy anything over three years old.
Most growers would plant at best a maiden or two year old tree. This then allows you to train it in the style that you want right from the start.

Re: Need advice on dwarf cherry trees

Posted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:43 pm
by applestar
Did you want to grow sweet cherries or pie cherries? I have space limitations too.

My 2 sweet cherries are pruned in informal fan espalier (VERY informal :oops: ) that are currently taking up 10ftx2ft fence row and are approx 7 ft tall (topping them at 6 ft this winter as it was too troublesome to harvest the upper branches)
Image

I thought I had photos with fruits on the trees but can't find any ATM. I did post pics of harvested fruits one day in this thread.
Subject: What are you harvesting -Spring 2014
applestar wrote:Life can be a bowl of cherries ....
I keep saying it but haven't bought them yet, but I have been planning to get 2 Northstar pie cherries which is a cultivar that is naturally dwarf at about 6 feet. Now maybe changing that to 1 Northstar and one Stark's newer pie cherry cultivar. Maybe this fall's sale or next spring.

Re: Need advice on dwarf cherry trees

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 7:59 pm
by jen ann
We definitely want sweet cherries.. I'm thinking the compact stella might be the way to go. What are yours applestar?

We will have it in a pot, I'm still looking for a trustworthy seller online, but I think will also have to prune it regardless because of the small space. Any advice on learning best practices for pruning? This is all new to me!

Re: Need advice on dwarf cherry trees

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:14 pm
by JONA
The main rule to remember when pruning any of the stone fruits Jen...is they must have a good sap running when you do it. So either early spring or late summer while the tree is still growing strongly. This is so that the tree will actually 'bleed' when cut. This helps to keep the spores of Silver Leaf and Bacterial Canker out. In any case always paint after cutting with a good fungicide paint. Silver Leaf can kill...Bacterial Canker will kill.

Re: Need advice on dwarf cherry trees

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:39 pm
by applestar
I keep forgetting that. I wonder if there is still time to top those pesky upward reaching leaders? Leaves are still green but generally 70s/50s fall weather now. Not expecting frost for 3-4 wks.

My sweet cherries are yellow Emperor Francis and Whitegold (Emperor Francis x Stella) because these were first cherry trees I bought and I didn't want to deal with birds stealing the red fruits.

Re: Need advice on dwarf cherry trees

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:26 am
by JONA
applestar wrote:I keep forgetting that. I wonder if there is still time to top those pesky upward reaching leaders? Leaves are still green but generally 70s/50s fall weather now. Not expecting frost for 3-4 wks.

My sweet cherries are yellow Emperor Francis and Whitegold (Emperor Francis x Stella) because these were first cherry trees I bought and I didn't want to deal with birds stealing the red fruits.
If in doubt..why not leave them until the spring Star.
Over this side of the pond it's virtually impossible to grow cherries unless you net them. The blasted birds, squirrels and small boys get to them first every time.

Re: Need advice on dwarf cherry trees

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:01 pm
by jen ann
awesome, thanks! i will look into finding a good fungicide paint. any advice on brands you think work best?

Also, as far as the winter months go, they're predicting a pretty harsh one for us here in Chicago. Any methods on how to overwinter successfully? We do have a garage we might be able to move it into, but I'd rather keep it outside if possible as garage space is at a premium being that we're in a condo building. I've read about just using leaves, do you think that's enough protection from multiple fronts and (likely) lots of snow? Maybe sawdust would work better?

Re: Need advice on dwarf cherry trees

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:45 pm
by JONA
The main protection that it will need Jan is for its roots. As it in a pot they are may well freeze solid and suffer damage if they are not protected in some way. If it's outside bury the whole pot and cover the soil with a layer of straw or heavy mulch.
If you move it into the garage then wrap the pot in some sacking or blanket to keep the roots safe. Snow will not hurt it as it will in fact insolate it from sever frost.