Sweet Cherry Growing Tips, Pests and Diseases

Standard sweet cherries grow very large and require consistent pruning in order to ba managed properly. Cherries live about 30-35 years. For insect egg control, apply dormant oil spray every spring before the leaf buds open, ensuring that all areas of the trunk and branches are coated.

Harvesting Sweet Cherries

Wait to pick until the fruit is fully ripe. Gently pull on the stem and twist upward. Be extremely careful not to damage or rip off spurs, as these bear for 10 or more years.

Storage Requirements

Use immediately, if possible. If not possible, place in airtight container like a crisper and refrigerate. Firm flesh fresh cherries can be stored at 34°-40°F for 2-3 weeks.

Height - Dwarf: 6-12 ft. Semidwarf: 10-15 ft. Standard: 25-40 ft.

Spacing - Dwarf: 8-10 ft. Semidwarf: 15-18 ft. Standard: 2-30 ft.

Root Depth - 50% beyond drip line

pH - 6.0-6.5

Bearing Age - 2-7 years

Pollination - All sweet cherries, except Stella, must be cross-pollinated, although not all are compatible because of different bloom times. Further pollination difficulties arise because early spring flowers are receptive for only about 1 week. Also, a late frost or wet spring can interfere with bee activity.

Chilling Requirements - 800-1200 hours at below 45°F

Site - Full sun. Needs light and well-drained soil for successful survival.

Water - Heavy and even supply. Cherries are especially sensitive to water stress.

Fertilizer - Heavy feeder. Low N until 2 years old. Appropriate new growth is 22-36 in. when young and 8-12 bearing.

Training - Free-standing tree: central leader. Wire-trained: fan-trained against a south-facing wall, where the sun is not blistering hot, or 12-15 ft. away from a north wall. Only dwarf sweet cherries are suitable for training.

Pruning - The lowest branch should be about 2 ft. off the ground and limbs about 8 ft. apart. Sweet cherries bear on spurs as well as on 1-year-old wood. Sweet cherry spurs produce for 10-12 years.

Sweet Cherry Pests & Diseases

Apple maggot, blackberry fruit fly, birds, cherry fruit fly, cherry fruit sawfly, codling moth, peach leaf curl, peach tree borer, plum curculio.

Bacterial gummosis, black know, black rot, brown rot, cherry elaf spot, crown rot, peach leaf curl, mildew, verticillium wilt.

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