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It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others'.
-- Zen Proverb

Cherries

Right off the top: The cherries you buy in the store, or on the road side, such as Bing and Rainier do not grow here. They are zone 5 or 6.

We have the following options:

Native Cherries Pin cherry and choke cherry produce fruit that is mostly pit. They are good jam fruit.

Romance Cherries These were developed by the University of Saskatchewan Fruit Program. They have released 6 types so far. All are dwarf cherries no more than about 8 feet tall. Can be trained as a shrub or as a small tree. Mix of sweet and sour -- think cherry lemonade.

Nanking Cherry Nanking is a shrub cherry, ranging up to 6-10 feet tall, if left unpruned. It will expand by suckering to a large clump. Leaves are dark green, and fuzzy on the back side. Bark -- dark redish colour. Some winter interest. Hardiness: Zone 2-3. Produces more fruit in full sun. Tolerates partial shade. Prefers middle weight soils --sandy loam to clay-loam.

Can be used as a hedge plant or foundation plant near the house.This cherry is often used as an ornamental shrub. For ornamental use, it's usually pruned to a mound about 4 feet across by the same height. It bears large quantities of peewee marble sized cherries. I've heard rumours that there are cultivars with larger fruit. So far I've not found any for sale. But we do stock the common ornamental nanking, with marble sized, tart but tasty fruit.

Evans Cherry If you asked about prairie cherries 20 years ago, this would be about the only answer. Evans cherry is a truly tough tree, hardy to zone 2.
Fruit is about 5/8" (2 cm) across and is bright red. Flesh is yellow. Tree gets to be about 15 feet tall. The cherries are quite tart, but get sweeter as they stay on the tree.

Evans will get about 15 feet high by 8 to 10 feet wide, and makes an attractive small tree.


All the cherries have a brief fling of flowers in the spring. Indeed they are one first shrubs in spring to bloom.

Cherries taste great. Not only to people, but to birds. And they will eat them all if you let them. Best prevention is to keep the tree pruned reasonably short, and net the tree when the cherries start to turn colour. So far the only local source I've found for bird netting is Lee Valley Tools Doesn't have to be netting. Lightweight row cover works too.

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Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548


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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.