CHERRY BACKGROUND

Cherries tend to be vigorous trees, but can be fan trained against a wall with careful pruning. It is not advisable to espalier or cordon them, or constrain their growth to too small a space, because they do not like regular close pruning, as this tends to cause sap bleeding and admit disease. They all have wonderful blossom in spring.

 
 
 
 
 

 

It must be borne in mind that, apart from some 'Duke' cherries, which are a cross between sour and sweet cherries, none of the dessert (sweet) varieties are fully self-fertile and a single cherry tree is unlikely to set fruit without another nearby. As with other fruit, pollinators have to flower at the same time. Also, some cherries are incompatible pollinators with others, quite apart from flowering time. Cherries fall into groups of mutually incompatible pollinators, but the collection of data is very incomplete. The situation is partly helped by a few cherries being universal pollinators, pollinating any other cherry that flowers at the same time. Otherwise, one has to select pollinators which are known to be in another incompatibility group, and which also flower at a similar time. It is confusing but we give a guide to suitable pollinators below. Avoid the same incompatability group and choose from the same or adjacent flowering time. Use a universal pollinator if needed.
Cherries are grafted onto Colt (semi-dwarf) rootstocks. These can still give quite large trees – up to 20ft – if unpruned.

 

 

 

Incompatibility Group

  Incompatability Group
Early flowering
Early Rivers
Noir de Guben
Prestwood Black
Early/Middle flowering
Bedford Prolific
Black Heart
Black Oliver
Lester
Merton Glory
Nutberry Black
Waterloo
Middle flowering
Alba Heart
Black Eagle
Cassia
Circassian
Dangler
Empress Eugenie
Goblin
Mum’s Tree
Prestwood White Heart


1
Universal Pollinator
Unknown

1
Unknown
Universal Pollinator
Unknown
Universal Pollinator
Universal Pollinator
2

Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown

Middle/late flowering
Archduke
Bradbourne Black
Doesn’t Split
Frogmore Early
May Duke
Ronald’s Heart
Smoky Dun
Strawberry Heart
Late flowering
Bigarreau Gaucher
Bigarreau Napoleon
Doesn’t Split
Morello
White Heart A

Unknown
Unknown
Unknown
2
Unknown. Partly self-fertile
1
Universal Pollinator
Universal Pollinator

Universal Pollinator
Unknown
Unknown
Unknown. self-fertile
Unknown