How to Grow Cherries
How to Grow Cherries
Cherries grown for their fruits must be considered in two groups — the sweet cherries, usually grown as standards and bearing their fruit mainly on spurs on the older wood, and the sour cherries, used for cooking purposes (and including the Morello cherry), which are often grown as fan-trained trees against walls and bear their fruits mainly on young wood made during the previous year. Both kinds thrive in fairly rich loamy soils, preferably well supplied with lime.
Plant from November to March, in an open sunny place for the sweet cherries, and in sun or shade for the Morello kinds. Unfortunately, there are no dwarfing rootstocks for sweet cherries and they make large trees which do not like being pruned. They are not really suitable foras they should be planted at least 25ft. apart. Another disadvantage is that they are self-sterile so that more than one variety is needed to obtain fruit. Give them a frost and wind-free site.
Sweet cherries require little cultural care once established; an occasional dressing with and a sprinkling of Nitro-chalk each year will be sufficient. Pruning consists only of cutting out crowded, broken, crossing or diseased shoots and branches, this being done in April to lessen the chance of Silver Leaf disease and bacterial canker gaining entry through the cuts, for cherries are susceptible to these troubles.
Sour cherries are grown 15 to 20ft. apart as fan-trained specimens against walls at least 10ft. high, keeping three or four main shoots to form the skeleton of the fan, and leaving the centre empty until the side shoots are strong and can be used to fill it up. I find it best to leave in as many young branches as possible and cut out some of the old wood each year. The Morello cherry, like the peach, bears its fruit on the young branches produced the previous year.
The sour cherries can also be grown as trees, of course, and are considerably smaller than the sweet varieties.
Increase by budding oron to rootstocks.
These include — Sweet cherries: Early Rivers, mid to late June (fine flavour). Governor Wood, July (also excellent flavour, but suitable only for drier areas). White Heart, late July (one of my favourites). Merton Bigarreau, late July. Sour cherries: Morello, August and September (excellent variety), self-fertile. Kentish Red, July, self-fertile. Both of these varieties are good for preserving.