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Cherries

UK Garden Centre - An overview of Cherry trees

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Though always in demand for dessert and culinary use, being the first of the fruits to ripen, sweet cherries are now rarely planted in the amateur’s garden. They do well only as standard or half-standard trees, on which they take about ten years to bear a prolific crop. Again, there are pollination difficulties, for only cherries of certain groups will pollinate each other and several must be planted together for best results. A standard cherry needs ample space to develop and in a small garden several of the more compact apples, occupying the same amount of ground, will be a better proposition. Birds, too, are always troublesome, for even where the fruits have set well, birds can take half the crop. But early cherries are always appreciated and where space permits two or three varieties may be planted together.
The Acid or Morello cherries are grown in fan form against a north wall. They are hardy and, though they will not pollinate sweet cherries, they will set fruit with their own pollen. They may also be grown with damsons as a windbreak.
The true Morello makes a densely branched tree and its fruit ripens in late August. Flemish Red, of upright habit, ripens in July and early August, so the two together will give a long succession of fruit for tarts and jams.
Though both are stone fruits, sweet cherries require exactly the opposite condition to plums. Cherries require a dry soil, preferably a light soil over chalk or limestone. Before planting, give the ground a liberal dressing of lime or lime rubble (mortar) and some potash in the form of bonfire ash. Or give 56g (2oz) per tree of sulphate of potash. Cherries do not require nitrogen, as it encourages them to make excess growth at the expense of fruit.
Planting is done in November. Take care not to damage the bark, for that would permit bacterial canker or silver leaf disease to enter the wound. Of planting in grass, first remove a circle of 60cm (2ft) diameter, and if planting standards, allow at least 6m (20ft) between them. For a fan tree, provide a 480cm (16ft) frame of horizontally fixed wires.

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