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
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