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Cherry Tree Guide

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Dwarf Cherry Trees

A dwarf cherry tree is ideal for those with limited garden space, and as our trees are cherry rootstock Colt propagated, you can be sure that the growth rate of your dwarf cherry tree will remain under control. With a dwarf cherry tree from Chris Bowers, you can also be sure that you are purchasing a tree of a very high calibre.

The Sweet Cherry

A beautiful flowering tree in spring, a wonderful harvest of rare, juicy fruits followed by the delightful colours of the autumn leaves. All are propagated on the cherry rootstock Colt, which restricts the excessive vigour of these superb fruits. This delicious fruit can now be grown in many gardens. Prior to the induction of Colt, the sweet cherry was far too vigorous for the small garden, as they grow so fast and vigorously up to 30 feet or more. On Colt rootstock these can now be grown as a traditional fan against a 6 or 8' wall, or in the open as a pyramid, where the height can be restricted to about 9' with easy pruning. Both of these ways of pruning are very easy to net against birds. For fans and bush, the trees should be planted 15' apart and, for pyramid training in the open garden 12' apart. With the exception of some of the new varieties all sweet cherries need a pollinator, but as incompatibility exists between some groups, choose your pollinator from those listed after each variety, Sweet cherries prefer good, well drained soil, sandy and shallow soils are not often suitable. The site should be sheltered from winds, in full sun and not in a frost pocket. They expect the best, but when given these requirements are very rewarding. Yields can vary considerably, but from a fan trained tree, 301b would be about average and similar from a pyramid trained tree. Sweet cherries do not do well in the northern areas. Most varieties are propagated from selected virus tested E.M.L.A. mother trees and all are budded onto Ministry certified Colt rootstocks certified free of disease and virus by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Colt Rootstock

Colt has been fully tested in this country and has been proved ideal for a wide range of soil types previously too difficult for cherries. Fully establish 8 year old trees have been controlled to 12ft height, and this can be lower with pruning technique. The weight of the fruit and protection netting brings the branches down even lower, and allows picking from the ground. No ladders are needed. Trees on Colt rootstock fruit very early in life, often the first year after planting, and are in full fruit by the 3rd year. In our trials, cherries on Colt have proved far less susceptible to bacterial canker.

Gisela 5

A new compact Rootstock for Cherries With a size reduction of some 40% over colt, Cherry Trees of only 6ft to 8ft in height are now easily attainable with only the basic pruning required of all Cherries. Very productive early in life, commercial plantations on the Continent report good good yields after only 2 seasons, and sometimes on the maiden year! Ideal for the intense orchard, smaller garden and tubs & planters! Highly recommended as the best general rootstock for cherries, unless you require a vigorous tree. (See Colt)

Restricting the Growth of Cherries

Many customers will prefer to restrict the growth of their colt stock cherry tree to 7' or less. This enables them to he grown in the open. The training is very simple and is basically known as 'bending'. The best time to start is in the early spring, just before growth begins. All of the required side branches are tied down to a horizontal level or just below. The centre leader is tied at a sharper angle.

Restricting the growth of cherries

The same process is repeated the next year, after this it is simply a matter of tying down the branches you require and cutting out any unwanted branches. Once the branches have been tied down for one year, you will find that the string can be removed as the branches then hang naturally. Even the centre leader retains its bent over position. Bending reduces the spread of the tree as well as the height and heavier crops are produced. The branches can, if you wish, be tied even lower than horizontal and this will make an even slimmer tree, without loss of crop. In just 3 years you can have a heavy cropping tree of no more than 6' high and 6' wide/ Yields of more than 601b per tree have been recorded from a single tree of Stella growing in a fruit cage. On Colt rootstock of course.

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