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Cherry Tree Guide

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 ofyour dwarf cherry tree will remain under control. With a dwarf cherry tree fromChris 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 cherryrootstock Colt, which restricts the excessive vigour of these superb fruits. This delicious fruitcan now be grown in many gardens. Prior to the induction of Colt, the sweet cherry was far toovigorous for the small garden, as they grow so fast and vigorously up to 30 feet or more. OnColt rootstock these can now be grown as a traditional fan against a 6 or 8′ wall, or in theopen as a pyramid, where the height can be restricted to about 9′ with easy pruning. Bothof these ways of pruning are very easy to net against birds. For fans and bush, the treesshould be planted 15′ apart and, for pyramid training in the open garden 12′ apart. With theexception of some of the new varieties all sweet cherries need a pollinator, but as incompatibilityexists between some groups, choose your pollinator from those listed after each variety, Sweetcherries prefer good, well drained soil, sandy and shallow soils are not often suitable. The siteshould be sheltered from winds, in full sun and not in a frost pocket. They expect the best, butwhen given these requirements are very rewarding. Yields can vary considerably, but from a fantrained tree, 301b would be about average and similar from a pyramid trained tree. Sweet cherriesdo not do well in the northern areas. Most varieties are propagated from selected virus testedE.M.L.A. mother trees and all are budded onto Ministry certified Colt rootstocks certified freeof 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 ofsoil types previously too difficult for cherries. Fully establish 8 year old trees have beencontrolled to 12ft height, and this can be lower with pruning technique. The weight of thefruit and protection netting brings the branches down even lower, and allows picking fromthe ground. No ladders are needed. Trees on Colt rootstock fruit very early in life, oftenthe 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% overcolt, Cherry Trees of only 6ft to 8ft in height are now easily attainable with onlythe basic pruning required of all Cherries. Very productive early in life, commercialplantations on the Continent report good good yields after only 2 seasons, and sometimeson 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 outany unwanted branches. Once the branches have been tied down for one year, you will find that the string can be removedas 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 thanhorizontal and this will make an even slimmer tree, without loss of crop. In just 3 years you can have a heavy croppingtree of no more than 6′ high and 6′ wide/ Yields of more than 601b per tree have been recorded from a single tree ofStella growing in a fruit cage. On Colt rootstock of course.

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