Starting a 2022 thread for those of us trying to grow cherries in low chill areas. I have been doing cherry grafts, growing trees on precocious rootstock, hand pollinating, etc. This year I have a ton of spurs everywhere. However, we literally have had zero chill hours in my yard in January. I have not seen it go below 45 since around Christmas. The good thing is we had decent chill hours the month before but still, we are probably between 100 and 200 hours at most. Any fruit I get this year will be a remarkable success.
That is why I was so confused to see Late Duke hinting at low chill traits, with buds starting to peak out in early January. Late Duke did set fruit last year, though they disappeared before ripening (usually its mice, though I can’t remember if I confirmed normal fruit development)
This is Late Duke taken Jan 9. All the buds are at the same stage, suggesting their timing is in synch up to now. All the other cherry cultivars are completely dormant, at least to visual inspection. I am resisting the temptation to speculate on the reasons for this. But I will quote my favorite fruit growing writer from the early 20th century:
“In California, as elsewhere, the Dukes and Morellos may succeed where the Hearts and Bigarreaux fail.” - Edward J Wickson, 1926