Bing Cherry Rootstock?

I have a Bing Cherry tree that had the top killed last year by the neighbor’s 2, 4-D. HOWEVER, it has 2 limbs that survived and came back this year and are growing like crazy. But here is the thing…both of them are absolutely right on the line/knot of the original graft point. There is just absolutely no way I can tell if they are coming out of the rootstock or the grafted on Bing wood.

But …the leaves look exacty like Bing or other sweet cherry leaves. Very large, very sweet-cherry looking (I have one nearby and they look the same) I have no idea what rootstock type this tree had. But do any of the usual sweet cherry rootstocks (Citation, etc) look like sweet cherry leaves or do they look more like plum, peach, sour cherry, or other leaves?

THis was a good tree with good roots and is doing great, so I’d love to let it grow back to a tree if it is still a Bing. But of course if it is some kind of rootstock that will never produce then I want to pull it out or at least top work it next year. So please let me know: If a grafted bing tree has new growth that is from root stock, do any of the usual sweet cherry root stocks grow leaves that look just like sweet cherry leaves?


I’m far from an expert on sweet cherry but can tell you the rootstock leaves I’ve seen are very different from those you describe. My knowledge is limited to a couple of types. Mahaleb and mazzard are the types I’ve grown. They do not have the large leaves typical with domestic sweet cherries. There are many rootstocks eg. Colt which I have no experience with whatsoever. I can say if your seeing big leaves in my limited experience it’s not like the rootstock’s I’ve grown. Sounds very promising!

Bing can struggle in the humid East. I had one on Colt. It died (I suspect from canker). But the rootstock came back, which I will eventually graft over with a variety better suited for my conditions.


Black tartarian was a bad choice for me here with similar results you had with bing. What are the best varieties now? I hear Stella, lapins, black gold, white gold but are there others? What about vandalay, royalton, etc? I try to focus on types resistant to canker and cracking. Do you have cracking problems?

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Sam and Lapins might prove to be good ones. I’m adding them this year.

Here’s a link on Sam:

Sometimes EdibleLandscaping of VA has it in stock.

On rare occassion, Boyer’s Nursery of PA stocks the Sam cherry on Gisela.6. That’s where I got mine. You have to call. Some years they don’t even list it in their catalog because their stock runs low.

C&O Nursery of Washington State sometimes has it too, but they require minimum orders.

My notes on Sam, collected from various places:

Sam: Jet black sweet cherry highly regarded. Canker and crack resistant and well-suited for the East. Z6 hardy. Ripens approx June 15- 30. Cross-pollinates w/ Regina. I had some incredible cherries from Boyer’s farmstand which were identified as a mix of Sam and Ulster cherries. They were phenomenal.


Thanks Matt!


I have seen that cracking can be an issue for cherries here at the local farms.

I am also focusing on varieties reported in the literature as showing some crack-resistance or crack-tolerance.

Among these, I am growing:


I also plan to try:

-Governor Wood
-Emperor Francis

I also want to try Black Eagle, based on Scott Smith trying it, and on account of my love affair with jet-black sweet cherries.

I have trees of Black Tartarian, Craig’s Crimson, and Royal Rainier (none of which are known to be crack-proof). Those trees are still alive, despite years of abuse from Japanese beetles, but they have not fruited yet for me.

None of my trees have fruited yet except Whitegold on Krymsk.5. It has a handful of cherries growing on it now.

I am trying a diversity of stocks, including Colt, Krymsk.5, Z-Dwarf, Gisela.6, and Gisela.12. I suspect Gisela.6 will perform the best, and I suspect that Krymsk.5 will perform worst (rumored susceptibility to canker). And yet currently, my Whitegold tree on Krymsk.5 looks the best, and is the only one that has fruited yet. Go figure.



I’ve wanted to grow cherries in the humid Southeast zone 7b. I’m trying Carmine Jewel thanks to @c5tiger. Does your research indicate which of any of those on your list might tolerate humidity and heat?


Your best bets are probably Blackgold and Whitegold, unless others have a better idea.

Montmorency would work too, but it is a sour pie/ juicing cherry.

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Thanks Matt. Montmorency is the standard recommendation here, but I’ve really been looking for a sweet cherry. I’ll probably give Blackgold and Whitegold a try.


Blackpearl, Sam, and Black York might also work. They are recommended as canker-resistant in Virginia by EdibleLandscaping:

Matt knows a lot more than I do, and almost everyone will tell you that its difficult to impossible to grow sweet cherries here in the hot/humid southeast (I’m in zone 7a in TN). But I’ve had great luck so far (its only been a year so that isn’t exactly proof of long term success) with Black Tartarian Sweet Cherries. I think one reason they work well is that they are one of the earliest sweet cherries to ripen and here they were ripe in late May, before the real heat sets in. My BT tree is seriously the single healthiest tree in my whole orchard- not a brown leaf on the whole tree all year long and new growth always coming out of tips. It was covered in thousands of blooms this spring- a site of beauty in and of itself. As pretty as any decorative flowering cherry. I didn’t get a lot of fruit this year because I didn’t have a polinator this year (it died from 2, 4-D exposure last year). In fact, I don’t know how I got any fruit, but nature finds a way I guess.

Here is a photo of my tree and some of the fruit from about a week ago.

Just a few of the cherries on it:

BTW- the center is actually hollow even though you can’t tell. I am still working on getting the tree more spread out by pruning the inside and leaving lower, outer branches and forcing them to re-tip to an outward union. This is only the 4th leaf for this tree so hopefully I’ll get it spread better in the future. That being said, even the inside fruit did great and ripened to a black color.


You know anything about a patent on Sam? I don’t see anything, so I’m assuming it doesn’t have it.

Here it is listed with several other varieties under patent. No patent is attributed to Sam, so I imagine it is off patent.

I got my Sam tree from Boyer.

C&O has it in stock right now. Sometimes Edible Landscaping stocks it.

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Sam is reported as incompatible with Colt rootstock. Just FYI.

Ebonypearl is another sweet cherry listed as canker resistant. I’m interested in trialing that one.