Black Cherry?

Hi. I think this is black cherry. There are a lot of these around here (south central Virginia). And most, if not all, have something growing on the leaves. See picture. What is it? Is this growth on the leaves bad? Is it going to make these a bad candidate for grafting to? As far as grafting, what is compatible? Thanks.

bark looks like the pin cherry we have here but ive never seen a black cherry either.

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You may be able to graft sweet cherry s to it if it is a pin cherry, but I do not think you can if it’s a black Cherry

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That is definitely a black cherry you have there, you can tell by the rounded leaf teeth and the way the fruit attaches to the stem as seen here:Resource001720_Rep2400 (1).pdf (2.2 MB)

As far as what is happening to the leaves it is called finger gall mite: Minnesota Seasons - black cherry finger gall mite

To my knowledge the mite is very specialized to the black cherry so it wouldn’t be a risk to any other species, grafted or otherwise (though I have not heard of it being compatible with much else)

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So of there’s nothing to graft to it, are there improved varieties of black cherry?

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I have a tree that I thought was black cherry, but the fruit are on fat spurs. His had a long stem with several fruit. The fruit on mine are small and just sour juice with a seed. If his is black, any idea what mine could be? Choke maybe?

@robert Without pictures it’s hard to say, but sounds like it could be chokecherry

Black Cherry (prunus serotina) does not produce edible fruit and unfortunately it is not compatible to grafts of sweet or sour cherry.

Black cherry does make awesome firewood and lumber if it gets old enough. But nothing edible grows there. The aroma of the black cherry wood in the fire is just wonderful.

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I have one in my parents yard growing up and would eat the paper thin flesh all the time it’s edible delecious and completely not worth it. But it makes fantastic bbq smoke wood. Also a renewable resources as it drops branches regularly.

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Yes, great for smoking on the BBQ. We get some pretty large Black Cherry here, it’s my favorite for sawing on the bandsaw mill.

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It does though. I eat them every summer. The fruits do vary in quality quite a bit from tree to tree though (mainly in how sweet/bitter they are). Besides snacking on them when I’m working outside, I pick and deseed a bunch each year and freeze the pulp/juice. They make a pretty tasty sauce or jam. Has a deep cherry flavor with some coffee-like bitterness to it. Quite good with vanilla ice cream.

Another great thing about black cherry is that they are a very valuable tree for native wildlife. Cherries are a host species to 456 species of caterpillars, second highest amount after Oaks, which provide a good source of food for native songbirds. Also, the fruits are relished by birds and some mammals and the flowers provide ample pollen and nectar for bees and other insects.

Black cherry is the favored host plant of eastern tent caterpillars (which are usually considered a harmful pest of pome & stone fruit trees), but they are a native species that benefit native wildlife. Black and yellow billed cuckoos have a strong preference for tent caterpillars and feed on them voraciously, as well as on invasive gypsy moth caterpillars. Caterpillar irruptions are a boon to these cuckoo species and will cause them to show up in large numbers, but since these caterpillar populations are held under control nowadays by pesticide use, they are rarely seen more than one at a time and their populations have been on the decline for several decades due to pesticide use and loss of habitat.

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Sorry for the long, rambling post… I’m just a huge fan of black cherries!

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A black cherry tree was cut locally about 45 years ago that was over 5 feet diameter. A log truck hauled a single butt cut from that tree and it was all the truck could carry. The average black cherry in this area gets about a foot diameter. I have several on my property in the 8 to 12 inch diameter range.

I have lots of wild black cherry trees… including a few in my back yard that have long limbs that run out over my back yard, and dangle blossoms and fruit there to pick and eat.

I have been eating the fruit for years… I spit out the seed/pit but eat the fruit. If you like tart cherries, you will like wild black cherries. I am sure they would make good jam if sweetened and you could somehow easily get those pits out (perhaps a food strainer).

Below is a bit of info from the linked article…

…
Berries have a bitter-sweet and wine-like flavor and can be used for making jam and jelly. All parts except fruit are poisonous and should never be eaten.
…

That is good to know. I lived in western PA for about 7 years. I never saw or tasted any fruit on the cherry trees in the woods near our house. We did see the tent caterpillars every year, as well as the pretty blossoms in the spring.

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@JamesRinSLC …

You are right about those black cherry blossoms… that is one of those in my back yard. Georgious…

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