Carmine Jewel Cherry Question

Here are the 2 Carmine Jewel Cherry trees I received from HoneyberryUSA this spring. They are surprisingly large, well rooted, and just now beginning to pop out a few blooms here in Indiana Zone 6B. One is 1 1/2" trunk diameter and the other is 1" trunk, and both are 3 feet tall, sizes well worth the price. With a few blooms now open, I’m surprised at the size of the blooms, with the blooms all consistently 1/2 inch across, they seem quite small compared to my North Star, or Stella. Is this CJ bloom size normal? Is it small because of the transplant shock? I’m not sure of the age of the trees, since they were grown in colder Wisconsin, and it’s my first experience with any of the USask Dwarf Cherries. Sorry for the poor picture quality!

While I’m asking Cherry questions, does anyone have any advice on how I might prune this Starkrimson Semi-dwarf Cherry? It arrived as a victim of Starks “professional pruning”. I received a 4 ft tree with every possible branch cut off at the trunk, with many taking part of the branch collar also, and it appeared someone used a SawzAll to cut the roots off in a straight line, leaving barely 2 inches of sparse roots. I potted it for some TLC for one season, and then it went in ground last Spring. It had no growth until late Summer, when it put out 4 feet for the leader, and a side branch of 2 feet. I didn’t expect it to survive, but it did, and in the last month went to 9 feet for the leader, 6 feet for one branch and 5 for the other. I hope to keep it at 8 feet if possible, my ladder climbing days are done. My thought is to cut it now at 8 feet and hope it puts out some side growth. Should I prune it now, or wait until mid-summer? Does it sound reasonable to just take a foot off of all 3 branches? Growing a sweet cherry here in the Ohio Valley will most likely not go well, but I must be in a sweet spot since even with no spray at this time, my pest and disease pressure is very low. That will not last, but I may get a few good years of growth in.

Here is another victim of Starks “professional pruning”, a compact Stella that doesn’t grow up or out, but is so crowded with leaves it looks like a green Cousin It. Another tree I don’t expect to survive.

I have two of the larger size Carmine Jewels from Honeyberry as well. Mine arrived last fall.

This spring one of the two bloomed profusely with small with flowers that look like yours. Unfortunately a deer got into my back yard (uncommon) and ate most of the blooms. Of the blooms the deer missed, most have set fruit. (7-8 total I would guess)

The other tree looks fine and has leafed out but didn’t bloom.

I will be happy if I get to try a Carmine Jewel cherry this year and hope for more next year of course.

I’ve never measured the blossoms on my CJ’s but they are somewhat smallish anyway, compared to other varieties I have.

Sounds like you were lucky to get the Starkrimson to survive at all. Be a shame if you did what I’d do now, and it died! But it looks pretty spindly and I think too tall for it’s caliper. The biggest branch looks to have a pretty narrow crotch and that could mean trouble down the line. I think I’d take a bold step and make a cut just above the large branch and eliminate the current leader altogether. Then based on the smallish caliper I believe I’d make a heading cut on the “new” leader to get it in better proportion and to spur some lateral branching, and I guess I’d do it now rather than wait.

I have zero experience with compact stuff so won’t comment on the Stella. (Heck I probably shouldn’t have commented on the Starkrimson for that matter)

But my thoughts are that left alone and the Starkrimson will disappoint you, and there’s no need to having this years energy going places that rob from where you need to ultimately be.

Easy for someone else to prattle on when they don’t have to close the handles together on the loppers… so hopefully there will be some other suggestions for you to also consider.

I’m with you 100% on being weary of the whole ladder thing too. One reason I dig the U of S cherry bushes. Do it all from the ground. I also gave my huge ER a massive trim this winter, just too much anymore. (The wife said if I killed it she wouldn’t shed any tears… she’s all about the bush cherries anymore)

1 Like

The small blooms don’t effect the size of cherries. The blooms are always small on the CJ. Sour cherries are all fairly small but the flesh to pit ratio is good on carmine jewell’s. The cherries are about the size of northstar cherries. On the cherry pruning I agree with IowaJer and would get rid of that narrow crotch angle. This is how the blooms will look later on CJ. You can see the buds don’t all open at the same time in these pictures.


Carmine Jewell cherry crop is light at first and gets progressively heavier.


That is just a real nice shot of that branch loaded with blossoms Clark. (Ought to make that the wallpaper on your computer!)

Here’s a shot of my CJ’s in close to full bloom. They seem to offer a brief break in the otherwise bleak surroundings following wintertime. Then the petals fall off and it’s over with too soon!

You’ll notice the ER to the left is quite a bit behind the CJ’s. Also I took 4-5’ off the ER in an attempt to make it a more manageable tree. Should have been more diligent with it before now, but seems there’s always more pressing things and next thing you turn around and it’s grown way too big. (Kinda like the kids in that regard…)


Very nice looking place and great looking cherries IowaJer!

Thanks Ozymandias, and sorry to hear about your deer visit! I was just glad to see blooms, and getting even 1 cherry from these this year would satisfy me.

Hi IowaJer, sounds like good advice on pruning the Starkrimson, I was so concerned about size, the narrow crotch angle didn’t jump out and now that you’ve mentioned it, I agree that if left it would soon be a problem. The tree must have rooted a bit to push that many leaves, so a drastic pruning sounds like the right move so I can get that energy better directed, change the shape, and control size right now. Thanks for the advice! Greg

I usually wait to prune cherry when there is forecast of a few dry days esp. in late spring or early summer if possible.

Cherry seems to get canker rather easily. Avoid cutting wood (causing open wounds) on rainy days would be a good thing to do.

Clarkinks, those look great! I hope in a few years mine are that large and healthy. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was so concerned about tree size I just didn’t see the problem that narrow crotch would be. One hard gust and I can imagine it would leave the tree one spring. We’ve had several inches of rain the last 2 days, and 1 more big rain predicted should I wait for dryer weather, or just catch a break in the rain and prune? Those CJs of yours are attractive plants, and look like they will be loaded with fruit this year. I tried to read all the Uof Sask information I could find, and it seemed to address everything except bloom size, and these cherries sound like absolute work horses when they start to produce. Thanks for the advice and pictures, now I know what to expect! Greg

1 Like

Mamuang, thanks for the answer, I’ll wait until the middle of the week then, when it’s dry and breezy. Even without disease present, I’ll disinfect the pruners before the task.

That looks nice IowaJer. Did you do any shaping or pruning on your CJs, or just leave them to grow as they wanted? Those look huge. Greg

I keep my cherry trees about 6 ft tall. I only have a couple of cherry trees and I trained them to a vase shape. It is hard to see from the pic. It is black Gold.

The pathogen of canker is everywhere. It just waits for the opportunity. Open wound and wetness is perfect combination.


Mamuang, those look great, so neat, well shaped, and right size. Glad to hear that you’ve kept BG at 6 feet, open center, and so well branched. That’s encouraging! Greg

Easy to spray and easy to net, two important tasks for cherry growers.

1 Like

No shaping, I have pruned the biggest one down some just for height, as it was getting bigger than they were advertised to. And I also pruned out the lower branches on all of them that tended to want to grow down toward the ground. They get in the way with mowing and weed whacking. But other than that they’ve been left to grow pretty much how they want to.

One reason I kind of want to keep them as they are, is that the fruit-load is distributed throughout the bush from close to the trunk to outer limbs, and that I think tends to somewhat hide a lot of the cherries from the birds. But if humidity becomes an issue I could end up opening them up some for air flow.

I don’t have any sweets, but I think mamuang is right on about the wet weather and canker. Sweets may be more prone too.

Nice work there on the Black Gold mamuang! Nice setting too.

1 Like

Thanks, IowaJer.

You could see the trunks of the BG and the Vandalay ( on the right) have Scotch tape smeared with Tanglefoot around the. it is to prevent ants from farming aphids.

Back to the original question… those flowers are very small, half the diameter they should be. My Carmine Jewel that I planted in 2011 and is now 5’ tall is just starting to flower now (in zone 3), and here’s a photo showing their size, which is typical for all the U of S cherries (at least the 4 I am growing).

The only one I have in full bloom right now is Juliet, but these cherry bushes really get smothered in flowers: