Cherry recommendation?

I am looking for recommendations on 2-3 new varietals of cherry (sweet and pie) to add to my zone 8 orchard in southern Oregon. I also want to a dwarf rootstock or natural dwarf to be able to maintain trees at less than 10 ft. I currently have North Star. I have planted a Craigs Crimson on Newroot which never greww much and eventually died. Canker resistance a priority.

If I were to add some pie cherries to my orchard, I would look into Romeo, Juliet, Cupid, or Carmine Jewel. They are bush form and stay relatively small.


If you could supply us with a bit more information I think we could probably supply you with some suggestions.

-How much rain do you get in the Summer and does the weather in the Summer have high humidity? Sweet cherries do best with low rain and low humidity during the ripening period due to their susceptibility to brown rot. If you have a lot of rain and high humidity the list of sweet cherries you might try is going to be much smaller.

-What type of soil do you have sandy, loam or clay?

-For Sweet cherries what do you like in terms of flavor and texture? Old heirlooms often have great flavor but usually are soft when it comes to texture. Historically, most sweet cherries were soft. Modern cherries tend to be firmer but there is quite a bit variability between cultivars.

-For the tart cherries are you going to eat them fresh, or use them in pies or both?


where in southern Oregon? I have a few resources to share but not sure if it’s Ashland, k falls, Eugene, etc

My orchard is located in the Rogue River valley just north of Medford OR. The spring rains last until May and it often doesn’t rain again till Sept. Humidity very low but summer temps may exceed 100 degrees F for severals days during the summer. My soil is a good loam. Late spring frosts. Can occur into April.

The climate here is hot and dry in summer with very low humidity. Soil is a clay loam.
The tart cherries will be used for preserves baking and juice.

yeah so we’re in somewhat similar climates (I’m in Eugene). you’re slightly hotter, drier, slightly colder in the winter, etc. you can compare here

recommendations for the Willamette valley should generally hold for you. you can see you’re bubbled into the same growing zone in OSU EC819 “Growing Tree Fruit and Nuts in the
Home Orchard”

EC819 makes these recommendations:
sour: balaton, montmorency, north star
sweet: royal ann, lapins, bada, stella, compact stella, sweetheart, kordia, lambert, regina

the other thing I was going to recommend is the list of cherries grown by “brosi’s sugartree farms” a u-pick near roseburg OR

Rainier (yellow/red)
Montmorency (pie/tart)
Sunset Bing

I grow lambert and lapins and recently planted sweetheart. but I don’t have a long growing history on any, lambert and lapins have survived two years now and are pretty happy. one willamette valley publication warned that sweet cherry loss will be about 1/3 in the first five years (from canker), then if the trees survive five years they tend to have better survival going forward

last thing, the usual sour cherry to recommend if you’re especially concerned about late frosts is “surefire” which I’m growing but only for one year now in Eugene. it did in fact fruit in that one year

Thank you Michael for the info. The list from the upick orchard is especially useful as I think the climate here is fairly simular to that in Roseberg. I will probably order a compact stella. What can you tell me about the Utah giant?

oh yeah if you saw utah giant in my profile, yes I have a small one in a pot planted last year, I’ll probably get a couple basal bud fruit next year but won’t get real production for 2-3 years. I’ve seen it described as an improved lambert with the main drawback of high rain cracking tendency which isn’t really a problem in our climate, so I figured I’d try it

I have a big hole in early season cherries I’m trying to fill, I hope to get early star (~bing -9) this year from schlabach’s and a santina cutting (bing -8) from Purvis but it’ll be a few years for those too before I have any recommendation

generally my thinking on sweet cherries is to favor the S4’ self-fertile stuff from summerland or its descendants because all of those seem to test pretty well in western PNW (lapins, sweetheart, early star (compact stella cross), santina, etc.). compact stella is summerland too. I’d love to get one of the super late (post-sweetheart) summerland varieties (staccato+26, sovereign+29, sentennial+29) but I can’t find them anywhere

I think z0r covered your potential options pretty well. I have a few things to add.

Montmorency is hard to beat for a tart cherry. I have a Montmorency on Gisela 5 and it’s been great for me. It’s very productive and when the fruit is completely ripe I eat the fruit fresh off the tree. The tree is about 12 feet tall and that is without any size control pruning. I think you could keep a Montmorency/Gisela5 combo in the 6-8 feet range if you wanted to. I can’t recommend Balaton. I have Balaton on mazzard for over a decade and it is unproductive. Others have also reported it unproductive. I have a Surefire too and it’s a good tree and a very late bloomer which can help if you have late frosts.

For sweet cherries you might also consider Black Tartarian which is a well regarded heirloom. Also Black Pearl is worth considering if you want an early cherry.

For rootstocks for sweet cherries I would suggest Gisela 5, Krymsk 5 and Krymsk 6. I would avoid Gisela 6 since it is prone to canker. Mazzard will produce trees that are too large (standard size) for your needs. Gisela 5 is a full dwarf, Krymsk 6 and Krymsk 5 are semi-dwarfs. With Krymsk 5 being the largest of the three.

yeah I’ll 2nd the gisela/krymsk recommendation. they’re so much more productive and precocious than mazzard/mahaleb/colt that it’s almost not worth planting a sweet cherry on anything else. it’s obnoxious that nobody sells these rootstocks retail, I’m currently growing a g5 (patent expired) bush so I can get a few tens of rootstock cuttings a year

retailers with grafted trees on these rootstocks include raintree, burnt ridge, and schlabach’s and burchell/tomorrow’s harvest. my costco had burchell stuff on g6 and g12 this year

re: black tartarian, I live a couple miles from the “owens cherry tree” which is possibly the oldest sweet cherry tree in the country. it’s black tartarian so it’s safe to say the variety is more or less proven here