Cherry vs. other stone fruits, new grower perspectives

It’s interesting to see such a disparity. New fruit tree growers (including myself) love sweet cherry tree, in the local big box stores around me, the sweet cherry trees are usually the first to sold out. But in GF forum, members are mostly talking about peach, plum, pluot. I wonder if new growers underestimate the difficulty of growing sweet cherry? Also I am so excited to try my first pluot this year too!

Any thoughts and comments are welcomed.


Brown rot and birds. Some sort of structure over a ripening tree would do wonders up here.


I haven’t found cherries any harder to grow, I have found them harder to graft… Like mentioned above, birds are my biggest problem, also deer seem to like cherry leaves better than other stone fruit leaves here.

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I was one of those big box store suckers - my first fruit tree was a cherry purchased at Home Depot a few dozen years ago. It didn’t last a year.

Here along with rot and birds the cracking and canker are huge issues. Plus nasty black aphids, powdery mildew, etc. Sweet cherries are from Northern Europe and don’t like hot weather in general. That said, one advantage is they fruit early so they avoid the worst of the rot season.

I have done a pendulum on the cherries, it was the first I started with, and when I re-tried a dozen years later I also put in lots of cherries. But then I had problems and removed most of them. But, most recently I have added some back as I have learned how to deal with their problems.


I have problems with canker too, although it is cooler here, so they grow really well. I really like the NY cultivars and would like to get more, but room is an issue so just one tree. A White Gold. When I move hopefully I’ll have more room and add a couple more. Something from the Ebony series probably.

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I have some cherry rootstocks i will graft over this year. It seems like the best idea i ever had for sweet cherries was to grow on mounds and grow the rootstocks a couple of years first.Rootstocks establish faster.


I have a couple of cherrys, but I bought them knowing the NCSU’s Aggies specifically saw we’re unlikely to get a steady crop in our region. The feeling I get is that for most of us, sweet cherries end up being tall, unwieldly, unfruiting ornamental trees. They say,

Fruit crops that can be grown in North Carolina are listed above in
Table 1, along with additional information that will help to ensure
success. Tree fruits that are not included in the list may grow in North
Carolina, but few consistently produce quality fruit. For example,
apricot and cherry trees can grow in certain areas where the climate is
favorable, but they must be carefully managed and usually do not bear
fruit consistently.

I’m hoping I can create a favorable micro climate good enough to get a few handfuls a year, and I’ve got them on Gisele 5 in the hopes of keeping them small and manageable. Last year, 1 cherry set, and was presumably eaten by a bird. The trunks of all my cherries showed some cracking damage this year, and I’m not experienced enough to know exactly what the cause is. Sunburn/Sunscald is a real possibility, as is canker, but I don’t know how to tell the difference honestly. I painted all my trees today, probably should have done it in like September, but oh well. I figured better at least to do it before the sun gets hot in spring, as all my trees are small and open center or espaliered, and don’t shade themselves hardly at all.

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I don’t love cherries that much, but I like their early season. I may make some room for some again and accept the hassle of nets and the risk of having every one crack if we get a good rain just as they are ripening. The thing is, now I have a peach variety that ripens in June that is delicious and is much less hassle.

If I lived in the west in an appropriate zone I would be more receptive.

I grow them for a client that has dawn to dusk sun and I get my fill of cherries from there if we have a good season. With good air circulation and full sun they are easier.

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I have all the troubles Scott has plus serious rot. Rotting getting worse each year. Of all my fruit trees cherries are the ones I would remove.

They don’t live up to my cherry standard by comparison,naming Rainiers and Bing. If I cannot grow fruit that taste better or as good as stored bought, I do not need them.

Hot and humid is not a good weather combination to grow cherries with no spray. If I spray for rot, I also have to protect them from rain (cracking). Then, what about, birds and squirrels?

Canker is not easy to handle, either.

I have found that sour cherries are easier to grow and graft. Then, I happened to grow Danube, so unproductive.

My sweet cherries bloom like mad and set abundantly. Those are the positive :smile:


Black Gold set abundantly every year.


This is a good point, the store cherries are usually very good. They are firm enough ripe that they are picked much closer to ripe than other fruits. You don’t really save any money growing your own if you add up all the costs honestly. Pie cherries on the other hand you won’t find in stores, plus they are easier. My Montmorency now takes up the space that once had four sweet cherry trees in it, I let it get big.


I think many of us think that cherries are more exotic, less common than apples, pears or even peaches. It’d be great to be able to grow our own cherries in the backyard. Then, after a few years, reality sets in.

I am going to graft Montmorency onto my Danube. I may put Black Tartarian on it, too.

I want to get rid of Vandalay this spring to make room for persimmon but hubby votes me down (for now) :disappointed:

Gosh, my most favorite stone fruit by far is the cherry. Not until fairly recently did we here in the coastal San Diego county, California area ever thought we’d have the ability to grow cherries due to chill hour requirements. With the release of two very low chill cherries, I am hoping and praying that this year will be my “cherry year”. I have had my Minnie Royal and Royal Lee in the ground now going on year 5, blooms are much better overlapped this year:

Patty S.


Wow, looks good Patty. DWN has stated with age they get better and appears true. A third tree would be cool. I only have one here, although it is self fertile.

I have Lapins /Black Gold… Sweet cherries to me have the best smelling of all the fruit flowers.


Had a wild sweet cherry that was working for me several years ago and my neibors accidently caught that field on fire and killed it. Since that fire the tree has been unreplaceable. Wild trees can be very good because they are more sdaptive.

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I’m with you Patty. I love sweet cherries. I’m trying to grow them here but I understand there are multiple hurdles involved in growing them in my climate.

What I’m looking forward to more than anything now is being able to eat home grown plums and pluots. I’ve heard they are the fruit with the most potential for improving over store bought fruits.

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I’d say my nectarines are the most improved over store bought.

IMO nectarines and pluots, properly grown, are better than even 30 brix sweet cherries. They can all be very sweet. The nectarines and best pluots have better flavor. That could all change in a different climate.

Maybe people like sweet cherries because they are the easiest stone fruit to get to a really high brix level. Occasionally they are even that in the store. Plums, pluots, and nectarines usually aren’t sweet enough to be good from the store. JMO


Yes and Farmer’s Market too have excellent cherries here. Grown here too! I can get good nectarines, in general though as you say they suck 9 out of 10 times. So I agree with you on most points, except the cherries here are exceptional too. My cherries are pretty good! Unlike others, even in partial sun here I’m getting good cherries, none of my trees get all day sun, although they get well over 8 hours.Seems to be plenty here. I would have to say it must be environment.

Nice trees and spectacular background!

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