Gisela 3 or 5 for Whitegold cherry

Does anyone have any input on whether Gisela 3 or Gisela 5 would be a better choice for a cherry in Zone 5b (Iowa)? I am putting in it my side yard, because it is the best drainage I have. So I need to keep the tree smallish.

I’m planning on getting a Whitegold for its good reviews here, and its self-fertile nature.

Raintree doesn’t seem to make much difference between G5 and G3. 10 to 12 ft vs 8 to 10 ft. They seem so similar I’m inclined towards the more vigorous stock.

I have Gi 3 and Gi5 including blackgold and whitegold in their early years. I am in zone 7b, I can’t really speak for winter hardiness. I found Gi5 easier for me, Gi 5s have more vigor on the less ideal sun location and they are precocious.


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I have a Black Gold in G 5 for 5-6 years now. I’ve kept it open- centered at about 6ft tall. It is very precocious. I am in zone 6. It has been through a couple of years of zone 5-like temperature. No issue.

I don’t have experience with G 3.

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Most of the cherry videos I have seen suggest 5 or 6, not 3. I have White Gold on 5, love it!

I have 2 very nice 4 leaf trees on Gisela 5. No experience with G3. But I am thinking that having somewhat smaller trees is a bonus you can more easily protect them from birds and you can plant two trees instead of one in the same space.

The problem with G3 is it can overcrop and stunt out early. You should thin most fruit for 2 or 3 years to get it to size up first, then crop. Also G3 should be staked for support. It also wont root as deep as G5 so not as drought tolerant. I would go with the G5 for sure. Just summer prune if needed to keep in check. Good luck with your cherries!

I found a WSU publication that says that Gi5 advances the bloom by 2-4 days. That is a bummer. Here we can use every day we can get. I have have not been able to find anything on whether this occurs for Gi3.

It looks like Gi3 is pretty untested everywhere. And I’m not a big fan of maintaining many ft diameter mulch rings in my yard. They go out to the ~2.5’ radius of my deer fence and that is it.

Thanks for the input. I think I will go with Gi5!

Even the year when all other stone fruit got wiped out by subzero temp or spring freeze, nothing bothered my BG. Although your zone is half a zone colder, I think, most years, you will be fine.

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Here is my White Gold on Gi5 I think going on 4th leaf? I didn’t prune yet this year.
It’s 6 feet tall. Easy to keep it there. Using modified KGB pruning. It’s loaded with buds.
It really doesn’t need much pruning this year. Clear the center a bit, about it. Even the terminal buds don’t look that crowded. I may skip heading many branches.


Nice looking tree. These cold-war acronym training systems are foreign to me. KGB, UFO… I gather you start taking out the primary scaffolds out at some point for renewal?

Yes, after 5 years. Then one major branch a year usually is stubbed back. I’ll have to play it by ear. KGB is a modification of the Spanish Bush System. It can be used on Gi3 to standard rootstock. You leave more branches on standard, more on Gi5 than Gi3. All can be kept at 8 feet. Vigor can be balanced by the number of upright branches. About 20 on Gi5.

I wish I could get my.trees full like that. Not sure what it is but most of my trees are twiggy. Not sure if I’m not doing enough winter pruning to encourage branching or what. That’s a good looking tree drew.

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Well not sure what I’m doing right? Probably the dog peeing on it!

I just got off the phone with raintree and they told me they are only offering white gold on Gi3. Since it is more dwarfing than 5 would it be a better option for growing in a pot.

If I get the Gi3 and decide to put it in the ground after I get it would it still be a good choice or should I look elsewhere for the gi5.

Boy, I’m sure hoping that they have Gi5. I have an order with them that says Whitegold/Gisela 5. So I hope your phone call doesn’t mean I am getting something different in April.

They told me that they were not offering it at all this year on 5 but maybe it was because they were already out and wanted me to just take the 3. Their horticulturist is going to call me on friday