Growing fruit in Maryland

So far we are having a bountiful year (2021) for cherries. My wife says that the cicadas have distracted the birds, and that is why they have not bothered our 10 cherry trees. The Jubileum trees (planted in 2013) had, as usual, beautiful berries…but continue to be limited. I guess there are only about 50 cherries each. The Royal Ann and Bing trees (1 each) have produced more cherries than we can eat. Maybe about four gallons so far. We only have an 8 foot step ladder, so we leave the upper branches to the birds. We think that the Black Tartarian, planted in 2006, is probably NOT a Black Tartarian. It is also producing masses of cherries…but they are always SMALL, LIGHT PINK berries. But my wife likes them which is most important. The White Gold (planted in 2017) is producing its first cherries…only about a dozen (large, sweet) but we feel that is a good indicator of future years. And the Van cherry trees (probably ready to eat in mid-June) continue to produce the best. The only problem is that my wife refuses to let me trim the branches…which is probably why the berries are getting smaller and smaller. But I am happy to see my wife going from tree to tree, picking cherries…and complaining that the cherries should be closer to the ground.


Pictures or it didn’t happen :wink:


I have a small yard and for eight years kept my white gold at 7 feet tall. No ladders are in my future. It’s working extremely well. I prune twice a year. I can protect the tree it’s not easy but I can net it by myself. Easier with two people. The birds get zero cherries.


Interesting to hear that Bing works for you in hot, humid MD. Do you spray to protect from pests or diseases?

My friend bought a “Bing” from Lowe. Neither she or I can tell if it truly is a Bing. She did not prune it when it was young. 10 years later, it is possibly 20 ft tall. She planted a Stella for a pollination partner. She has never had a chance to try any fruit. Birds have cleaned out all cherries every year. Those trees are way too tall to net.



Wow. I’m in humid central maryland in ellicott city and would love to know what you spray with to protect them from molds and bugs

No sprays. We have one acre near Annapolis and my wife is outside now picking cherries. She is working on only 1 tree, and so far has over 5 gallons today. I’m serious. I told her that we have to learn how to make either cherry nectar or cherry mash (liquor). I am beginning to think that she is correct…that the cicadas are distracting the birds this year, resulting in a bumper crop of fruit. I think there is only one more day before the cherries (Van cherry) start to fall or turn brown. I notice you have paw paws. We planted 3 a couple years ago. Any idea how long we have to wait for fruit to appear?

Thank you @Bill I’m envious. My 0.3 acre is northward sloping and surrounded by woods. Between insects and fungi and suboptimal sun and airflow, I’ve been stricken by all kinds of problems, in addition to naïveté and inexperience… but I hope to learn and maybe get some cherries one day :smiley:

I just took a photo …


Wow. Looks like when I come back from the pick your own cherry farm here in Howard co. :smiley:


@Bill I love picking cherries. These first two pictures are actually from the lake shore near Erie Pennsylvania, and the last one was when I used to own a house in Anne Arundel County, when my first one was born. I had a small sour cherry tree that actually was happy and carefree.


I’m not that far away in WV and I can’t get cherries to grow worth a lick. In fact, I just said to myself while spraying that I’m seriously considering cutting my two cherry trees down this year. It sucks becuase cherries are my favorite fruit and I’ve never grown a single cherry half as good as a grocery store bing.

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I was in Annapolis today but live in Ellicott City. For every one cicada in Annapolis there are 100 where I live. Only about half of MD has cicadas in any numbers. Maybe you aren’t in the worst areas. I can say that in Ellicott City they are crushing my apples and peaches but seem to not love my sour cherry as much.

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I can’t even walk outside without getting hit by cicada. They have punished my crops. West of DC.

The Van Cherry trees were planted in 2008. I think I wrote previously that our White Gold Cherry, planted in 2017, had its first cherries this year…but only 6 cherries. But I am counting on 2022 or 2023 being better. Our apple trees, first planted in 2009-2010, look like they will start producing this year. There are many times when my wife would say, ‘why are you wasting your time’. But this year she is grateful.


Just picked some Bartlett Pears today. I read somewhere that, even though they won’t be fully ripe (soft) until early August, you should pick them and let them fully ripen inside the house. So I am trying with 6-7 pears. By the way, they are very large this year on one tree…but my other 2 Bartlett trees seem to have only pigmy pears (half the size of the photo).


Not sure where you are, but in VA I do not pick bartlett till the end of august first of september.

We are in Annapolis, Md. My wife yelled at me for picking the pears too soon, so maybe you are correct. But I only picked 6 pears to test them. They will sit on the kitchen counter (maybe 7 days) until I see if they get soft. I guess I thought that, because they are Bartlett and had turned reddish (and 1-2 had fallen off th

e tree)… We will see


Just and update…looks like our Loring Peach tree is producing very large peaches this year. My Elberta and Belle of Ga Peach trees are a failure so, after 10 years, I will cut them down this fall. I think my mistake was that I built a solid concrete square (4-5 feet in diameter) around each of them out of concrete blocks because I thought this would keep the voles out. I think that has hindered their development. I also did the same thing around two of the apple trees and they also have not produced fruit.

I would try the thumb in the neck test for pears. Push really hard with your thumb and once you get a bit of give you can pick them. They should also come right off as you lift them, no force needed.

Once they are picked they need to go into the fridge for at least a couple weeks. Pears don’t ripen like other fruits, they need some chill. Well, they don’t always need chill but if you pick them hard they always need chill.

My Aurora should be ready for picking soon, I checked them last weekend and they were not there but will check again this weekend.

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