Hungarian pie cherries-Jubileum, Danube, Balaton, and.....?

I’ve had Jubileum for about 8 years. Each year I think it’s going to produce and it never does. I add minerals, everything. The cherries are purple, so they’re red before they’re ripe and birds steal them, but I won’t eat them at that stage. They taste good, but I get, say 3 cherries off a 15 foot tree. I think I’m chopping it this year. Montmorency produces like a champ. I think there’s a reason that it is #1 in the USA. Danube produces somewhat. It is extra sweet so you can pick them just a tad early and get some before the birds. Balaton and Surefire are young enough that they taste good, but I don’t know how much fruit I’ll get. Anyone else have experience with these?
John S


I only have one Montmorency cherry and it has produced a ton of cherries this year. The tree is scheduled to be bagged this week, as the Cat birds are starting to steal (eat) the green cherries! Ooooh, I"m beginning to not like that bird at at. If you do not cover your trees you will never get a cherry due to the birds!


I have Danube . I have had fruit for 3 years but not many . Blooms heavily but only about 24 cherries set and ripened this year . Tree is still small but I have my doubts about keeping it . I may graft something else onto it .

I have Danube, too, planted in 2011. Very stingy producer. This is 4th year, it has about 45 cherries on the whole tree. Cross pollination is not an issue. There are Black Gold and Vandalay 10 ft away. Never had a chance to get it before birds.

I tried to bag it this year so I can taste it. I have already grafted a North Star to it. I will graft other sour cherry on it next year.

It looks like these trees are a bust, too bad. Well try the Romance series. Incredible plants.

I have all three of the hungarian cherries. The early one produced OK for the first time for the size of the tree. It produced about 12 lbs.

The next one to ripen only produced about 5 lbs. but it’s a smaller tree.

The Balton’s are younger still and only produced about 1.5 lbs./tree.

I wonder if season length has something to do with it? Still, if I were you I’d hold on to the tree a little longer. I have one sour cherry tree which is probably 8 years old. I’ve never harvested much off of it but this year it really kicked into production and probably produced about 40 lbs.

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What is your opinion on the taste of each, please?

I’m not Mark, but I’ll answer.

All three taste good. Danube is sweeter than the others. I prefer Jubileum, but like others have said, if you get 8 cherries off a semi-dwarf tree, I’ve got to get something else in it’s place. I’ve got a suburban lot, and I don’t have endless room to grow trees for possible moral benefit. :smiley:
John S

Thanks for answering. I will just graft other varieties on it.


I agree w/ John. All three taste good. If left till they get really dark they all pretty much taste the same to me. Good intense flavor with a fair amount of sweetness (but nothing like sweet cherries). If they are picked when they first turn red, they are pretty sour, like a sour cherry.

I have second leaf Danube cherry. It is growing very good. It seemed to have more resistant to disease and pests. Cherry leaf spot and OFM damage is less evident on them then on my Vandalay cherry. It has thin new growth and after the strong wind or the heavy rain I often find a couple of branches broken under their own weight. It flowered this year, I used brush to pollinate but it did not set any fruits :unamused:. I think it still needs cross pollination. This type of cherry reminds me of what we grew back in Russia. Very good eating sour cherries, they also made very good jellies, but there was never a lot of them.

I had three balaton tart cherry trees on my property. The first one I lost succumbed to root rot. The other two got hit hard with cherry leaf spot and winter injury. I wish I was able to grow them here in the northeast (mid-atlantic region). Balaton makes very dark juice and is tasty right off the tree. The birds preferred it too. In fact, I would suggest planting balaton cherry if you have an interest in colorful migratory birds because they will all visit your tree at harvest time. I think it is the darker color red cherry that brings them in. My montmorency tart cherry tree soldiers on here. It tastes almost as good as balaton so I don’t miss the trees terribly.

This year I thought I would be giving cherries away. After last year’s poor crop, my tart cherries were
just loaded with flowers. While in peak bloom, we had a cold wet week and got hit with 2 frosts. Sorry so see all my cherries are very light again on fruit set because of this. Never saw any pollinators all week on them when usually the bees and other insects are out in big numbers when my cherries bloom.

I have surecrop from Stark. While a nice flavor, it never seems to bear a heavy crop at least compared to North Star. My Balaton is too little to bear yet. A friend commercially grows Balaton as the Russian community near him prefer it. Also my favorite as very sweet and turns purple when ripe. It always is a very poor producer. Worth it to me as I have 3 other varieties anyway.

If I only had room for one tart cherry then it would have to be Montmorency or Evans based on yield.
Based on flavor it depends. My family prefers Montmorency and Balaton. I like all tart cherries be they morello or amarelle types. The dark morello types do have a stronger cherry flavor.

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Monty has a unique flavor which to me defines what a cherry pie should taste like. It also it super productive. It is not quite as sweet but since sugar is added in cooking you don’t really notice the difference (its also not very much difference). I used to have three of the Hungarian ones and now I just have one large Monty in the spot where I had four trees. It is starting to ripen right now.


I’ve got all 3 of them, but Balaton and Jubileum were in pots for the first 3 years and only planted this past fall/winter. I’m still trying to reduce potted plants to temporary storage for rootstocks and seedlings- no more buying trees planning to grow them in pots. Jubileum gave me 1 cherry this year, while Balaton has been 5-8 range for the last few years. Note, my harvest is counted in cherries, while Olpea’s in measured in pounds :blush:

The Danube was a beautiful, well branched tree from Raintree which I planted in 2013. It put on almost no growth the first year and had some sort of leaf issue. It was better last year and now seems somewhat healthy. It has 5-10 cherries at the moment, but should have a lot more based on the size of the tree. Northstar has far far more on a not too much bigger tree. But NS didn’t produce much at all in past years, so maybe year #4 in-ground is the magic threshold.

I also have a Montmorency, which after 2 years in a pot is now planted (no production yet).

North Star took four years to really go into full production for me, also. Fabulous flavor, earlier ripening than Montmorency, few to no fruit fly maggots. Lost it to canker or whatever oozy stuff hit it fast & hard. If I ever plant North Star again, I will make absolutely sure it has good mulch to or even beyond the drip line, so it has no stress when a young tree.


I agree with your opinion of North Star, I’ve had great luck with mine. It’s 4th leaf and now just over 6 ft tall and with a 6 ft spread, a balanced small tree that gave a small crop in year 2, a good crop in year 3, and now in 4th leaf it’s heavily loaded with buds that will open this week. It’s planted at the end of a row containing the USask Cherries, 2 Carmine Jewels and 2 Juliet, so my tart cherry needs are filled but I’m curious about the Hungarian Cherry varieties.


I chopped my Northstar to use it as rootstock. It just got so many more diseases than good cherries. I think I’m going to graft Surefire, Montmorency or Balaton to it. They all give me way more cherries. I think if I lived in a really cold, low disease pressure place like Denver, Saskatchewan or Minneapolis, I would want to keep Northstar. Each place has some advantages.
John S

You probably already saw my post that Jubileum and Danube arent’ productive enough for me here to keep them. I’m still keeping Balaton. Danube is the sweetest and Jubileum the most complex and coolest color, but, like I said if you get 5 cherries off of a fully grown, 8 year old tree, it’s time to chop it and graft something else on it. I have already grafted Montmorency on them, which, like for most people, is my real MVP of the pie cherries.
John S

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It’s been 5 years since I posted on this thread, so my trees and experience with them are 5 years older.

Balaton are by far the best producers. Danube is the worst producer, by far. Jubileum is borderline acceptable. I planted about 20 more Jubileum trees last spring. I think I have about 17 Balaton trees. Danube is such a poor producer, it’s not worth planting.

Now that I have my deer fence pretty much completed, my plan is to start experimenting with some of the Romance bush cherries.