New planting / Spacing

Getting ready to drop 3 semi dwarf cherry trees in the ground and cannot determine the appropriate spacing for them. Some sites say 15ft, others less. Then there is Dave Wilson Nursery video that shows 3 in 18 inches, which I’m not sold on.

Already confirmed the sun exposure is between 8 and 9 hrs per day so I’m good there.

Any advise from the more experienced is appreciated.

You determine spacing from 18 inches to 25 feet. A semi-dwarf will grow to be quite large if not pruned. Even Gisela a dwarfing rootstock can grow to about 12 feet. I spaced mine at 8 feet and plan to keep them 8 feet tall. Some plant closer, you decide spacing and height by how aggressively you want to prune. With cherries you have multiple options on how to prune, central leader, modified central leader, open vase, KGB, and many others. With my cherry I choose KGB.
Alan lets them get fairly tall to keep squirrels off. Then starts scaffolds up higher. Scott uses like a V system where the trees are kept in one plane, south-north, or east-west and planted very close together. Steve has a greenhouse and kinda has a central leader-cordon type pruning. Well the latter two are more for other stone fruits, not sure they grow cherries like that?

Yes, it’s completely up to you regarding spacing, tree height, and for just about everything! Smaller trees make for easier BirdBlocking and other chores. Smaller trees need less space, less space means more trees and less real estate to traverse/irrigate/mulch/maintain.

1 Like

MrClint has some cool looking trees spaced close. I have to try that 2-4 in one hole one day. I’m going the grafting root for now. I bit more less pruning. Hopefully I won’t prune any grafts off!

1 Like

Thanks for the insight. 8ft tall and pruned KGB method seems like the most logical way to go after a few google searches.

Their is Utube video on KGB that is decent.

Drew and Mike,
After about to jump into KGB style, it has dawned on me that my tree will have no permanent scaffolds. The concept is to create new wood every few years to maximize yield. It would be impossible to graft new varieties on it, isn’t it?

Also, I have to really like my tree on KGB style as I am stuck with it. At this point, I do not know if I would like it.

Mamuang, my understanding is that 4-5 scaffolds right near the trunk (which you select in the first season) are permanent and a larger number of leaders (20-30 at second year, 12-20 at maturity) that grow from the scaffolds are replaceable. So, you cannot have a frankentree with the KGB system, but you can have a tree with 4-5 varieties on it, if you graft early.

I don’t grow cherries but I find this video interesting because of the rows of fabric surrounding the trees right up to the trunks. I have a similar setup with my dwarf apple trees but have left about a 1-2 foot opening around the trees that I use to put down granular fertilizer. I wonder how these trees get fertilized? I guess using fertigation, not sure how else it would be done. The setup sure cuts down on weeding and looks pretty good.

You are right, Stan. Thanks for pointing it out.

A couple of things that I’m up against are no success in grafting sweet cherry and my tree is not that young (going to the 3 rd leave). I probably won’t convert it to KGB after all.

In the video, what exactly does he mean by 3rd leaf, 4th leaf 5th leaf?

Years in the ground.

Yeah I thought about grafting too. I guess I’ll have to get another! I don’t see grating on it. Mine is self fertile, but it would be nice to try the trees you guys have too.

My tree is third leaf; It has some fruit buds, maybe 30 to 40. Enough to get my first taste. It is a White Gold, a proven good cherry. Here’s what it looks like.
<img src="/uploads/default/original/2X/d/de9cdb80108a37faaa71bf74c2a8d24c9cd5285e.JPG"width=“562” height=“1000”>

Not ideal but OK, that main branch will be the first to go. Probably next year. I will take it right out. Open it up too. Enough remaining scaffolds for Gisela 5.

Note that it rained all day one day, The next day snow 1/2 the day and rained the 2nd half. Ton’s and ton’s of water, yet that copper is all over it! I still have puddles in the yard. Nu film 17 sticker, what a fantastic product!

This tree was planted in 2014. I liked the scaffolds on it (different levels, different directions, almost ideal). A little higher than ideal, about 2.5 feet. I decided to leave them. So I cut the scaffolds back to 6 inches. Here is is after the first cut on 2014 05 02.

1 Like