Ranking of varieties of cherries, only "high quality" varieties

Hi Eric .
Of course I will explain to you why the Sweetheart cherry variety is a “disgusting” cherry variety.

Description of the variety Sweetheart

  • 1st: Structurally, it is a variety with a strong tendency to branch (emit excessive lateral branches from the main branches, which are the fruiting branches)

  • 2nd: Sweetheart, is a self-fertile variety with a tremendous tendency to overload fruits

  • 3rd: Sweetheart is a variety whith medium naturally fruit caliber (27-29 mm. )

Consequences of this bad behavior of the Sweetheart variety:

Due to its tendency to emit a lot of lateral branches and overload the harvest, when the time of harvest comes, the cherries will be harvested like chickpeas (literally).

One way to solve this problem is to carry out drastic pruning, with the consequent over-work and this increases the caliber of fruit, but tremendously reduces the volume of the harvest, making it uninteresting.

Real solutions:

Since Sweetheart has a ripening date:

  • 36 days later Burlat (reference variety in Europe)
  • 17 days after Bing (reference variety in the United States)

And since Royal Helen (one of the best late-ripening cherry varieties), ripens only 5 days before Sweetheart, the solution is very simple.

For a professional, 5 days difference in ripening dates is an important period, but 5 days for an amateur is insignificant.

Obviously I have mentioned the Royal Helen variety, because it is a fantastic late-ripening variety, easy to obtain for you , and I omit to talk about the good ultra-late-ripening German varieties such as:

  • Cerasina Final 12.1
  • Kir Rosso

Because I know perfectly well that they are varieties that are impossible for you to obtain.

Really listen to me and if you have to put a late cherry tree in your orchard, choose Royal Helen and avoid Sweetheart.

The cherry tree varieties, with a strong tendency to harvest overload, such as:

  • Nimba
  • Frisco
  • Sweetheart
  • Black Star

They are only recommended for professionals in the sector (they know perfectly well the production pruning of the cherry tree, and use fruit fattening treatments with hormonal biostimulants ), or for amateurs with extensive knowledge about the cultivation of this type of varieties.

Best regards


I purchase what’s available near me. I purchased a Sweetheart and a Bing this year. Guess, I don’t have to worry about anything being overloaded because there’s nothing but leaves this year. Don’t mind a medium size cherry as long as it taste good. If one day the Sweetheart over produce, than I will graft more Bing on it. Problem solved.

Hi frogboi.
An interesting concept to have good cherry trees in the orchard.

  • Buy the varieties sold in nearby nurseries

I recommend a different criterion, this one:

  • Choosing the appropriate rootstock for the terrain (the most important thing)

  • Choice of variety based on the requirement of cold hours

  • Choice of variety for its resistance to cracking and fungal diseases such as monilia (essential in humid climates)

  • Choice of the variety for self-fertility, and if the selected variety is self-incompatible, it is necessary to choose the most suitable pollinator variety

  • Choice of variety by taste quality, and here a high brix level intervenes, along with adequate acidity, and powerful flavor

  • Choice of variety based on fruit firmness, expressed in Durofel index (a clear example, the Canadian Sumburst variety has a large size, very good flavor, but when you put it in your mouth, is more soft than a turkey shit)

  • Choice of variety by ripening date

  • Choice of variety by fruit size

  • Choice of variety by production (I advise against hyper-productive varieties that overload the harvest)

All of this that I’m telling you is not that difficult, and in the United States you have many very good varieties (to buy in nurseries for hobbyists).

If I had followed your criteria, I would not have bought the Royal Brynn variety (from my point of view the best variety of Zaiger’s Royal series), in this nursery:

The nursery is relatively close to my house (almost 4,000 kilometers away).

But the choice of fruit trees is the decision of the owner of the orchard, who is totally free to buy and plant what he wants.

Best regards


José made good points.

I’ll add that just because your local nursery carries a certain fruit tree doesn’t mean it should be grown in your location. The only choice you are making is whether you want to buy it or not, if that makes sense.

Maybe local nurseries do a better job, but big box stores regularly sell plants that only suit the local environment for a short period of time, if at all.

The struggle of the hobby grower is no one near you is making a tree for you, they are selling a few choices that they can get a hold of. If you happen to live close to commercial orchards then you are perhaps in luck as the chances of the variety choice and rootstock it’s on has a higher chance of being a decent choice.


The tree is grown in CA because the nursery is in CA. The root stock is Mahaleb and perfect for my back or front yard. It can rain for 3 hours straight and I don’t get mud puddle. I don’t have much rain in the summer, thus cracking is not my concern. My biggest concern is pest and the height of the tree, though it can be control by pruning. I have not taste any of my cherry yet, so taste can be subjective and different depend on the region. The size of the cherry should depend how well you take care of it and what type of growing season I’m in. I should meet the minimum requirement of 700-800 chill hours. I just hope the cherry tree will surprise me with cherry next year. I can’t train the branch yet because it was pruned and the one on the trees is not flexible.

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Hello smilemore.
If you are in California, with 700-800 hours of cold and you don’t pick good cherries, it’s to kill you hahahahaha.
We will start with the rootstock, Santa Lucia (Prunus Mahaleb), it is not the saint of my devotion, so of all the cherry rootstocks, it is the preferred one as food for the larvae of xylophagous insects, in my region we have the presence of Capnodis Tenebrionis , which lays its eggs next to the trunk, the larvae descend to the roots, they can remain up to three years sucking food from the root (meanwhile the tree develops perfectly well), but in the third or fourth year, the larvae penetrate into the trunk making galleries and feeding on the wood, until they come out through tiny holes to start their reproductive cycle again, and the tree dies.
This does not happen with other rootstocks
I am sure that there is no presence of this son of a bitch bug in the United States, but I also know that you do have the presence of other xylophagous insects, so prunus Mahaleb has good agronomic behavior, but it is not recommended at all because it is so appetizing for xylophages. .
I would like to know what pests you have on your cherry trees, since it is a fruit genus that is not attacked by many pests.
If you can only afford to have two cherry trees, my recommendation would be two self-fertile varieties, of good quality, and harvest spaced over time, Royal Tioga, and Selah are two perfect candidates.
If your trees do not produce cherries, you should look at the varieties you have in case there is a problem of lack of pollination.
Regarding the size of the cherries there are several aspects.

First: The caliber that each variety naturally offers, for example SMS-280 naturally offers a caliber of 26-28 millimeters, and Giant Red Mariant offers a naturally caliber of 34-36 millimeters , that is, each variety has its own own innate caliber

Second: Cultivation practices, logically the pruning to form the structure of the tree, whatever the system ( Spanish Bush, KGB, etc…) must be well carried out to support an adequate fruit load, and once The tree is adult, the winter pruning of fruiting must be according to each variety (it is not the same to prune a Nimba cherry tree since it needs aggressive pruning, than a Summit cherry tree, which only needs a height reduction pruning)

Third: The fattening of fruits using hormonal biostimulants, the effect is truly incredible and increases the caliber of the fruit tremendously, it only has a slight drawback, and that is that it only minimally increases the acidity of the fruit (only minimally).

If you have bought the trees in a non-specialized nursery, it is very likely that they sold it to you with the primary branches at a very high height (3.2 feet or more), and the cherry tree has a training pruning where the primary branches that begin The tree structure must be 1.3 feet from the ground.

If you show us some photographs, maybe I can guide you.

Best regards

Yeah, I got the joke. Hahaha.

The major pests I have are grasshopper, sharp shooter, foot leaf hopper, Japanese beetle, aphid, stink bug, and scaly. There could be more bugs, but I’m not aware of them.

The tree is 5 to 6 feet high. 2 leader on top and they are the same size. There are 3 or 4 lateral branches on the both sides. Almost shape like espalier.

I never use biostimulants. I just wood chip and fertilize the tree 3 times a year. Most of the time I use organic fertilizer.

Hello Jose, on the subject of biostimulants, could you tell us what you use and what usually works for you so that we know what to add to improve our crops.

Another question is that there are cherries of quite large caliber like the one you name “Giant Red Mariant”, it works in the Albacete area and if it is also easy to get it in Spain, I am very interested in the “Nadia” variety which says that they are very fat and good, although it is not a cherry if it is not mixed. You will now enlighten us on which cherries have a large caliber.

thank you for your teaching

Hi Raul.
The fattening treatment of cherries is for professional use and is kept a bit secret.
Given that this is a forum for amateurs, I consider that these types of matters should not be discussed in an open forum.
The province of Albacete in Spain is one of the best provinces for cherry cultivation, since we have very cold winters, very warm summers, and little or no rain during the cherry ripening period, so we do not suffer from problems of cracking in our region.

There are quite a few large caliber varieties (they are not easy to obtain for a simple hobbyist), I would highlight these varieties for their enormous caliber.

  • Royal Bailey ( Royal Ansel )
  • Royal Brynn
  • Royal Helen
  • Royal Edie
  • SMS-22 Rocket
  • Giant Red Mariant
  • Catania
  • Big Lory
  • Big Star
  • Summit
  • Selah
  • Tieton
  • Sweet Lorenz
  • Sweet Stephany
  • Sweet Valina
  • Carmen ( I’ve seen cherries of this variety whit 42-44 mm )
  • Tamara
  • Felicita
  • Horka
  • Etc…

Nadia is an interspecific hybrid of plum x cherry, I have two trees, it is not a variety to shoot fireworks, since it is necessary to let the fruit fully ripen on the tree, to appreciate minimal notes of cherry flavor ( nothing from another planet ).

I have much more hope with the variety Verry Cherry Plum (from Zaiger), since it is the magician of interspecifics, and no breeder in the world surpasses the flavor of Zaiger’s interspecific varieties.
If you don’t know the Verry Cherryplum variety, this is it


Best regards

Thank you Jose, for those of you who don’t know him, it is a pleasure to have you in this forum and above all to teach us varieties and advice for your crops. At my young age, according to many, it is often difficult for me to understand or know how some trees work better than others, many times you go to nurseries and they tell you to take this variety that is very good, they never tell you the rootstock, nor do they tell you when it ripens well, or pollination, thanks to Jose I have obtained an apricot variety that promises a lot, Stromboli variety, I am very excited to have it.

Of the varieties that you have given me of cherries, I could get some at an amateur level to buy already grafted, I am crazy about buying varieties of cherries that are plump and can adapt well to our land.

greetings Raúl

Hello Jose. I’d like to hear what information you have on Big Star if any. Thank you

Big Star Cherry





Cherry variety Big Star of the series Star developed in collaboration between the CRPV and the University of Bologna. Big Star® ripens in medium-late period and shows excellent features: self fertile, good-looking fruit and excellent organoleptic qualities .

Tree: Plant is very vigorous, with standard carriage. Medium to high productivity.

Editor: CRPV - Italy (Protected variety, requiring minimum purchasing)

Flowering: Medium blossoming period, consistently high. Self-fertile variety.

Maturation: Late ripening time, about 37 days after Burlat in Italy.

Fruit: The Big Star® fruit is heart-shaped and symmetrical, of large size and it has a red skin with bright purple blush. Good shelf life after harvest; susceptible to cracking.

Taste: This cherry has good flesh firmness, good sugar content and low acidity: excellent organoleptic characteristics.

Best regards

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Preparing rootstock for next year (I have prepared 35)

Photos :

This cherry rootstock is very very very good, but they don’t sell it, and you have to prepare it yourself.

The bottom is the GxN 15 Garnem hybrid rootstock (Garfi almond x Nemared peach), which is extremely vigorous, and similar to the North American “Titan” rootstock:

and the grafted cutting is Monrepos plum, to make it compatible with cherry.

Best regards

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Found an article on Monrepos. So it has open pollinated Myrobalan parentage. They mention Adara as well.


Went to look around if new inventory of cherry show up. To my surprise, they got Rainer and Brook cherry. My girl wanted the Rainer, but I decided on the Brook. I’m sure Rainer tasted better than a Brook, but the Brook cherry was development in CA while the Rainer was in WA. Brook won in my climate and it does have a slightly bigger trunk. After moving the chicken coop, we make room for 1 more cherry. Brook ripen 10-15 ahead of Bing. Sweetheart ripen 3 weeks or a month after Bing. Now I can have the early cherry, mid cherry, and the late cherry.

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My goodness Smilemore, you have not taken into account the most important thing, and now you will be in a bind to be able to have an early maturing cherry tree.
Tomorrow, when it is my day off, I will explain to you the mistake you have made and I will open a specific thread so that no one makes the mistake you have made.


Sometime thing might surprise you. I purchased an apple tree on M111 root stock last year. Some people say it may take 4 to 5 year on that root stock to get an apple. This year, I got flowers on several branches.

You are talking to a guy that grow apples from seed. In addition, growing blood oranges from seed. The blood orange are going into the 8th season. No orange yet. However, they are healthy and 3 of them are 6 feet tall. 1 of them was over 7 feet tall, but the fire damaged it. Now, it’s 4 feet tall with a navel orange grafted to the top. I grow loquats from seed, grapefruit from seed, grape from seed, couple of pears from seed. I know everybody have a different philosophy about plant and how to grow them.

I would not call it a mistake, but I made a choice. I can always graft a mature cherry scion onto them next year. I’m open to ideas and I’m willing to experiment. Finally, what is more important than love.

Hi smilemore again.
I’ll very quickly summarize the mistake you made.
You have not taken pollination into account.

  • Sweetheart belongs to the group of early flowering cherry trees, with S3S4 alleles, it is a self-fertile variety

  • Brooks belongs to the group of medium flowering cherry trees, with S1S9 alleles, it is a self-incompatible variety

In other words, Sweetheart is not a Brooks pollinator, and since you want to have a third early-maturing cherry tree, you must necessarily choose a variety with mid-flowering dates , and adecuate alleles to pollinate Brooks, and in that group of cherries of mid-flowering dates , is tremendously difficult to find any early maturing variety

As you say, love is very important, so if you do not put a variety of cherry tree that gives “love” to Brooks, it will only produce shadow.

Best regards

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Hello, Mr. Jose, of the 4-70 variety, what could you tell me? It is worth having it in our area of Albacete, this year if nothing happens I will try one. Graft this year the variety Starking, Black Star, Sylvia, Brooks, apart I have burlat that is good for pollination I understand and sunburst that I have read comments of yours that is not the best for your taste. Next year I hope to have a better repertoire and be able to eat good cherries. Thank you and good day

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Hi Raul, don’t call me Mr, Jose is more than enough jajajaja.
All the cherry trees you have except Brooks, are pretty mediocre.
Brooks has incredible characteristics, since it is one of the varieties that holds the fruit the longest on the tree, so its harvest time can be extended a lot in time, it has a good caliber of about 29-30 mm, it is productive but It does not overload the harvest, and the flavor is very good.
Tell me if you know how to perform crown grafts so you can change the varieties of the rest of your cherry trees for other, infinitely better varieties.

Best regards

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