Sour cherry tree, Dwarf vs. Semi Dwarf

Sadly we lost our dwarf North star sour cherry tree to vole damage. All we can find is a Semi Dwarf Montmorency.

Two issues, spacing and ability to net the tree.
The space for it is a bit tight. Center of cherry tree hole to edge of two full sized peach trees to the north is 6 feet. But east, west and south no trees close by.

Then there is netting for birds. Big trees are much harder to net.

Can I prune a semi dwarf down to a bit larger than a dwarf? Or will it be just to vigorous?

montys only moderately vigorous here. id imagine you could prune it to be small. my romance cherries and lutowka rose cherry are more vigorous. the romance are considered a bush cherry and supposed to stay around 10ft.

*****Yes, I recommend the romance cherries. Nettable, reachable. Only drawback is pits too small for some pitters. Excellent flavor in pies.

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Thanks all, I’ll see what I can find

Montmorency unpruned gets very tall. I have seen and picked cherries in Door County, WI where they commercially grow a lot of them. The cherry trees they shake with a mechanical picker are tall. Those in the Upick areas are often young trees or some that were vase pruned. Those I once picked on years ago were vase pruned very nicely. It really kept the height down. But they were wide trees.

I think best to wait for a North Star. I have grown North star in my yard and it was easier to keep small for netting the tree. But I did not have a big problem with the Mesabi I grew too. Larger than North star but manageable. I grew Surecrop from Stark’s and had to do some heavy pruning to keep it low enough to easily get a net over it. It bore heavily but the fruit is on the small size.

I guess I should ask you “what is a semi-dwarf montmorency”? Are they putting it on G5 or G6 rootstock? I have seen them for sales that way sometimes and often wondered if the Gisela series worked well on them to make them semi-dwarf or not. Or are they on Krimsk?

Did you see this? North Star Hardy Dwarf Pie Cherry, Cherry: Jung Seed Company

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You can prune the tree to keep it smaller. Also, if at a certain point in time the Montmorency cherry tree starts hitting the peach tree, you could consider pruning the peach tree as well. I would try and find out what rootstock the tree is on as well since some rootstocks dwarf trees more than others. Like others have said, the Romance series cherries are a good choice especially if you don’t want too much hassle netting them.

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Why not get a Meteor sour cherry. It is a natural dwarf and taste better than a north star.


I’m super impressed with Montmorency. On year one my whip of a tree pushed cherries as best as it could, on year two it barely had a few more tiny branches and it once again pushed them cherries with gusto. This coming year is going in with more branches, still a baby tree by all measurements, but judging by how much it likes to crop it should be quite amazing for its size.

Anything can get too big if you let it. Two years ago I saw a monster of a romance cherry ‘bush’ that forgot it was supposed to be a bush. A monty is not the fastest growing tree out there and they don’t mind heavy pruning, they can be kept down in size. If they turn too vigorous you can do root pruning to slow them down.

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Again, thank you all for comments.

My issue will be availability. We have a few big box stores but they can’t say what’s coming in on the next truck. We did get our dwarf North star at Rural King 4-5 years ago and it was great. Up to now, only one nursery has any sour cherry, Montmorency semi dwarf.

I started this search 6 weeks ago. I’m ready to get something in the ground so I don’t miss planting this year. I’ll likely get the Montmorency but keep looking for another type

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Personally Montmorency is my favorite when it comes to taste so I don’t think you will go wrong with it, but others such as the Romance series cherries are great too.

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