I’ve heard about some folks getting rain crack on Montmorency type cherry trees but I’ve got one in at a rental in town and an Early Richmond out here that’s been in the ground since '95 and I’ve never had a rain crack on either of these two trees that I know about.
On the other hand, I have a Northstar and 5 Carmine Jewel bushes that have each have had cherry rain crack issues.
Last year was the worst, but I heard we also had the third wettest summer in Iowa’s recorded history so that was no doubt a factor.
This year has also been real rainy here, and I had some that rain cracked, but not really too bad on a percentage basis. But the cracking was only on the CJ’s this year, nothing on the Northstar for some reason. But again the Monty and ER just NEVER rain crack for me.
I will say that I planted the Northstar in 2011 and this year I got the most I’ve ever gotten off of him, just about two gallons…
On the other hand, I harvested 16 gallons off of my 5 CJ bushes (three were planted in '11 & two in '12)
I think the Northstar and the Carmine Jewel are kinda similar too. I think they have some Mongolian parentage or something that is the same.
I really like the bush cherries for the ease of spraying and harvesting, and if you wanted to net against birds that could be done easier than any tree.
My CJ’s are growing bigger than advertized though, the biggest being over 9’ tall and maybe close to that wide. So I’m glad I put them on 12’ centers. Even at that height you can pull the branches down to pick the fruit so it’s not a huge deal, but something that anyone with limited space may be interested in.
I planted a couple Crimson Passion last April as little 12-14" pencil looking things, and by the end of
summer they were 4’ tall.
So the bush cherries grow quick, and produce quick too. It’s just whether or not you prefer the Morello type (dark red/mahogany color skin, flesh, & juice) and are willing to put up with a chance of rain crack. I like them a lot BTW, and our unusually wet past two springs and early summers make it hard for me to fault the CJ’s or the Northstar. It won’t always be this wet here.
If you want a traditional brighter red skin, yellow flesh and clear juice then a Montmorency is the standard that others are judged by. But I want to say about 95% of all tart cherries marketed in our country are Montmorency. (I happen to be partial to my Early Richmond, but I think the ER could never be commercially successful due to the pits being somewhat smaller and so they wouldn’t work in commercial pitters I guess)
Anyway, that’s my two cents worth on the varieties I’m familiar with. But on the location I agree with the folks telling you that cherries don’t like wet feet.
Good luck and welcome!