Sweet Cherry pollination issues

I planted Hudson and Regina sweet cherry in 2018. Trees are about 15 feet tall and have had some blossoms for two years…no fruit yet at all…planted Black Gold in 2023…intend to plant Attika in 2024…have read that Regina pollination is problematic…what else can I do to get fruit before I die?

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It sounds like the trees are just too young to set. My Regina took several years to fruit but now it is super productive. You should have tons of good pollination with those trees, I only have White Gold and Black Tartarian for my Regina.

Once you get fruit on Regina make sure to pick them at dark red, they are tempting to pick early as they are all red, but they are an inferior cherry at that point.

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For what it’s worth…I spoke with a commercial grower in Red Hook NY (Dutchess County) who grows over a dozen varities…so he has seen no pollination issues but suffers from late spring frosts. He did make a point of liking the variety Benton very much… a self fruitful late mid season blooming variety…I ordered one and along with another later blooming self fruitful variety Skeena. So I will have Skeena / Benton / Black Gold / Hudson / Regina…all late midseason to late bloomers…I did not realize how difficult sweet cherries are to grow…especially in the East …hopefully my first fruit next year…year #7 for Regina and Hudson

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I’ve been growing cherries for over 30 years about 30 miles south of you in Putnam county (no river weather influence). Cherries are not comparatively hard to grow as trees and pollination is not a big issue with most common varieties. They take longer than most other stone fruit to begin bearing reliably. although some E. plums take as long.

What makes them hard in humid regions is the tendency for fruit to crack when it rains shortly before harvest, and it usually does. Home growers often don’t get first of the day sun on their trees like commercial growers do, and this increases the chances of cracked fruit or even blossom rot when early springs are quite wet.

And then there is the usual requirement to net them to protect them from birds. At most sites I manage they need both squirrel baffles and nets, which is a royal PIA, but a hungry squirrel will rip through even the strongest plastic nets. .

A single insecticide spray is all that is needed here to protect them from plum curculio- an advantage provided by their early ripening, and I’m sure a couple apps of Surround would work almost as well, but as soon as they split they start to rot. To harvest them ripe and split I have to eat some fungicide and the only one that works for me (to save split cherries) is Indar.

Varieties sold as split resistant only take you so far. I’ve tried all the recent Cornell releases and in spite of claims they still all tend to split.

I don’t recommend more than one tree in a home orchard and grafting an early ripening variety on something that ripens later. Unless you have a big family, you can only eat so many and they just aren’t especially reliable producers here. It’s boom and bust. They are more reliable where they get early morning sun. The sooner the dew dries, the less cracking and blossom rot, so good air circulation also helps… I happen to live in a protected hollow where dew tends to linger even beyond the issue of sun exposure. .

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yep…I should have qualified my statement about sweet cherries being hard to grow…in a good site, the trees grow fine…it’s getting eatable fruit that is difficult…I believe I have a good site as the trees get full sun and the site is well drained. The Regina and Hudson trees have grown well and are at least 13 ft in 6 years…I know when I bought them, I was looking for late blooming varieties to avoid spring frosts…I found out since that Hudson is known to be late to bear and Regina is known to have pollination issues…so probably the 6 years with no fruit is not unexpected…Still, I anxiously await next year for my first fruit and I fully expect the Black Gold to eventually solve any pollination issues. Both “supposedly” are crack resistant…Regina especially so…what insecticide do you recommend for curculio and is Indar available in smaller quantities than 1 gal? I can manage squirrel baffles and can pick off birds from my front porch…I want to be ready should I get some fruit next year as I have only a limited number of growing seasons left…thanks for your insights.

Go to guides section and look up my low-spray article.

I don’t know what rootstocks you are using, but even the geisla semi-dwarfing one I use does not insure bearing before 6 years for me, and I have tricks to accelerate fruiting.

…so 2024 now and Regina has its first fruit (7 years)…not too many as the pollinating tree (Hudson) had few blossoms and no fruit that I can see…the Black Gold I planted last year is thriving…added Benton (recommended by commercial grower in Red Hook…Rose Hill Farms…24 miles north of me) and Skeena this year…probably have the local market cornered on late blossoming late maturing sweet cherries…next issue will be the birds…already planning my attack…ideas anyone?..Ron

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My Regina had lots of fruits abort this year, that usually doesn’t happen with it. Maybe it got worn out from last year, it had a ridiculous crop. Make sure to let Regina hang a very long time, they are red way way before they are at optimal ripeness. It took me several years to catch on to that.

Re: birds, my recent strategy is to make a “fence” of bird scare tape around the tree — 6’ or so pieces at 2’ or so intervals around the tree which hang to near the ground. As long as I get this up before the cherries are red at all I get a good crop. … In fact I will need to get going on that soon, I see some cherries starting to turn already.

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…thanks…will keep that in mind…my cherries are planted within 41 feet of a very heavy traveled road…with many cars / trucks zooming by at 55MPH…hope the wind and disturbances will discourage the birds…at least during daytime…I’ve noticed that a viburnum dilitatum and two hollies that produce berries profusely and are only 18 feet off the road keep a lot of their berries on till spring in contrast to the rest of the yard…it’s a shot…Ron