Many people are wondering life span, ripening times etc. Of prarie cherries and Laura explains that in this article on this website Cherries on the Prairies | Jensen's Nursery and Garden Centre
" CHERRIES ON THE PRAIRIES by Laura Rempel
I’ve been dreaming and scheming for a number of years now. Not that you would know it, by looking at my front garden. I have a small yard, and that’s my entire problem. You see, I want cherries. In my yard. And I can’t have them. Ten years ago, I was looking for an attractive, small tree to put in my front yard. I wish I had known more about cherries back then.
The only cherries I knew of were the Nanking cherries, and I wasn’t interested in a large shrub taking up a large portion of my space. Nanking cherries are in the 6 foot range, generally growing as tall as they are wide. They have beautiful, fragrant spring blooms and the fruit makes lovely jam and pies, but can also be eaten out of hand. The tart fruit is small, only ½ an inch or less, but a single bush can yield over 10 pounds of fruit.
The Nanking cherry is a lovely specimen plant, but also makes a beautiful hedge, as does the Prinsepia cherry. Both should, however, only be pruned after blooming, but use gloves while pruning the Prinsepia to protect yourself from the spiny branches. The Prinsepia cherries are also edible (although tart) and the birds do love them. The shrub turns a beautiful gold in the fall. Its size is similar to the Nanking, so it still would not have been a good choice for my yard.
But then I met Evans. (The Evans cherry, to be specific.) Named after the plant researcher who found it, Dr. Ieuan Evans, it is everything I’ve ever wanted for my small front garden. It is a small tree, growing to a height of about13 feet, with a spread of 10 feet. The tree flowers with masses of white blooms in early spring, and the fruit is large (1” in diameter) and is excellent for baking, jams and wine. It also has excellent flavour eaten right off the tree, however, the longer the cherries are left on the tree, the darker and sweeter they become!The foliage turns a beautiful yellow-orange in the fall. It is self-pollinating, and ripens by mid-summer with a very good yield. It even has an interesting history; the cherry was found by Dr. Ieuan Evans, growing in an established orchard northeast of Edmonton since 1923. He took some suckers from the trees, began propagating them, and now, it is the No. 1 selling cherry tree in Canada.
Even though the Evans cherry is my favourite, I should try to be a bit more impartial, because there are many more wonderful, hardy cherries that have been bred for the prairies. The University of Saskatchewan has come out with a cultivar called Carmine Jewel. It is an 8 ft by 6 ft shrub that also has ornamental value; very large flowers and glossy leaves. The cherries are dark red, almost purple, and moderately sweet (brix 17). This cultivar is the earliest to ripen, during late July. The fruit is good for fresh eating, jams and jellies, and wine.
In fact, the University of Saskatchewan has been breeding sour cherry cultivars for over 60 years. The two sweetest cherries of these cultivars are Crimson Passion and Romeo. They both have a brix 22, but the Crimson Passion ripens slightly earlier with larger fruit, is shorter by a foot (at 5.5 feet) and the least likely to sucker. Unfortunately, they are both a little less hardy when they are still “young.” Crimson Passion has been known to produce fewer cherries, but the fruit has the best texture. If you are most interested in harvesting for juice, Romeo would be the best choice, as it also has a high yield.
Cupid is the latest to ripen, with the largest fruit, moderate sweetness and good flavour.
Juliet and Valentine both ripen early to mid-August, with similar size fruits. Juliet is the second sweetest, so it is very good for eating fresh, but also for processing. Valentine is the most tart of all the cherries, coming in at a brix 15, so it is mostly recommended for cooking and jam. It is also the most prone to suckering, and the tallest at 8 feet.
All sour cherry cultivars are self-pollinating, which is good if you only have room for one plant. For the most part, the cultivars are moderate to high producers, but you may have some competition from the wildlife – birds and chipmunks enjoy them, too. Fruit production will start within the second year. The lifespan of the cherry trees and shrubs is about 30 years, with a medium growth rate, so you’ll be enjoying your cherry harvest for a very long time!"
Another great resource for information is www.artsnursery.com as shown below.
" Thursday, April 18, 2013
Dwarf Cherries-An Exciting Edible
Posted By: in Fruit Trees
One of the exciting new edibles I’ve added to my collection is the University of Saskatchewan’s Bush Cherry. They’ve crossed a Sour Cherry with a Mongolian Cherry and have come up with a variety of new smaller, very hardy tart-sweet bush cherries.
Photo Courtesy: GoodFruit.Com
Now hybridizing is not new, and it is not genetic modification. It is a patience and time eating task involving pollinating the flower of one cherry cultivar or variety with the flower of another cherry variety and then planting the seeds of those cherries and waiting to see how they fruit and then testing hardiness and growth habit. Cross pollination occurs in nature…in fact, that is how we can come up with 7000 plus apple varieties.
So the University of Saskatchewan has come up with a smaller bushier hardy cherry like its Mongolian relative (prunus fruiticosa) with all the tartness of a Montmorency pie cherry and all the sugars of a Bing. Well done U of Sask!
They are relatively trouble free shrubs which thrive in full sun (or at least 6 hours of it to produce the best sugars) in an average well drained soil. They can be planted in containers. They are said to be self fruitful though most likely benefit from having a second different variety around.
They have white single blossoms in the spring and fruit in July. The longer the cherries hang on the shrubs, the higher the brix, or sugar. The cherries will not drop like a Bing, they will hang on the shrub and will even dry if you leave them long enough. These cherries are great fresh and fantastic dried or in pies or preserves. They are high in vitamin C and Vitamin A as well as anthocyanins which help to reduce inflammation. The smaller shrub size makes it less attractive to the birds and easier to net if needed. There are several notable varieties each with its one unique characteristics.
Carmine Jewel Dwarf Cherry
Crimson Passion Dwarf Cherry
Cupid Dwarf Cherry
Juliet Dwarf Cherry
Romeo Dwarf Cherry
Valentine Dwarf Cherry
Photos Courtesy: University of Saskatchewan
Carmine Jewel – Zone 2-8. This shrub produces almost black red berries in mid- July. They are great in pies, preserves, juices and dried. It is a tarter cherry but many do love it fresh. It is the earliest producer.
Crimson Passion – Zone3-8. This shrub produces dark red berries late July early August. It is the sweetest of all bush cherries with a whopping 22brix. Crimson Passion does not sucker and is a slower grower very well suited to pot culture.
Romeo – Zones 3-8. Romeo produces a dark black red sweet/sour cherry. It is one of the largest and best for producing juice. It is later than Carmine Jewel. It is great for fresh eating as well.
Juliet – Zones 2-8. Juliet produces a dark red cherry. Very good for eating fresh out of hand as well as for making pies, juice and jams. It had very high sugars and is a very productive bush. The pits are large enough to use a crank pit remover if you are making pies.
Valentine – Zones 2-8. Valentine produces a scarlet red tart cherry. The red colour holds in pies and no dye is necessary. It is also great in juice. It is very productive.
Cupid – Zones 2-8. Cupid produces the largest of the cherries and blooms 1 week later than the others. It has great balanced sweet tart flavour for fresh eating, jams and juicing.
I have a number of these in my yard and have had the chance to taste a cherry or two from the bushes. They have a tangy flavour that I adore. I look forward to them producing more and comparing the flavours. This is very exciting for me because I don’t really have space for a larger cherry tree."
I feel confident right now all we can do is improve these little bushes from here on. Wait until we all 5 or 6 varities and they start making natural crosses and those get named!