Wild Cherry Cultivation?

Has anyone tried to tame a wild cherry tree? Obviously, all cultivated fruits are descendants of wild fruits, but…I’ve got some Pin Cherry (Prunus Pensylvanica) on the property that put out Bing-like cherries. The fruit size is about 40% of a commercial cherry, maybe a bit less. They taste great and are definitely worth picking. I’ll try to get some photos this year.

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The bike trail near my house has lots of large “wild sweet cherry” trees along the pathway. The cherries are like mini Bings and very tasty, hardy and disease free, just small. I keep meaning to take some cuttings from the good ones and graft them on a dwarf rootstock. I assume they are sweet cherry seedling trees. The trail used to be a railroad track and I wonder if people used to spit cherry seeds from the train cars because there are no other wild sweet cherry trees like that around here, only the wild astringent “black cherry” trees.

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Speaking of such things, yeah the wild black cherry is used to make commercial products. Wild cherry bark is a herbal supplement. Makes good smoking wood, so chips can be sold. A specialty product would do well. Like Italian black cherries in syrup are unreal. The best cherry flavor ever! A syrup with small cherries whole but pitted would be great on ice cream, or a single cherry in cocktails (what the blacks are used for)
These whole cherries in syrup are very expensive. Fantastic though, worth every penny.
https://www.amazon.com/slp/black-cherries-in-syrup/wt55ttreavga7ox

I love anything cherry. I would be foraging them. I have cornus mas which is a dogwood. But the fruit is cherry like and would make a top rate syrup or ice cream flavor. Not for fresh eating, way too tart. I still have not had enough ripen to make syrup. I will one of these years! My trees are getting bigger.

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Interesting, I’ll have to get a better ID. I’m pretty sure these cherries are true wild pin cherries. We have loads of them around here. I assume these trees are just better because they are in the open and able to spread and get good sun. Google said there is some commercial growing efforts for pin cherry. I noticed these to be pretty disease free, too.

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Prunus serotina, Black Cherry, noted for beautiful wood for furniture and for BBQ smoking, doesn’t produce edible fruit. The fruits are BB size and are all stone with little to no flesh around it. Prunus serotina is incompatible with sweet and sour cherry, rejecting grafts. Pin Cherry, Prunus pensylvanica allegedly will accept sweet or sour cherry grafts. We have both on our property. Our Black Cherry is huge, 3’ wide trunks about 100’ tall. Pin Cherry is short lived and I’ve never seen it fruit here. Interesting that yours fruits.

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They may be naturalized sweet cherry Prunus avium. At my house growing up in NJ, there were lots of wild cherry trees with good sized fruit (smaller than commercial, but way bigger than choke or pin cherries). Some were a little sour, some were sweet, all were good. I had spent a lot of time trying to ID them from a field guide that only includes native species, but it never quite fit. I eventually realized that they are P avium escaped from cultivation.

If you look at the map linked below, you can see that they are widely naturalized east of the Mississippi.
https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PRAV
***Note - just because a state or county is blank doesn’t mean it’s definitely not there, just that the folks who maintain this database couldn’t find a reliable source demonstrating its presence.

@AndySmith, I see pin cherries fruit reliably here in New Hampshire, but they seem to get eaten by birds within a few days of ripening.

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We make “cherry bounce” with prunus serotina. Black cherry grows wild and plentiful is So. Louisiana. I planted a row of them for easier picking than going in the woods.

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I have picked and tried to eat native pin cherry in central Wisconsin near a cabin we once owned. So tart in my mouth and somewhat bitter that I soon spit it out. Surprised some have “tasty bing-like pin cherries”. Pin cherry must have a lot of variation in genetics based on locality if yours are that tasty and mine is not fit for any living thing to eat.

I also had native chokecherries on the same property. While inedible raw the chokecherry jelly made from the fruit was wonderful.

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Pin Cherry is plentiful here, but I’ll go take some photos of the trees that put out the nice cherries today. I haven’t bothered to properly identify them.

Here are my “Pin Cherries.” You can see the striped trunk of the good cherry next to a wild black cherry in a couple pics.

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Here’s a relevant page from the Peterson’s trees and shrubs guide. fire cherry = pin cherry. Can you get a look at the buds and twigs?

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same here. pin cherry is all over the edges of farmland here. its one of the earliest to bloom but I’ve never seen it fruit.

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yep thats the pins we have here. i have dozens of seedlings of this growing in my back yard. any chance you could send me a few scions of yours that i could graft onto mine? they grow like weeds here. it would be nice to have a few that have good fruit. like Drew , i love cherries!

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The bark on the big one looks more like sour cherry to me, but close examination of the twigs and buds will provide the correct answer.

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You’ll have to remember to message me when you want wood, I am sure I would forget. I’ll try to post pics of the cherries when they mature.

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Definitely smooth brown bark with no cracking, but young leaves are showing fewer veins than your guide book?

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I wouldn’t worry about the number of veins too much. It looks like crowded twig ends, which points to fire/pin cherry. Looks like I was wrong!

I appreciate the help.

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I’d be interested in trying to grow them from pits!

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