Cherry Trees

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

               Cherry trees are radiant with pink or white springtime flowers covering the entire tree. Once late summer hits, their beauty can turn into ripe, juicy cherries. There are many different varieties of cherries, and those grown in the United States are usually separated into two categories: sweet cherries and tart, or sour cherries. It can be challenging to grow cherry trees in Wisconsin due to the harsh climate, but if the variety of cherry trees and the hardiness zones are taken into consideration, it is possible, with some tender loving care, in some areas. Door County, for example, is a familiar Wisconsin location for cherry trees. The lake effect can take the edge off some of the late spring frosts that are experienced in other areas of the state. Hardiness Zone 5 and the more southeastern counties of Wisconsin lend themselves well to cherry tree growth. 

        Sweet cherries are the ones that are typically found in the grocery store. They are plump and juicy and can be eaten right out of the bag. If you are able to grow a sweet cherry variety in your hardiness zone, you may require another variety of sweet cherry planted nearby as a cultivar for pollination. Make sure their bloom times overlap so cross-pollination can occur. Sour cherries have smaller fruit than sweet cherries and are mostly used for preserves and other cooking uses. Most sour cherry varieties generally do not require another tree for pollination but would produce better with another cherry tree present. Some cherry trees, like other fruit trees, are grafted with different varieties to assist with cross-pollination.

        Cherry trees are susceptible to root rot, so they grow best in well-drained fertile soil. These fruit trees prefer full sun conditions (6 to 8 hours a day). Pruning should be done in late winter/early spring. Cherry trees will usually start to produce fruit in their third or fourth year. Depending on if it’s a dwarf or standard size tree, trees can produce 10 to 50 quarts of fruit. Bloch’s Farm sells semi-dwarf fruit trees. These reach about 15 feet tall at maturity.

        The presence of pests and diseases should be monitored all year long and can be managed with preventive or curative measures. Raccoons and birds love cherries and can be considered pests if your trees weren’t planted for them. Methods of deterrence include covering the trees with netting or hanging scare devices such as aluminum pie pans from the tree limbs.

        Common diseases and fungi that affect cherry trees include blight, canker, and powdery mildew. One method to help protect against bacterial blight is to avoid pruning during the wettest spring timeframe. There are also a variety of insects that can affect cherry trees. Preventive measures include removing weeds and debris from around the base of trees and adding mulch. If insects or diseases are noted, there are numerous methods for managing them, ranging from trapping insects to spraying organic insecticides or fungicides.          Bloch’s Farm is open 7 days a week from 8 am to 6 pm. We have a huge selection of vegetables, herbs, trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials! Stop in today and our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you! Feel free to call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. Don’t forget to visit our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t miss out on the Father’s Day weekend sale: June 18th – June 20th: 20% Off

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