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Growing cherries

Cherry
First fruit on cherry Regina in 2015

As one of my bargain mystery fruit trees, cherry Regina got plonked in a tub and forgotten about. Even so, she flowered but did not bear fruit until 2015.

There’s a difference of opinion as to whether she is self-fertile, or needs a pollinator. She appears to be the first, luckily.

She’s very hardy, a sweet German cherry, grown commercially, even in Norway, and has lovely spring blossom.

From July to August, the tree produces firm red fruits.

I’ll put her in one the raised beds, I thought. As ever, I wouldn’t wait for an extra pair of hands and decided to do the job myself.

I got the tree out of the tub, but digging the hole proved a little more difficult. A spit below soil level, I hit yellow clay and rubble.

This was too shallow for the root ball, so she ended up in a little castle, fashioned out of spare bricks to bring the soil level up to the right height.

Luckily for her, she got moved again when the greenhouse came along, into a double depth raised bed with the raspberries.

She’s settled in nicely – and the red cherries we got were delicious.


Pruning cherries

Cherry Regina
Blossom on cherry Regina about to open

You don’t prune members of the cherry family (Prunus) in winter, to avoid silver leaf disease. Any pruning that needs doing is carried out in midsummer, apart from formative pruning.

In the first spring after planting, choose three or four well-spaced branches on a clear trunk of at least 75cm (29″), and shorten them by two-thirds.

Remove the central stem to just above the highest of the selected branches. Remove any laterals below the selected branches.

The following spring, select three or four sub laterals on each branch and shorten these by half to create an open framework.

In future years, cherries will require only occasional pruning to remove damaged, badly placed or diseased wood in the summer.