Fresh cherries are so expensive to buy. Yet, with our new, fast-bearing dwarf Giessen rootstocks, they are easy to grow and pick!
Many people have told us, ‘Full size, sweet cherry trees that grow to 40 feet tall are for the birds.’ We agree! Now it is no longer necessary to risk life or limb to pick a bowl of cherries. We are offering dwarf cherry trees, of many varieties, which will thrive in our maritime climate and in most of the nation. We use the very dwarfing Giessen 148-2 and GM 61 rootstocks.
Hardiness: Our rootstocks are hardy to at least -20° F. Sweet cherries are USDA Zones 5-9; tart cherries are USDA Zones 4-9.
Sun or shade: Full sun.
Origin: Eastern Europe.
Life expectancy: 35 years.
Years to first fruit: 2-3
Yield: Mature tree 25-50 pounds.
Pollination: Lapins, Stella, Tehranivee, White Gold, Black Gold, Vandalay and Sweatheart are self fertile. The other sweet cherries need another sweet cherry as a pollinizer. Some don't pollinate each other. See pollination chart. Tart cherries are self fertile but don't pollinize sweet cherries.
How to Grow
Soil requirements: Avoid heavy clay and wet soils for sweet cherries.
Pruning: See Tree Owners Manual that comes with each order.
Pests: Birds like cherries and eat many of them just before we humans do. Selecting varieties on our new dwarf rootstocks and using the netting and scare tape listed above, will help you get the fruit.
How to Use
In the landscape: Sweet cherry trees make attractive yard trees with their rich green, large, serrated leaves and lovely fragrant white spring blossoms. Pie cherry trees have darker leaves and make good smaller yard trees.
In the kitchen: Eat sweet cherries off the tree or can the luscious red or yellow fruit. They are also used in jams. The pits are sometimes used in cherry pit spitting contests by juveniles!! Pie cherries are eaten raw too, but their main use is in cherry pie or in sour cherry jam.
For Your Health: Tart cherry juice can reduce inflammation and is used to treat gout. Eat your cherries soon after picking because the antioxidants begin being depleted soon after picking. Among the sweet cherries, Hartland tested highest in antioxidants.
About the Giessen Dwarf
We offer virus-free cherry trees on the Giessen 148-2 rootstock, that makes a tree that can be maintained at 8-10' tall. It is also called Gisela 5. This rootstock induces early and heavy fruit production, is very winter hardy and thrives on a wide variety of soils.
This rootstock is not only very dwarfing but also disease resistant and not susceptible to virus problems. Developed over 30 years, at the University of Giessen in Germany, these rootstocks have proven their value throughout the United States in the NC 140 rootstock trials.
After a very cold winter in Germany, trees on these rootstocks set good crops where flower buds of both Colt and Mazzard hardy rootstocks were frozen back. The large royalties we have to pay on the rootstocks account for the higher price. However the years you gain in early production make it well worth it. Patents make it illegal for gardeners to propagate Giessen rootstocks without an expensive license.