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Growing Cherries Naturally

 
steward
Posts: 2782
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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I wanted to make this thread to help me keep track of and document growing my cherry trees, with hopefully minimal work and maximum harvests!

They won't be irrigated, fertilized, or sprayed with anything, not even organic fertilizers or sprays, just naturally healthy soil, rain and sunshine!

They will be minimally pruned, if pruned at all. With minimal care, they can be truly enjoyed to the fullest! Bring on the yummy harvests!

Hopefully it can be helpful to others also!

If you'd like to stay up to date with the latest videos of what I'm growing and see monthly food forest tours, you can subscribe to my Youtube channel HERE by clicking the red subscribe button! I'd love to have you join me for this journey!
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2782
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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This is a cherry tree that has been growing pretty well in our warm climate.

It is a little taller than me, and I hope to get the first harvest of cherries next year!
Cherry-tree.jpg
Cherry tree
Cherry tree
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2782
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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This cherry tree is about 3 years old.

Cherries are rare in our area due to the heat and humidity, but this cherry is a vigorous grower and has been growing really well here so far!

I thought it was going to produce some fruit this year, but it didn't end up producing any this year. I hope to get the first harvest of cherries next year though!

 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2782
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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This other cherry tree is the same age as the one above.

It's been a little more susceptible to some slight disease issues here in the past, but it has battled through them well and those few cases have decreased more and more as it has gotten older and stronger.

It has been putting on a lot of new growth this year and growing well!

 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2782
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
1014
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Both cherry trees flowered and started to produce a little fruit in 2020, but the fruit dropped while it was still small, which is common the first year they fruit. The trees were the most healthy this past year with the bigger mounds around them, despite the heavy rains we had during the summer, and they kept healthy green leaves until Fall.

These were the new fruit buds forming in October.
20201003_173513.jpg
Lots of cherry tree fruit buds
Lots of cherry tree fruit buds
20201003_173756.jpg
Cherry fruit bud cluster close up
Cherry fruit bud cluster close up
 
Posts: 278
Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
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Hi, I like your trees and hope they do well. I also appreciate your method of care and production for your trees.  I just wanted to give you something to mull over.  I have a friend who grows extra sweet and vibrant cherries. She puts organics around the roots. The only spray she has used is Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide. She has found that the breakdown of hydrogen and oxygen inside the trees, and her other plants, have lead to amazing results. The trees resist diseases better, seem to have increased fruit output, and attract beneficial insects and repel unwanted insects. She is not allowed to sell her cherry s because the FDA has closed her down for not using an approved poison. Food grade h2o2 is not poisonous.  I don't think many people know the benefits of it. If anyone buys a 50 gallon drum of it, it is best to tell them it is for cleaning machinery organically. At least that way you can still sell your produce.

Anyway I hope you have luck with your trees this year.
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2782
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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Thanks Arthur!

I bet there's a lot of cherry growing in your area. Wish we had that here!

I've been really impressed by how much the disease and pest resistance has increased in these cherry trees naturally by just giving them well drained soil and having diverse plants growing all around them.

The well draining and fertile soil seems to have helped the most with disease issues, while the plant diversity has seemed to help the most with pest issues, mainly by attracting large numbers of beneficial and predatory insects to the food forest.

Hoping to taste my first home grown cherries in just a few months!
 
Arthur Angaran
Posts: 278
Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
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Hi Steve,  Great YouTube channel. Wish I could get things to grow like you. You have been very blessed.
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2782
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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The cherry buds are about to open!

The trees look like they will have a lot of flower buds. Hopefully I'll get to taste the first cherries from these trees this year!
20210321_171634.jpg
Cherry bud cluster
Cherry bud cluster
20210321_171755.jpg
Lots of cherry buds
Lots of cherry buds
20210321_171716.jpg
Cherry bud clusters
Cherry bud clusters
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2782
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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The cherry flowers started to open a little about a week ago!

This will be the second year my two older cherries have bloomed. The first year they had just a few flowers, and the fruit fell off since the tree was still pretty young.

I hope to get my first cherry harvest this year!
20210328_174602(0).jpg
Cherry flower!
Cherry flower!
20210328_174618.jpg
Cherry flower buds
Cherry flower buds
20210328_174545.jpg
Cherry flower buds showing white petals emerging
Cherry flower buds showing white petals emerging
20210328_174714.jpg
Lots of cherry flower buds clusters!
Lots of cherry flower buds clusters!
 
Steve Thorn
steward
Posts: 2782
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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More cherry blossoms opening about a week ago!

There are a lot more flowers this year, and the trees look super healthy!
20210331_184314.jpg
cherry flowers
20210331_184219.jpg
cherry flowers
20210331_184208.jpg
cherry flowers
 
pollinator
Posts: 192
Location: Powell River, BC
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Hi Steve, I’m interested to see that you don’t plan to prune your cherries. How big do you expect the unpruned trees to grow?

Here they grow to about 40 ft, making harvest quite challenging!
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Hi Kevin, I'm growing them on their own roots, so they'll probably reach their full height. I prefer to grow my trees to their largest and most healthy size possible.

I have a 15 ft long fruit picker, so with that I can reach up about 20 ft. I plan to leave anything higher than that for the birds, or other animals coming to eat the leftovers. The animal manure from those eating the fruit will naturally fertilize and help increase the health of the tree!
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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The cherry blossoms are so amazingly beautiful!

The two cherry trees were almost in full bloom a little over a week ago, and they still both have a few blossoms open. They seem to have a really long bloom period, and there were a lot of flowers this year.

I really like this trait in fruit trees, as it increases the period that their flowers are open to be pollinated by insects and also available to pollinate other cherry trees that may start blooming a little before or after them.
20210402_153632.jpg
cherry flowers
20210402_153612.jpg
cherry flowers
20210402_153636.jpg
cherry flowers
20210402_153557.jpg
cherry flowers
20210402_153546.jpg
cherry flowers
20210402_153708.jpg
1st cherry tree
1st cherry tree
20210402_153654.jpg
2nd cherry tree
2nd cherry tree
 
pollinator
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I do have a quick question-- if the cherry tree loses its flowers due to weather, does it still have the ability to fruit? We just had a quick two days of temps fluctuating around freezing & snowed twice. It was definitely killing the cherry blossoms on the one tree we have. That being said, the flowers had been in bloom for about a week before then.
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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We had a similar bad turn of weather here the other day with a really bad frost/freeze, only leaving a handful of cherries on one of the trees.

Unfortunately if the flowers die, the cherries can't form. Some varieties seem to have more hardier blossoms than others. Also the blossoms become more cold sensitive the farther they are along.

Hope some of yours made it!
 
D Tucholske
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That's what I was afraid of. But, yeah I think some of them survived, but a lot of the ones that were left were browning &/ or withering. I'm hoping for some fruit this year. They were probably ready last year, but, if I remember correctly, I think a freak storm in the spring blew all the flowers right off the tree that time.
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Cherry flowers 🌸 have no fear, the ladybugs are here!
20210410_155633.jpg
Lady bug on a cherry tree
Lady bug on a cherry tree
20210410_155706.jpg
Cherry flowers protected by a ladybug
Cherry flowers protected by a ladybug
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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Tiny cherries starting to form about a month ago
20210417_174636.jpg
Tiny cherries forming!
Tiny cherries forming!
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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The cherries coloring up
20210516_140147.jpg
The cherries coloring up
20210516_140149.jpg
The cherries coloring up
20210516_140200.jpg
The cherries coloring up
20210516_140251.jpg
The cherries coloring up
20210516_140249.jpg
The cherries coloring up
20210516_140308.jpg
yellow cherry
 
master steward
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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I was just watching Paul's new video about cherry tree issues...and how most of the issues were due to not raising the tree naturally, but with all sort of good intentions (spraying herbicides, using tree protectors, etc)

 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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My first cherry harvest ever from mid May of this year!! It was just a handful, and I may have picked them a little early to beat the birds, but they were really tasty, sweet with a touch of acidity and very flavorful!

I think they ripened earlier than they usually would've, due to the small crop this year.

I'm excited to see what they produce next year!
20210518_202244.jpg
My first and what a beautiful cherry harvested
My first and what a beautiful cherry harvested
20210518_202516.jpg
Very red and delicious cherry
Very red and delicious cherry
20210518_202013.jpg
It was interesting how some had a whitish coloring
It was interesting how some had a whitish coloring
20210518_202958.jpg
Nice and tasty yellow clear flesh
Nice and tasty yellow clear flesh
20210518_202955.jpg
Something took a bite out of this cherry.... oh yeah that was me :)
Something took a bite out of this cherry.... oh yeah that was me :)
20210518_202223.jpg
I love the coloration on these cherries
I love the coloration on these cherries
20210518_202018.jpg
Closeup
Closeup
20210518_203656.jpg
Definitely going to plant the cherry pits
Definitely going to plant the cherry pits
20210519_203739.jpg
One of the most ripe cherries
One of the most ripe cherries
20210519_203743.jpg
Some of the cherries have more orange/yellow
Some of the cherries have more orange/yellow
20210519_203754.jpg
This one has a little of both
This one has a little of both
20210519_203733.jpg
Side by side comparison of the cherries
Side by side comparison of the cherries
 
Steve Thorn
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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Here's a quick video on my cherry harvest this year!

 
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