my grandmother used to collect wild choke cherries for jelly. they supposedly aren't native to the "south" but I haven't found a map of their distribution and I am not waaaay south. I'm trying to figure out if I could have success with them here in OK. anyone from a warmish climate out there have them?
i am not sure if they are the same as wild cherries that grow everywhere here..the birds love them..and get drunk on them when they have begun to ferment.
we don't use them for jelly or food but you can..if you can get to them before the birds do..they grow up high on these thin trees.
unfortunately they are a real nuisance when there are tent worm invasions..as they LOVE the cherries and apples and they will gravitate to areas with a lot of wild cherry trees..here..in our area there area a lot of wild cherries..so we get a lot of tent worms.
i am hoping to cut a lot of them down..in the next year..to eliminate some of the food for the tent worms..there are enough foods for the birds in our area..and these have become a weed tree here..it is ok to leave a few..but there are just too many of them..
where i plan to remove several is around that wild apple in the back woods..it is totally surrounded by dozens and dozens of small wild cherry trees..so they will come down and become firewood..to help the apple tree thrive..the ones back father in the woods will remain for the wildlife..wouldn't take them all down..even if they are a nuisance..
Bloom where you are planted.
I have quickly googled Western Chokecherry. From what I've found (hardiness zone 5 - 10) it is widely distributed plant. Don't know why it wouldn't grow where you are. A place in NE Okla called Sooner Plant Farm sells a variety called Canada Red, which is apparently popular as an ornamental tree because of it's reddish purple leaves. It's hardiness zone is 2 - 7. There is much info on the web regarding these trees. I don't know anyone personally who has them, but considering they were once a staple in the Native American diet, I'm sure they'd grow in Okla.
We grew up with wild chokecherries in Wyoming along the streams. I have planted the Canadian chokecherry here in Oregon and this is the first year they have gone to fruit so the yield was small. It starts out with a beautiful green foilage turning purple mid season. It does send off shoots and is easily propogated.
Our inability to change everything should not stop us from changing what we can.