My name is Jerry Hendershot, and I am new to Permies.com. I live in Boise, Idaho and have enjoyed an ancient Bing Cherry that produced bountifully for years...and then one year, crash, the tree came crashing down, with lots of dead wood at the heart of the trunk. Two years later, I noticed 3 new cherries growing...they were fragile saplings, but without understanding much about how this works, I nurtured them along...all three are now about 12 feet tall or so and look good, but no fruit or blossoms.
Questions: Are these suckers or seedlings? Do I need to get them regrafted and if so how do I do that? If they are suckers, will they produce? If they are already so tall, did I miss my window for cultivating them as the children of my once proud and beloved cherry tree...Any help or advice would be appreciated.
It's possible that the growth you have is from the rootstock. A rootstock is chosen to reduce the natural size of a fruit tree, or in some cases to improve winter hardiness, or disease resistance. On top of the rootstock you can graft a scion which is a stem of the tree variety you prefer. It's possible that you have nothing left of your original cherry variety.
You could use the three saplings you have growing for rootstocks. To do this you cut them down, to 4 feet high, and insert a piece of the scion variety you desire between the bark and the heartwood of the cut branch.
There are instructions on line such asThis one at Skillcult I think it's the one on the Franken tree, where he's cutting back a tree and grafting multiple different varieties of the same fruit variety.
There are several sources of scion varieties, but at this time of year they seem to not present what's available, because they don't have anything available for sale. However perhaps in October or so you could check at Fedco Seeds, Cummings Nursery, or Grandpas Orchard. I went to their sites mainly to see if they have the Bing cherry you had and don't see any info anywhere. You should know that you can graft 3 scions to each 2 or 3 inch trunk that you have left after sawing down a trunk. Each scion could be a different cherry variety, or of course duplicates. You should also know that you could graft sweet or tart (pie) cherrys to the same trunk. Another important point is that there's some indications out there that if you graft to an existing tree that the growth on the tree produced from that scion will produce fruit much quicker than if you plant out a new seedling.
If you pursued grafting to your 3 saplings that you might want to leave one untouched.
From memory the scions were $5 apiece in onsie quantities and the shipping is $22.50 per shipment for any amount of a small order like I made. The old guys shipping was double that.