Types Of Cherry Trees
Which Types Of Cherry Trees Are Best For You?
When you consider all the various types of cherry trees that are available, several hundred in fact, it's a given that you should be able to choose from among several varsities that will do well where you live, unless you live in Antarctica. In general the cherry tree is a very hardy tree, many varieties are fast growing, easy to care for, plus you can choose from sweet cherries, sour cherries, or no cherries, in other words ornamentals.
In fact, you can probably have your cake and eat it too. You don't have to choose a fruit-bearing tree and an ornamental if you're looking for both good eating and a beautiful display. Chances are, there are several types of cherry trees that are suited for your growing area that produce both abundant flowers and delicious fruit. You'd think that this would be the choice that most people would make, but the fact is, if you are really looking for an ornamental, you might prefer a tree that doesn't bear fruit. You don't have to worry about birds, fruit on the ground, or the possible influence of the weather on a cherry crop.
As far as fruit-bearing types of cherry trees are concerned, there are two main categories. Wild cherries, usually referred to as sweet cherries, and sour cherries. Get a sweet cherry tree if you want to enjoy fresh berries, berries as a part of a fruit plate, or in a smoothie. One of the joys of life is sitting with a bowl of freshly picked cherries in a place where you can just sit and spit the pits out without having to worry about picking them up afterwards. Maybe one will take root! As for sour cherries, they are best for canning, cherry cobbler, pies, and jams. You can eat them fresh but they are a bit tart, sometimes very tart.
Sweet Cherry Trees - If you have quantity in mind, black cherries might be your best bet as a sweet cherry tree. It is the tallest of the more common varieties, it puts on a beautiful display of white flowers each spring, and the fruit is delicious. The Black cherry tree does have the disadvantage in that it tends to drop its fruit when ripe, so you don't want to plant it so that the branches are over a cement sidewalk. Nor is the tree a good place to hang a hammock under. Birds, especially robins, going after the dark fruit can make a mess in the general area. If the tree can be planted where a little messiness is OK, this is a good sweet cherry tree to have in a large yard.
Another tree that produces delicious cherries and lush flowers is the Amir chokecherry. Known for both its floral display and golden bark, the Amur chokecherry can be a little fussy about where it will do well, is a high maintenance tree, and more susceptible to pests and diseases than other varieties of cherry trees. For a good tasting sweet cherry, you might just want to stick with one of the favorites, Rainier, Queen Anne, Stella, or Bing. You won't go wrong with any of these.
Sour Cherry Trees - People often plant a sour cherry tree because fresh sour cherries can be hard to find on the market. Unless there is a farmer's market in your vicinity, or a roadside fruit stand, you often have to grow your own sour or pie cherries unless canned cherries are an acceptable alternative. Montmorency, Morello, and Early Richmond are the more popular types of cherry trees in the sour cherry category.
Ornamental Varieties - What about the ornamentals? Just about everyone has heard of the Japanese Flowering cherry trees, or seen them if visiting our nation's capitol in the spring. The tree in question is the Sakura cherry blossom tree, whose blossoms are the official flower of Japan. The tree, which has been cultivated in Japan for hundreds of years is a true harbinger of spring. Another ornamental, and another of the more popular flowering cherry trees is the Kwanzan, featuring a double deep pink bloom. It is considered to be perhaps the most elegant of the ornamental cherries, rapidly growing to a height of 40 feet. Another rapid grower is the Okame. An early bloomer, and an extremely hardy tree, the Okame also puts on a display in the autumn as its leaves turn shades of red, yellow and orange.
There are many other ornamentals of course. One that bears mentioning is the Snow Fountain weeping cherry. This ornamental has branches which dip and almost touch the ground, and the blossoms are particularly thick, looking almost like one large pink ball at the peak of flowering. This variety may well be the most spectacular variety as far as a landscape ornamental is concerned.
You can purchase more than one tree of course. You can even start an orchard. One thing to be aware of, is some types of cherry trees to not do well if other types are planted close by. You should check with your nursery or a horticulturist if you are thinking about planting more than one type. Also purchase saplings that are less than five years old. Older trees often do not transplant well, as their root systems do not develop fast enough to support the size of the tree when it has been transplanted. Get an ornamental that is in full bloom when your crop of sweet cherries is ready for picking, and you can sit and admire the view, and spit out the pits at the same time.