The cherry tree is not only a special addition to the garden for its yield of delicious, tasty fruit but also for its beautiful display of spring blooms and rich autumn tones at leaf fall. Cherries thrive in a cool, temperate climate that is relatively dry during the fruiting season. Whilst cherries are grown successfully in the South Burnett region, some years may not be so productive.
1. Unless planting a self-fertile variety, ensure a suitable pollinator is also planted nearby. Lappins, Stella and Sunburst are self-fertile varieties.
2. Plant in well-drained, moist soil, enriched with plenty of organic matter.
3. Where possible, plant on a slope to ensure good drainage. Trees that have continual wet feet will be short- lived.
4. Cherries require a cold winter to flower and set fruit. Some varieties require more chill hours than others. Lappins is a variety that requires lower chill hours.
5. Apply an application of fertilizer in early spring and again in autumn. A healthy cherry tree should grow approximately 30cm each year. If your tree is not performing or has yellowing on leaves, test the soil for deficiencies.
6. Water your cherry at regular intervals and never allow the tree to dry out. Irregular or sudden watering will cause fruit to split. Rain during blossom time may cause a lighter set of fruit due to less bee activity whilst raining.
7. Mulch well around tree. This will help the soil to retain its moisture.
8. Harvest in summer and always pick by cutting the stems, never by pulling on the fruit. Cherries are delicious eaten fresh and also ideal for freezing and preserves.
9. Birds also enjoy these summer fruits, so protect your crop by covering your tree with bird-net.
10. During the first four to five years of growth, lightly prune to remove any damaged branches, suckers and vertical growth. Prune mature trees in summer (after fruiting) to reduce foliage and increase the number of fruiting buds.
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