Cherry (Prunus subg. Cerasus) - belongs to the Rosaceae family, a subgenus of the genus Prunus. It differs from its congeners by folded leaves alongside, arranged in an umbrella-like arrangement of fragrant flowers, smooth, as if polished fruits.
This is a very ancient tree, as studies show, it was grown as early as 8000 years BC. The homeland of the plant is the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus and Crimea.
A fruit tree or shrub of rather modest size, usually about 7 meters high with dark gray bark and petioled leaves. At the time of flowering, the cherry is covered with beautiful, densely spaced flowers of white, sometimes pink color. The berries are usually small, round, dark red in color, with a hard pit inside.
Types of cherry trees:
Common cherry (Prunus cerasus) - has smooth, shiny, pointed leaves of dark green color. The bark is dark brown. It blooms with fragrant bisexual flowers. The fruits are fleshy, round, slightly flattened, ripen in June - July.
Steppe cherry (Prunus fruticosa) is a short shrub, only 2 meters in height, belongs to wild plant species. The crown is wide with lanceolate leaves, narrowed towards the base. Flowers are white, placed in a single order, sometimes collected in 2-4 inflorescences. Juicy red fruits up to 2.5 cm in diameter.
Bird cherry (Prunus avium) - the plant is more familiar by another name - Sweet cherry. The tree has an even, less often slightly curved trunk, spreading branches of a brown-red color. The green leaves are egg-shaped, the flowers are dazzling white. Fruits are ready to eat closer to mid-June or early July, very sweet, juicy, dark red in color.
Trees for growing in Ukraine - popular varieties:
Selection and purchase of seedlings. Choose the most suitable varieties based on the climatic conditions in your region. Consider the fact that cherries are less hardy than raspberries or currants. Buy only grafted or self-rooted seedlings.
Location and landing. For cherries, an area with a windy and damp climate and swampy soil are not acceptable. In order for the tree to grow well and bear fruit, you should choose a bright, not blown place for planting. An excellent option would be a weak slope with moderately wet sandy or sandy loam soil.
The best time for planting is spring, when the ground is already warm enough, around mid-April.
Inspect the roots of the plant for damage before planting. Soak the roots in water for three hours to allow them to expand and absorb enough moisture. Prepare a hole 45 cm deep and 50 - 55 cm in diameter. After lowering the seedling, gently straighten its roots, only then start filling them with soil, lightly tamping them with your foot. The root collar should be at ground level.
After planting, young cherries are watered, the soil is loosened and mulched with peat or humus.
The basic rules for caring for cherries are the same as those used for most fruit trees: watering, fertilizing, shaping, loosening the soil, preventing diseases and protecting against pests.
Cherries are distinguished: treelike and bushy. In the first case, the growth of the tree reaches 5 meters, the formation is carried out with one trunk. Varieties growing in the form of a bush, lower in stature - only 2-3 meters, are formed by one or more trunks.
Watering. Despite the fact that cherries tolerate drought without any problems, in order to get a good harvest, they need to be watered regularly. This should be done immediately after the flowering period, repeated after the start of ripening of the berries and the final watering before wintering, when the tree has dropped its foliage.
Try to keep the soil moistened to a depth of about 40 cm, for this you need 3-6 buckets of water under the bush.
Loosening, mulching. In early spring, loosening is carried out between rows of trees and in near-trunk circles, after which it is mulched with peat or manure. This helps to retain more moisture and nutrients. During the warm season, the procedure should be repeated several times, the final loosening occurs in early August.
In the fall, digging of soil is carried out under the boles, to a depth of about 10 cm.
Top dressing. In spring, cherries need nitrogen fertilizers. You will need 20 g of ammonium nitrate per 1 m² of the trunk circle. In autumn, every three years, the tree is fertilized with organic fertilizers rich in potassium and phosphorus.
Calculation of fertilizers per 1 m²:
Trimming and shaping. It is recommended to prune cherries in early spring, when the buds have not yet begun to swell. Step back 40 cm from the stem and form the crown evenly in three tiers. At the bottom, leave three branches, a little higher - two and at the very top - one. Skeletal branches will appear over time. A mature tree should have 10 skeletal branches. Make sure that the branches do not grow inside the crown, they need to be removed.
Flowering and fruiting. Most cherry trees are self-fertile. For the formation of fruits, pollen is needed from a number of growing varieties - pollinators, at least 2-3. Self-fertile ones will be good pollinators for self-infertile varieties: Lyubskaya, Molodezhnaya, Amorel, Toy, Minx.
When landscaping your garden, keep in mind that even self-fertile cherries produce better yields when pollination comes from other varieties.
Basic rules for choosing pollinator varieties:
For a good harvest, favorable conditions during pollination are important. The quality of pollination is negatively affected by too high or low air temperature and high humidity.
Reproduction and grafting. Cherry is propagated by cuttings, grafting or root shoots.
Grafting method. Thanks to the root system of one tree, another variety can be grown. First, rootstocks are grown, for this purpose felt cherry seeds are best, they do not form root shoots.
Cutting method. Well-developed cuttings growing up from the southern side of the cherry are selected for cutting. Shoots 12 cm long, having 4-6 leaves, are planted in a specially prepared box, at a distance of about 7-8 cm from one another. The soil around the cutting is compacted a little. Cuttings are grown in a warm, draft-free room with sufficient light.
Root propagation method. The root cutting is separated from the mother tree and instilled slightly at an angle. After waiting for the appearance of young shoots, you can transplant to a permanent place.
Diseases and pests. Most often, cherries can become a victim of such pests and diseases: cherry weevil, scab, clotterosporia, coccomycosis, moniliosis.
Cherry weevil. The bronze-green beetle can seriously damage the fertility of the cherry. Their larvae, getting inside the fruit, eat out the fragile core of the stone, after which the berries crumble. To combat parasites, they are sprayed with special preparations: "Ambush", "Actellik".
Cherry scab. A clear sign of the disease is twisting, drying out of the leaves, and the ripe fruits look sluggish, half-dried. You can help the plant if you spray it with copper chloride, after clearing the tree of affected fruits and leaves.
Clasterosporium disease. The defeat of this type of fungal disease leads to the death of the kidneys and premature shedding of flowers. It is important to cut off all affected branches and remove the leaves, then treat the plant with "Copper Chloride" or "Bordeaux Liquid".
Coccomycosis. The cause of the disease can be high humidity. Affected leaves darken and crumble, the fruits are deformed, winter hardiness decreases. If signs of illness are detected, three-time treatment with drugs is carried out: "Skor", "Copper chloroxide" or "Bordeaux liquid".
Moniliosis. Causes drying and rotting of fruits. An effective method of control is considered to be treatment with suitable fungicidal agents, for example: "Bordeaux liquid".
Cherries in winter. An adult tree tolerates frost well, but it is still better to try to create the most comfortable conditions for wintering. It is important to protect the roots from freezing by wrapping the near-trunk area with a thick layer of snow, and from above with sawdust.
So that the young seedling does not die from the cold, it is recommended to plant cherries in the spring.
The usefulness of the fruit. Juicy, sweet and sour cherries are rich in organic acids, trace elements, macronutrients, pectin substances and folic acid. The seeds of the berries contain essential oil, and the bark contains tannins.
Cherry fruits are used fresh, as well as for the preparation of jams, compotes, extracts and liqueurs. Due to its high content of nutrients, cherries are widely used in folk medicine. Cherry juice is recommended for arthritis, cough or lack of appetite. The pulp of the fresh fruit contributes to the prevention and treatment of anemia. Regular consumption of berries normalizes blood pressure, reduces the frequency of heart attacks, removes toxins from the body.