white gold vs black gold crack resistance/bloom time

windfall_rob(vt4)February 6, 2013

Any of you growing white gold and black gold side by side.....care to comment on the relative crack resistance and bloom time of the 2 compared to each other?
Happy to get any other feedback on them as well in terms of disease and pest pressure....taste too, but that is so subjective.

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Really? Nobody growing both?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:14PM
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really? nobody growing both?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:15PM
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greenorchardmom(Ga Mts 7)

really really? nobody growing both?

difficult to believe nobody is growing or will comment?
Ah! The stellar Gold series cherries
I live in Ga & I am
Black, White, & Blushing
they are doing well in their 3rd year with absolutely no problems
(but I keep my cherries on a very tight spray schedule)
can't comment firsthand on your questions but tell you what I've been told by the pros
according to Cornell Center for Tech Entr Comm
they are excellent for eastern growing conditions
both with a solid resistance to rain cracking
both very good tasting not excellent like Royalton or Pearls

CR only slightly less than the soon to be legendary Pearl series...except Radiance not good

They are not as well suited to prolonged levels of hummidity like Black York
But BY lacks outstanding flavor
WG early mid bloom
BG mid late bloom
both SF
lets hope somone with more info chimes in now thread is revived
look forward to that first taste myself

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I am growing both of them so I can say something. Cracking on them is about the same and the one that cracks more has more to do with the random way the rains fell that year. The main advantage of White Gold is the birds leave it alone, that means a lot to me. White Gold needs to be left on until they go from light yellow to a medium yellow and blushing a bit. Picked too early they are nothing special.

There may be better east coast cherries, but these guys both have a lot of grower experience behind them and are proven winners. They are my top two recommendations for that reason.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:01PM
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alan haigh

I used to grow a solid yellow cherry here and the birds did not leave them alone- maybe because there were red cherries nearby, though.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:08PM
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I appreciate the input.

I knew Blackgold was supposed to bloom later than whitegold but was not sure by how much. Later bloom this far north could help. For that reason I was even looking a bit at gold, which is supposed to be the latest blooming hardy cherry, but gathered the flavor just wasn't there (processing/brining cherry). Black Pearl is interesting, but I gather not hardy for our conditions, although I couldn't find anything definite on that.

I would love not to net if I could get away with it. And I was leaning towards Whitegold anyway. I have 2 grafts of blackgold on sour cherry that took last spring but went nowhere ....hopefully I can encourage them a bit this spring with some selective pruning.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:09PM
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greenorchardmom(Ga Mts 7)

It would be SO great not to net!
but Whitegold is a very pretty red blush cherry so I'll bet you have to
The latin name for sweet cherry includes the latin word for bird
gotta love that
I wonder how the Romans made a fine/light enough net?
Good luck with that pruning
Imho make sure its dry for a week after to prevent bac cank!
I didnt get the gold either... processing/brining yuck

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I find I get a bit of bird damage as the cherries blush, but its minor. There is a new cherry from the NY program which does not blush at all, I'm sure it would do better.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:38PM
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alan haigh

The one I grew was called something like yellow spanish and had no blush whatsoever but my birds discovered it. I don't believe birds reliably avoid yellow fruit only that they are less attracted to it. In time they may discover yours, Scott.

As far as the question of relative cracking of the mentioned varieties, it often takes more than 6 years for cherry trees I plant in my nursery to come into bearing after being dug up at least twice before reaching their final destination and it takes at least several seasons to determine crack resistance. These are relatively new varieties so information from a site like this would presumably be quite sparse.

All the recent Cornell releases I'm aware of are bred for crack resistance in east coast conditions.

Those varieties, such as Lapins, considered crack resistant in western conditions often crack like drying clay here.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:22AM
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Sorry, I only grow White.

I don't have problems with it cracking and problems with birds only when I leave some on the tree past the blushing point. They just keep getting redder and sweeter.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:58AM
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greenorchardmom(Ga Mts 7)

keep getting redder & sweeter? YUM look forward to that!
the new cornell yellow is Nugent a very good tasting processing cherry
almost bought it but think I have my bird exclusion tactics down...at least till they get really hungry
windfall rob how are you growing BG in Vt?
you must have an awesome microclimate
I think Kristin is the most hardy zone 4 a very pretty good quality red sweet cherry

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:43PM
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Bird damage in years past hasn't been much of an issue for us. I have always credited a resident pair of nesting hawks. But the robins were definitely in the strawberries last year. And the sour cherries are just coming into bearing and so I have not been "tested" in that regard.

Information is very sparse (at least for someone not in the industry) on the details on both varieties. There is a bit more on Blackgold.

GOM, I just have the grafts taking. I would hardly say I am growing black gold yet. But BG is supposed to be quite hardy, with many reputable report of survival well below -20F without damage.No particular microclimate, but a lot of mild winters making me try things I wouldn't 10 years ago.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:18PM
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greenorchardmom(Ga Mts 7)

I haven't lived in Vt for yrs but isn't yr vt4 meant to indicate you live in vt zone 4?
BG is hardy zone 5 as are most sweet cherries hence my comment about your micro climate
glad those mild winters are working out for you they are causing pathogen chaos down here

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:52PM
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alan haigh

GOM, warmer weather is causing insect chaos here in southeastern NY where stinkbugs have recently become a major pest- not BM so much as Green. This doubles the insecticide needs all by itself when they show up in an orchard.

Cornell suggests we can move zones up almost a full point- at least a half, over the thinking a short time ago. It is also playing havoc with the stability of seasons where hard frosts may be much more destructive to the point where Cornell is suggesting the installation of expensive frost protection for commercial growers in NY state- if you are not situated near a large body of unfrozen water.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:31AM
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greenorchardmom(Ga Mts 7)

this I didnt know & its kinda scary
This new format is taking some getting used to

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:49AM
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I would not say the milder winters are "working out for me"....It's a whole set of new challenges and floating expectations.

But you work with what you have or you give up....

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:49AM
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alan haigh

I suspect most not too close to rising sea levels that are in z4 or colder look forward to likely longer growing seasons and milder winters going forward.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:13AM
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greenorchardmom(Ga Mts 7)

good for you but not for me
hopefully that makes a bitter pill easier to swallow
I grow many plants that hover on the edge of my zone
like all my beloved sweet cherries
maybe I'll dig up all my stuff & relocate 2 zones N

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:21PM
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Hi, where you live in Vt., all cherries will crack because the rainfall is significant during the cherry ripening period. You have very limited selection of cherries hardy enough to survive. Blooming in Vermont is not very date related, and normally is caused by the first big warmup, with little difference between cultivars (a few days at most, it always seems that everyhting blooms at the same time). I have found White gold to be much more productive than black gold, which I have been assuming had to do with bud hardiness. Last year due to the 80+ degree weather in march, I only had a limited bloom on Kristin and Starks gold the rest had no blossums. (ebony series, hudson, white and black gold, and Balatin sour cherry). Of that limited bloom, the rabid squirrels got all the cherries (no mast crop last year, so I expect the population will be less this year). Kristin and Gold have had consistent crops for the last 8 years except for last year and one other time we had 80 degree weather in early April, followed by one of the coldest may's on record (I have pictures of snow on the Peach Blossums). White Gold on Mazzard started fruiting at about 5 years, and expect for last year has given a good crop every year, we have had only 1 good crop of Black Gold planted at the same time. Netting is easy to do once you know how, and with 2 people only takes 10 min or so per tree. We net almost all our trees (300) and estimate it saves 50% vs not netting due to bird pecks. So I would suggest Giesla 6 rootstock, with Kristin and Starks Gold to be the most likely to fruit (graft the gold onto a Kristin for pollination), or you can try White Gold, but it is less hardy.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:59AM
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Many thanks plumhill, That sort of detailed regional info (over several seasons) is very helpful.
The rodents were brutal last year: plenty of food the fall before and then such a mild winter....

The order went in yesterday for whitegold on gisela 6. There is still room in the box though, and after hearing your comments I am tempted to add the gold. But it is offered on gisela 5. I think that may be too dwarfing and fussy about soil for my conditions/purposes?

I have some grafts of blackgold on the sour cherries. they took, but seemed to have immediately stalled out and loaded up with fruit buds. Hopefully some selective pruning can get them back into vegetative mode. Anyone know if I need to strip the fruit buds/blooms in addtion to removal of anything potentialy competeing with the graft?...that seems like another thread.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:06PM
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alan haigh

PHF, have you grown the newer Cornell varieties? They are touting them as more crack resistant based on growing them in east coast conditions- are you disputing this claim?

Actually if you get lucky and it doesn't rain for about the two weeks leading to ripeness you can get cherries with no cracking with any cherry in my experience over the years.

There are commercial growers in NY State that sell uncracked cherries so they must not even rely on this kind of luck. I'm talking about trees not under plastic, of course.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:21PM
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I can't speak for plumhill regarding his experience and varieties, But he does have it right about rain and our location...we are on the western slope of the green mountains. Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm for 20-30% of mid-summer days. 2 weeks without significant rain in that period would be pretty unusual.

I know cherries in general and sweets in particular are a significant longshot for us (at several levels). But we have enough space that I can gamble on a tree or two. And I enjoy having a bit of everything I can try for

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:35PM
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alan haigh

For home use cracked cherries taste just fine if you don't mind eating fruit recently sprayed with an affective fungicide to hold back brown rot for long enough. Spraying an SI two weeks before ripening works for me. Not sure how Montery Fungus Fighter would work, but probably about same as what I use. You could look into it.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:56PM
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Crack resistant is a relative term. An article I read out of Michigan i think, and a talk at the New England Fruit growers conf in 2011 said while they may be more resistant, they are far from crack free. The Ebonies would have fruited for the first time last year, but got zapped by 80 degrees for a week, followed by 18 degrees, so I have no info on them. THe Black and White gold series do crack, perhpas less than Kristin but it really depends on how bad the rain is and how dry it was before it rained. I have had 90+ % cracking to as little as a few percent. If it has been dry for a week and you get 2" of rain they all crack, if you get 1/4" few crack, it is in the inbetween zone where you would see the difference.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 7:27AM
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I am hoping my Lapins planted in 2008 might get a crop for the first time this year. If so, would it help to put a plastic tarp over the whole tree to prevent cracking? If so, at what point would I do that? Or can one just cover the ground to prevent rainwater from seeping in, but leave the tree uncovered? The tree is at least ten feet tall, maybe 15 feet already, so not easy to cover. The tree is growing on a hillside in nearly straight sand, so I have to water frequently. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:54PM
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greenorchardmom(Ga Mts 7)

Its true!
I finally got to speak to a Cornell fruit breeder earlier this week about the Pearl series
woohoo like 2x espresso laced crack
While taste is subjective I asked his personal opinion also any taste panels conclusions.
He did specify that there is no such cherry as a "no crack cherry"
only that oh so lucky weather to provide it.
I guess they are being questioned on that particular point a bit
windfall rob his very fave cherry had been the White Gold!! but now is Burgandy Pearl a compex little gem of luscious sweet tart & rich whopper flavor
Ebony Pearl is really big & Black is reliable
they are ALL improved in every way with regard to taste quality, crack tolerance & disease resistance.
Better than the Gold series BUT its a matter of very good & exceptional ...
that last sentence is the only one that I did not get from my scribbled notes.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 10:35PM
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alan haigh

GOM, I always find it more affective to lace the espresso with crack than the other way around, but I still managed to extract the important meanings from your post, I think.


Would like to know about precosity and growth habit (which tend to be related). Also relative canker resistance.

Fact is, any decent tree ripened cherry off your own tree is great.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 6:50AM
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I looked at the pearl series...there is a fair bit of hype about their crack resistance and taste. Although I did bump into one study out of MA that found them "disappointing".

My order was with cummins and they have some blackpearl X whitegold double budded trees.....that was tempting.

But their(pearl series) hardiness is not well known yet...I like to experiment, but it's nice when a few people have given it a go already, framing out what MIGHT be possible. If I were somewhere warmer I think I would have spent more time investigating them.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 7:35AM
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alan haigh

Adam's County Nursery carries the Pearl series and reading in last year's catalogue they mention Ebonypearl as canker resistant. No mention is made about relative precosity or growth form.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:18AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I looked around and didn't find enough excitement about the new Pearl series to try them in my limited spots. I hope someone does try them and lets us know how they are. The raves from the breeder I would not count for anything, its like asking a mom if their baby is cute..


    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:23AM
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alan haigh

Not quite, a Mom is stuck with the baby she pushes out. These varieties were bred for specific traits and the breeder selected them out of at least hundreds of others (of course you know that).

Nevertheless, you are certainly correct that every university has a vested interest in pushing their own patented varieties and the breeders themselves take special pride in their own creations.

Years ago I was working a bit with Roger Way in a project to identify a lot of unknown apple varieties at a certain site where I still work. The pride he expressed in the quality of fruit from trees out of his breeding program was definately that of a proud parent. Jonagold and Fortune were particular favored children of his.

Where did you get feedback about new varieties? Their release is a bit recent, it seems, for valid feed back from growers.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:24AM
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alan haigh


I decided to look around myself and Scott's evaluation seems to bare out. Here's one thorough evaluation I came up with.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:36AM
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