How best to plant Carmine Jewel cherry?

raee_gwApril 15, 2014

I have read that cherries don't like soil that gets soggy, but I've read nothing about this particular cherry in that regard. I am in a high water table neighborhood, clay soil; the unamended parts of the yard are very wet yearly (will get standing water after a good rain although it drains within less than a day) late winter-spring, although dry out around June when rainfall decreases. Even the well amended raised beds are pretty squishy right now.

Would it be best to just plan on growing the Carmine Jewels in pots? Will they do well in pots? If in pots, what mix should I use? and, how much winter protection will they need?

If there is a good chance of success in ground, perhaps with more amendment or raising the bed, I would prefer that.

TIA, Raee

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

They do do well in pots, but yeah a raised bed, maybe go higher than your current beds, 2 feet or more. A mix of pine bark, peat and vermiculite for pots, 5-1-1 ratio to a 3-1-1 ratio. Mix has little nutrients, so you would have to supplement. A similar mix can be used for the raised beds too, but I would add some compost. For pots a high quality potting could be used too, like Pro-mix, Fafard, or Happy Frog.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:03PM
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I have similar soil (probably worse, mine doesn't always drain in a day) and have lost a few cherries and peaches that were not planted above the normal ground elevation. Mine do best planted on a mound. I take 3 to 4 ft diameter of sod off, than make a mound at least a foot high or more. I've heard it is better to use soil that has been dug up nearby, but that is not always practical. I use local topsoil from a nearby landscaping supplier. With a decent sized mound it is pretty important to mulch both for winter protection and too keep moisture in the summer. I have mesabi, meteor, monty, surefire and north star pie cherries. I have a CJ due to come in soon.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Thanks to you both. My three CJ are still pretty small (thanks to deer getting at them last fall) so I think that I will keep them in the pot this year at least. I do have an area that is already well amended that I could build up more, and that I hope to get deer proof fencing around, so they may end up there eventually. Right now I have all 3 in one large pot, but do worry that the pot is still too large.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 4:16PM
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I would avoid a pot since these things get 6' tall and 6' across when mature, so that just gets awkward. I wouldn't worry about soil that is wet in the spring, but I would avoid low spots in your yard, that kind of thing. Remember that these plants were bred where the soil is frozen from November until sometime into April, so any water from melting snow would make the soil very wet in the spring until the ground thaws and the water can drain. Avoid wet in the summer and you should be OK. I have mine at the edge of a garden that has about a foot of topsoil, but is mostly clay below that.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:25PM
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Check the site of the original breeders of this plant:

They state they have heavy clay (The underlying
heavy clay soil retains enough moisture to
satisfy the treesâ demand.) and it sounds wet (Grass between rows serves to reduce mud, and to compete with trees for moisture at the end of the growing season. I)

These guys are pretty tough. I'm only 1 year in but was told that a 6inch to 1 foot mound on my heavy wet clay would be fine and so far they are doing ok (i've got Carmine Jewl, Cupid, Romeo, Juliet). I prefer ground to pots because I don't have to remember to water them. I am certain if you water them and take care to increase your pot size you will get awesome plants. I just don't want the hassle.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:35PM
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don555, thanks for the info and sharing your experience. That is reassuring. I had a North Star cherry that died after 2 years & I thought it might have been too wet, even though it was in an improved area (it also might have gotten Preen sprinkled near it). If I did use pots permanently, they would be some of those big things than trees come in and put in one spot to stay.

Hungryfrozencanuck, thank you also. Those articles were interesting and fun (esp. liked the one about the catch frame). Watering is the downside to using pots -- our water rates have been zooming lately, not from shortage but to pay for upgrades in the sewage system in my city. My bill is triple what it was in 2010, and I am already keeping blueberries in pots.

I am really excited about these cherries. I have a pot with nanking cherry too, it bloomed for the first time last year, and it is covered with blossoms now, so maybe this year some fruit if tonight's freeze doesn't kill them?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:13PM
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raee, Nanking are fun to grow and get fruit from, but they aren't in the same league as tart cherries. Smaller fruit, quite watery, taste pretty mild. Don't get me wrong, I grew Nanking for 10 years or so, and we always ate some fruit off the bush (with the plus that the ripe fruit linger well on the bush, ie don't fall off or rot for quite awhile). But you will be much happier when your tart cherries begin producing, you'll probably start ignoring your Nankings around then. :)

Hungryfrozencanuck, heh, I'm growing those same exact 4 from the line of University of Saskatchewan cherry bushes! I chose those 4 because of their dark red/black fruit, I'm thinking I'm not the only one who prefers dark cherries. (I also have an Evans though, so I've got one lighter cherry in the mix).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:19AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I've had a Carmine Jewel in a pot since 2011 and it has actually grown better than (and fruited before) the two I planted in ground. The in-ground ones were planted on a slope, so there was never standing water, but it was pretty organic-rich, water-retentive soil, which was also well mulched.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:52AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Gurney's one of the first nurseries to offer this plant has a video about how well they grow in pots. I may try it myself! I have 2 in ground, just kind of sitting there.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 12:24

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:23PM
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what pot sizes do you guys use

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 10:23PM
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