Rainier Cherry pollination

delforzaMay 14, 2008


I am completely new to gardening but am making efforts to learn and need some help.

This year planted tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and would like very much to add cherry trees to the back yard.

The cherry that looks most appealing is Rainier Cherry which looks like needs pollinator (whatever that means?)

Could that be pollinated with Balaton tart cherry or Montmorency?

Generally is there some guidance on how to pick a pollinator?

Also if anyones knows whether there is a chance for Rainier cherry to make it in Colorado climate and general guidelines on extra care needed for that, would be much much appreciated.



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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


There are a few good places in CO to grow sweet cherries but they are few and far between...like a couple acres between Palisade and Grand Junction. But lets say you live somewhere near Denver. That would be worth a try.

The cherries you mention will not pollinate Rainier. Bing is the obvious choice as one that would. They make a pretty good combo for pollination and rate high on quality. Other pollinators would need to bloom at about the same time as Rainier. There are self fertile sweet cherries. Self fertile is pretty appealing but I haven't found any yet that have the eating quality of Bing or Rainier. If you are going to try this might as well try the best.

Dwarfing rootstocks are all the rage amongst home owners for sweet cherries. They haven't worked well for me. I'd recommend you plant on Mazzard rootstock and use summer pruning to control tree size. If you want to try a dwarfing rootstock I'd stay away from Gisela 5 and go with Gisela 6 or 12. You could also try Krymsk 5 from Raintree but that is a real shot in the dark.

I'd suggest getting your trees from Van Well or Brandt's nuresies out of WA state. These are real commercial nurseries that will sell trees to individuals.

Recognize that the birds like cherries as much as you do. Bird netting might be necessary to ever taste one of your beauties.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 9:39PM
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Hi Del,

Do you have access to the Royal Rainier Cherry? It looks like it will do well in Colorado.

We have had the Royal Rainier in the ground about three years now with great crops every year. No pollinator is required and a good tasting cherry.


Here is a link that might be useful: DW Colorado cherry picks.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 11:31AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Royal Rainier is not self fruitful but it might be a good choice. I have it both outside and in my greenhouse. This is my first crop outdoors, none yet in GH. Still haven't tasted any myself better than Bing. I keep hoping. Haven't tried Utah Giant. Those listed by DW would be worth trying.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 12:05PM
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Appreciate the correction, Fruitnut. Nowhere in the literature does it state self-fruitful. Was told that, verbally, at time of purchase back in 2004. Ran to check the nursery tag, and of course, gone. Colt rootstock label still there.

Until last month, it was the only cherry tree within a 3/4 mile radius. Guess we are lucky, or perhaps it may be self-fruitful if certain (unknown) conditions met.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 2:34PM
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zhangqj(Z9b CA)

I say birds like cherry MORE than we do, espcially when the trees are relatively small.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 4:06PM
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I too am interested in rainier cherries. Could I just use two rainier's to pollinate each other, or do they have to use two different types?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 10:53PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

A Rainier will not pollinate itself and a thousand Rainiers will be no better. Bing is good and blooms at about the same time.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 11:26PM
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Thank you all for the very helpful answers.
I was waiting to get an email with any replies and was wondering why no one replied :)
Seems like Rainer and Bing are a good combination!
Will try that most likely.
In general though would any sweet cherry get pollinated by any tart cherry?


    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 11:53AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Don't believe you will have any luck with a tart pollinating a sweet. They most likely will bloom at different times. And even if they bloomed together, the tart won't do the job. Sweet cherries have very stringent pollination requirements.

I would recommend a self fertile sweet cherry if I knew a good one. One self fertile that is widely recommended is Lapins. That is by reputation only, mine hasn't fruited yet. But I don't believe the quality is as good as Bing or Rainier. Lapins doesn't need a pollinator and will pollinate Bing or Rainier. Other self fertile varieties are Sandra Rose, Sonata, Skeena, White Gold, Black Gold, Vanadalay, Tehranivee, and Sweetheart. Many of these are sold by Raintree. Try these at your own risk as to fruit quality. But they should solve your pollination issues. If you had room for Bing, Rainier, and two self fertile, you should have the best of both worlds.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 12:17PM
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