Potted cherry - protect from cracking and birds?

lsohMay 18, 2013

My Stella Cherry has cherries on it for the first time. It's in a pot. I live in Northern Ohio. Zone 5, maybe zone 6.

I have a series of pvc arches that I use as a frame for frost protection and bird nets for a dozen or so potted fruit trees / bushes. I will also use that frame to create a plastic sheet umbrella to keep rain off the Cherries to prevent cracking.

Problem is I will be leaving for 8 days. Our wonderful neighbors will water while I'm gone. It's a bit of a hassle to work around the bird net. If it's not necessary, I'd prefer not to impose that on my neighbor. So I'd prefer to delay the net & plastic sheeting.

Questions:
1) Any idea what the earliest date I would need to put up the netting and plastic?
2) How long before harvest are my cherries likely to show color and attract birds?

For Reference, Adams County nursery is one zone warmer than me. They list the harvest date for their earliest sweet cherry as 6/15.

Thanks

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Rain cracking only occurs just before harvest. Bird damage can begin soon after the cherries begin to color. So that would be before rain cracking. Color begins to show about 2-4 weeks before harvest. I'd say 4 weeks for me because the cherries continue to get sweeter well after most people are forced to harvest.

If you are leaving soon I'd think you'd be alright. My impression is that everything is late up there this year. If they aren't beginning to change color when you leave then you are still quit a ways from harvest.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:30AM
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lsoh

Thanks fruitnut.

I'm not leaving for a couple of weeks yet. I'm a beginner at this. But we did have a late spring, so I would expect fruit to ripen later.

Followup questions:

How long do you leave your cherries on the tree after they look ripe?

I've been learning from your blueberry posts too. How long do you leave blueberries on the bush after they look ripe?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:54PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

On cherries probably at least two weeks after they are fully colored up. But that's one crop where you taste them as they go along and decide for yourself. There is usually a downside to leaving them on too long, less acid if you like that and softer fruit.

Blueberries are really about the same but I've left them anywhere from days to 6 weeks. Same potential downsides.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:28PM
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