Cherry Jubilee

alan haighJune 28, 2013

I assumed too early that the very wet weather we've been having here would eliminate the cherry crop. I was at a site today where the Lapins and Cavalier (I think) cherries were loaded and ripe even though I didn't get nets up.

There was some cracking but not nearly as much as I've had on years much less wet. I really can't figure out why this is so. I did put down Indar a little more then 3 weeks ago.

A couple of other sites have the same story.

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Growing fruit is tough.

It's nice to get a pleasant surprise once in a while.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 8:19PM
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I'm just south of you and my Montmorency has its first really nice crop this year. I'm going to take the kids picking tomorrow. Can't wait!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 10:05PM
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alan haigh

Montmorency doesn't crack like the sweets, so it should be the first of many pickings for you. This year the bird competition seems down, so there should be more for you. Sometimes they too need netting even though they are less attractive than the red or blushing sweets.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 5:33AM
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I built a sort of netting tent for it with PVC poles and a very high center pole to keep the netting away from the fruit. Even so, the birds were hanging out outside the net trying to figure out how to get in.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 8:36AM
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alan haigh

Sounds like your effort paid off. Maybe you should try a sweet if you're willing to go to that trouble. I think the most important thing is to get early morning sun to reduce cracking.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:00AM
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I was mentally writing off my sweet cherries with all this wet weather, but I got a surprisingly abundant crop. Very little cracking on the White Gold. Lots of bird damage, but I still got more than half the fruits.

They would have been better if I'd waited longer to pick, but I would have gotten fewer.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:01AM
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alan haigh

By the way, if you are ever in Putnam county or driving through, especially on the Taconic during fruiting season you should give me a call and bring your kids to pick a few peaches.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:02AM
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I was also surprised on the lower level of cracking than expected. I think it is due to the nweather being consistently wet for the last month (10" rain with rain every day). So the cherries have a chance to respond to the moisture by growing bigger slowly as the starches break down to the sugars, vs just exploding form osmotic pressure when you get rain after a dry spell. Never the less the crop is pretty sad, at least 50% cracking with lots of fungal/bacterial damage (spots). I have been blowing the water off with the airblast sprayer in the mornings, but it may be a waste of time. The flavor is washed out and the cherries are soft, I am trying to decide if it is worth picking them. White and Black gold ~50% cracking, Ebooy series 100% (may be due to earlier ripening date), Hudson just coloring up. I hope it stops raining before the sours come in, or this would be the 3rd bad cherry year in a row.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 6:51AM
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alan haigh

Sorry to hear that, Plum. Sure hope cherries aren't a primary cash crop. Seems they need to be grown under plastic in the east to be reasonably reliable, although you still have to figure out a way to keep the roots from getting excessive water from outside the tent.

At least for the home grower cracked cherries can be quite delicious when they don't rot before they ripen..

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 9:36AM
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I got sucked into cherries. I put a few in with the sour cherries, and 6 yrs later we started getting decent crops for several years in a row. So, I put in 40 more and we haven't had a decent crop since. Last year they got frosted in march, the year before they almost drowned (only a few died, they dropped thier leaves mid summer), which motivated me to "make raised beds on an established planting" (ie ditched both sides of the rows), so at least this year they are not drowning. We are mostly plums (70 varieties), . The global warming people around here say the "Green" Mountions will look like Afganastan, but I think they will be a lush rain forest like coastal Washington state.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 1:31PM
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Cherries are a new for us, this year was looking like the first real crop on 4 varieties of with all the rain and cold most are dropping.

The one surprise was a graft of jubilium that got mixed into some mesabi grafts...they came up ripe a week+ ago, everything else is just now starting to color. And while the branch only yielded up a quart or so, there was virtually no cracking and just a few with a touch of rot...and I think those had been bird pecked.
Tasted good, but rather small

And I understand that sweets are touchier still....

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:29PM
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alan haigh

For a home grower the trick may be to have varieties that span the potential harvest season and hope for a dry spell somewhere. This is where grafting comes in very handy. Lose two branches to rot but maybe have the third loaded with sound cherries.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 5:23AM
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Certainly the homegrower has some more options and does not face the disease/pest pressure of folks working at the commercial level.

Plumhill is just a half hour away and like him, we have had no dry spell here...wet and humid like few locals can remember. That was what particularly impressed me with the Jubilium. It bloomed with the bulk of the other sours, but ripened far earlier, with little defect ,and almost no early drop even under these conditions.

The experience is so limited it may be of little value, but I thought I would pass it along.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 8:48AM
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alan haigh

But they didn't ripen under the same temps. Pressure might have been less.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Final results are in, 90%+ splitting, got a big storm, 1-1/2" rain and they just exploded. Even some of the sours split, but so far they are doing OK. I am starting to worry about trees drowning again, standing (and running) water everywhere, road crews busy fixing the damage.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 6:34AM
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sorry to hear of your losses hope your trees survive.

The rain the last 3 days has been torrential in some places. hopefully we can get a few days break and at least get the standing water to drain off in the low areas

We are up on the slopes so not much standing water, but the flash flooding has been incredibly destructive. There is a 3' deep canyon that has now eaten 1/3 of our road. And we are not fact we are better off than many who lost whole roads, structures, ect.
The road crews have been making tremendous efforts trying to clear the culverts and ditches before the next dump hits and at least prevent the damage from getting worse...then they can try to start on repairs.
Good luck

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 9:29AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I noticed this year a lot less birds taking cherries. i guess something else is around they like better? I had a good crop, and a lot of my friends who do no spraying or anything had huge crops too (usually they have no crop!). An amazing year here.
Even with heavy rains, interesting year for sure.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 12:24AM
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alan haigh

Bird predation is down here as well, although there are plenty of birds to finish any ripe blueberries on my charity plants (I think we all owe at least a part of our property to wild species).

I had assumed that many fruit eating birds starved as well- anything dependent at all on wild fruits in Sept and beyond because the squirrels and chipmunks had almost completely stripped the trees of any available food by that time.

But given that the same unprotected cherry crop is available where you are makes me wonder what is the cause. Maybe just the general freeze off of fruit last year creating a surplus of all kinds of fruit this year.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 5:41AM
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Interesting trend,
Our meager crop of cherries has had almost no bird loss without protection as well.
Straw berries were unmolested.
Blueberries are just starting to color and although I should have them netted I haven't gotten to it and they have been left alone as well.
A co-worker of my wife bought a home in the valley with 30 sour cherries (uncared for for years) and invited us to come birds there either and he said they had not seen any working the trees.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 7:35AM
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They were sure into my White Gold cherries, but I attribute this in part to their turning red before they were ripe. Once they started on the cherries, they ignored the strawberry bed.

I've netted my few blueberry bushes and haven't seen any birds around them, trying to get in.

How I have to wonder if they'll get at the plums the way they did last year.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 8:46AM
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alan haigh

Guess we can pretty much narrow it down to fewer birds or more fruit (or a combination) with the likelihood being fewer birds. I'm guessing a population crash because of inadequate food last season. That's almost certainly what happened here with the squirrels and even raccoons.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 10:47AM
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I planted a black gold on Gisela 5 rootstock from Raintree Nursery 2 years ago. Or was it 3 years ago?

This year I have my first crop of sweet cherries (25?).
The tree is maybe 5' tall. With all the rain we got, I found some splitting on my North Star (tart cherry)which I never had before. I am happy to find NO splitting on the
Black Gold fruits.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:47AM
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