I was wondering if I could grow fruit bearing cherry trees in North Texas?
I'm not having much luck in Alpine. And I'm not totally sure why. I think we get enough chilling but am not 100% even on that. In Amarillo I had fair luck with Stella. It had fruit about half the years but the quality was poor. So I'm sure Amarillo gets enough chilling. If you are around Dallas you may get enough chilling but I'm not sure of anything else.
Check out Oak Creek Orchard's website. Richard Ashton has written a book you can buy about growing cherries near Brownwood. That might be helpful depending on where you live.
Try Stella, Lapins,and Minnie Royal and Royal Lee.
Take a look at the descriptions at Dave Wilson Nursery.
Here is a link that might be useful: Dave Wilson Nursery
Texas A&M says sour cherries have a chance, but not sweet.
The most reputable Texas fruit tree nursery I know of, Womack's, doesn't even sell cherry trees, which tells me something.
All of which hasn't stopped me from trying, I planted a Stella & Lapin a couple years ago, & I got 2 cherries from my Lapin this year, tasted great!
I'll second looking at the Oak Creek orchard website, Richard Ashton has done a lot of research there on cherries.
I would think in TX it would be like an apricot. They both tend to flower very early which then proceed to get zapped by late cold.
I would give Royal Lee and Minnie Royal a try.
FYI, Womack's is selling these varieties now. You can also get them from Bay Laurel Nursery and Raintree Nursery.
I had cherries on my 2 year old Compact Stella located in Dallas in 2010. This winter, I planted 2 each of the Royal Lee and Minnie Royal. I purchased mine from Bay Laurel, and they arrived in good shape -- probably 3/4 inch in diameter.
They are said to only need 200-300 chilling hours, so I expect that they will do well here. They produce in Southern California. Compact Stella requires approximately 700 chilling hours.
Here is a link that might be useful: Dallas Fruit Grower
I am trying Starkrimson, Stella, Lapin, Minnie Royal, Royal Lee and Royal Rainer Sweet Cherries in Austin. They are doing ok so far with the Starkrimson being the oldest and largest, it's bloomed the last 3 years, and had some fruit that the birds got.
North Texas has more chilling hours so other varieties of Cherries would probably work for your area(perhaps Bing, Van, others). Sour Cherries are supposed to be good in Tx and OK too. The Root stock is another factor to investigate with your local extension service and area garden clubs. Cotton Root rot can be a real killer; lost a sour cherry tree that way. Another option is a dwarf cherry grown in a container.
My expectation of the low chilling cherries in most of Texas is that they will bloom too early and get frozen out in spring. I didn't bother to try them outside here because even the high chilling cherries bloom too early. My high chill cherries have been frozen out four years running. After the last freeze in March 2010, I cut the trees down.
I am trying the low chilling types in my greenhouse not because of the low chilling but because some of them mature early. This year my cherries got ~1,100 Utah chilling hrs in the greenhouse. I'm now on spring warm up and running the greenhouse at 60s by day and 30s at night. I'll increase this by 2F every 10 days until after fruit set.
Cherries have been the most difficult fruit to grow in the greenhouse. Fruit set has been mostly 1-25% in the past with a more rapid spring warmup. I'm hoping with the temperature regime in place this year that set will be 50%. What fruit I've gotten has been very large and very high quality.
I have a Capulin cherry that is supposed to be OK with heat and it is similar in layout to the Cherry Laurel. Anyone wanting to assist in this project with scion wood or grafting skills would be welcom.