Would Lapins or Stella cherry do well in San Francisco area?

sonaliagrawalDecember 9, 2011

I am looking to plant a cherry tree this month - sweet cherry, deep red variety, love the flavor of bing, non cracking quality preferred. My research on Dave Wilson's site shows that Lapins or Stell might be my options at this point. Would any of them do well in peninsula area of san francisco bay area (san carlos, specifically)? If not, what varieties do you recommend?

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Define "Well". Generally speaking you won't get enough heat units to make the cherries sweet; unless you have a south facing slope producing a warmer microclimate. The later maturing varieties would give you a better shot; but in any case a cherry there should grow and fruit, whether the fruit is perfect or a little less than perfect. Expect your fruit to ripen a little later than the prime cherry areas like Lodi; it is why they don't grow commercial cherry orchards in your area.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 1:36PM
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I live in San Mateo in the Highlands (280/92) I have a 23 year old Stella tree that produces the sweetest cherries I've ever had. I also have a younger tree that I've grafted Bing, Lapin and Stella.

San Carlos actually gets warmer than the hills of San Mateo so you should do fine.

Remember that Sunnyvale at one time was home to Olson's Cherries, one of the largest Cherry Orchards in the Bay Area.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 2:43PM
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letsski - thanks for the confidence :) If I were to pick just one cherry tree, would you recommend lapin or stella? In terms of how it would do in san carlos, and in terms of the quality and flavor of the fruit it produces.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 3:16PM
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Sunnyvale is a microclimate; and the operative word re Olsons is "used to be"; as I mentioned the fruits in the S. San Francisco peninsula will get ripe a little later than Lodi and Linden, thus missing the peak market prices, ergo..."used to be".

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 3:25PM
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If I were to pick one tree, I would go with Stella. I have two Stella trees now; one grafted with Lapin, and I much prefer the Stella.

As far as Olson's and other fruit producing orchards in the Santa Clara Valley, the reason there is no longer viable fruit production has nothing to do with the growing conditions and all to do with the value of land.

With average home and land prices among the highest in the nation, if not the highest, it didn't make economical sense to use the land for agricultural.

At one time, the Santa Clara Valley was home to large, productive Apricot, Cherry and Almond orchards. In fact, when we moved into our new home in Mountain View in 1965, across the street was entirely Apricot Orchards. They subsequently bulldozed the land and built more homes.

As a side note - our old tract house, all 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath and 1,300 sq. ft. on a 60' x 100' lot recently sold for 1.2 million.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 6:12PM
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I was going to say the same letski, the land is just worth too much here in the valley to just use for agriculture.

This story sums it up, was the last farm in this part of the valley to go....

Here is a link that might be useful: Grant Road Farm Demo

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 7:55PM
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As a commercial cherry grower, I will tell you even if there were still ag acreage in Sunnyvale, cherries would not longer be a very good business. The cherries ripen too late and there is too much acreage in Washington these days. We still do well in the early markets which is even becoming more challenging these days.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 10:53PM
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Good on you mate... pragmatic advice... from a BIG fan of Lodi Linden Bing cherries

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 11:19PM
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Bings are no longer a good commercial cherry in our area. They are no longer being planted and there are few Bing orchards left. I guess there are still a good bit of Bings left in the Lodi area but even up there growers are planting alot more of the earlier varieties. We grow Coral Champagne, Brooks, and Tulares.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 12:10AM
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Commercial concerns aren't always the same as that of a backyard grower. This opens up a lot more choices to home growers.

Raintree has a cherry from this area described here:

Almaden Duke Cherry

The delicious combination of sweet and tart flavors makes this new cherry unique. Thought to be a seedling of a Mazzard cherry, it is easy to grow and very productive. It was provided to Raintree by Andy Mariani and discovered in the Almaden Valley near San Jose CA. Self fertile. The tree can be maintained at 10' tall on Gisela 5 rootstock.

Here is a link that might be useful: Almaden Duke Cherry

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 12:27AM
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In regards to the poster's original question, I suspect those cherries will do okay in your area. Another good variety is Utah Giant if you are willing to plant another pollinizer nearby. Bing is one of my favorites. Black Tartarians are really sweet, just softer than other varieties.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 12:54AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

The best cherries in 2011 in my greenhouse were Royal Rainier, Van, Selah, and Sandra Rose. These can all reach 28-32 brix.

Bing, Rainier, Lapins, Skeena, and Sweetheart are good. Sonata can be good if allowed to get really ripe. Chelan is good for an early cherry. Regina was poor the first year.

Here is a link that might be useful: 2011 greenhouse sweet cherry report

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 10:19AM
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Thinking about getting 3 cherry trees, puttin a Bing in between 2 Utah Giants. Do you think this will work for cross pollination?

Thanks in advance for any advice I could get.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 4:26AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Substitute a Lapins, Stella, Sweetheart, Sandra Rose, or another self fertile for one of the Utah Giants and you will be covered on all bases. Van is a very good cherry and will pollinate both. Bing will pollinate Utah Giant but I'm not sure about visa versa.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:33PM
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I live in Fremont CA and I have a 7 years old Bing cherry tree that bring a few fruits every year. I'd like to graft some pollinator branches perhaps (Lapins and Stella) or if you have a better idea I'd appreciate it.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:11AM
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dufrene(San Francisco)

Sonali - if you're still on this thread, what did you finally choose for a cherry and how has it turned out? I am also in San Carlos and considering a cherry tree.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2014 at 11:49AM
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