Bush cherries vs tree cherries

jacqueinthegorge(USDA 8 / Sunset 5)December 15, 2013

How do bush cherries compare in taste to tree cherries?

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fabaceae_native

My understanding is that although the bush cherries are sometimes advertised as being equivalent to regular cherries, they are typically completely different species and tend to be much smaller and more tart, akin to pie cherries culinarily.

I can only speak from experience in regards to 'Hansen's Bush Cherry' though, which is a selection of the wild Sand Cherry native to the Western US:

Nice flavor and texture, but not for eating out of hand like a sweet cherry, due to tartness. They are produced in abundance though, and a good sized for a native cherry, even from a tiny bush.

If you're imagining harvesting something a 'Bing' off of a bush, I'd guess you would have to go with some miniature sweet cherry variety, perhaps a genetic dwarf.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:37PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

No genetic dwarf sweet cherries exist.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:45PM
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fabaceae_native

Drew,

I believe you're mistaken, unless this source is wrong, but it (Cornucopia II) lists three genetic dwarf sweet cherry cultivars: 'Compact Lambert', 'Compact Stella', and 'Garden Bing', though none are quite as tiny as the miniature peaches, apparently. I also imagine that the term "genetic dwarf" can be construed many different ways, but taken literally all it really means is that the plant grows to be smaller than the norm due to it's genetics and not to the rootstock or to cultural practices.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 3:04PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Good, i was hoping you would prove me wrong! I wanted to learn what they were! Very cool!
But 12 feet is not that small, and any sweet cherry can be kept to 12 feet on Gisela 5 rootstock.
I would maybe go with the tart x mongolian cross Crimson Passion which grows to about 8 feet. 22 brix.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 3:25PM
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jacqueinthegorge(USDA 8 / Sunset 5)

Well drat, I really was hoping I could harvest something like a Bing from a bush!

Thanks all for your replies.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 9:03AM
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canadianplant

Drew

Its my understanding that Evans (bali) stays around 8 feet on its own roots. Maybe not a dwarf but definitely not what many sweet cherry types can get to when on their own roots and unpruned.,

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 10:42AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Evans sounds good, similiar to the Romance series. I eventually will plant one and others too. I like the tart cherries a lot anyway.
I would like to find some sand cherry plum crosses that used to be around, now hard to find, most can be found in Canada.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 11:06AM
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lucky_p

In my experience, Evans/Bali is a great cherry for folks in zones 5 & colder - but if you're in zone 6 or warmer, don't bother with it. Photos konrad has posted from his zone 4 setting make it look phenomenal!

Have had it here for nearly 20 years (finally pulled it out a year or so back, but there are still a couple of suckers that popped up 30-40 ft away). Yes, it ripens later than Montmorency, but that just allows more time for curculio and other pests to hit it, and it was never as productive as Montmorency. Don't know that I ever saw more than a half-dozen fruits that were worth bothering to pick, and they weren't nearly as plump and tasty as those from the nearby Montmorency.

Grew out some row-run Nanking seedlings a number of years back - I'd purchased them for use as dwarfing rootstocks for plums - tiny little fruits with minimal pulp surrounding the pit. Native P.serotina(black cherry) produces larger fruits with more pulp. Maybe I had a less-than-stellar strain, but my impression was, "Why bother with it?"
Kinda made me think maybe these bush cherries were for folks in the frigid northland who don't have enough growing degree days to grow a real fruit (tic). lol

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

I always thought bush cherries were more plum than cherry, but I guess not:

Here is a link that might be useful: Bush cherries

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 8:18PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

I have a similar reaction to Lucky, fabacea and others, partly based on my climate. I have had bush cherries in frigid NE Oregon (zone 4?). They were great, disease free and tasty. This climate is more like Alberta than Portland. Portland has very wet mild 5 month long Springs, from February through June. Most stone fruit hate it. Bush cherries here get lots of diseases, and mostly don't produce. Sweet cherries do well here on trees. Montmorency produces reliably and tends to get few diseases. I am experimenting with some of the Hungarian varieties of pie cherry. Jubilieum hasn't produced hardly anything. My soil isn't balanced. I just did a soil test, so I'm fertilizing and I'm going to see if it makes a difference.
John S
PDX OR

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 8:56PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I'm in zone 6 but some rate it as 5b, so I think i could grow Evans fine. If a harsher environment is better my cottage on the great lakes provides windy chills that go to the bone.
Even the freighter's have to stop passing by in the winter.
It's plenty cold enough.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 11:24AM
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lucky_p

Drew,
Evans may work fine for you in MI, but down here on the KY/TN line, it's a dog.
I've seen enough photos and testimonials to know that it's a great cherry in cold climates; just not here.
I'm not a cherry fan, so it didn't bother me one whit to remove it.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 11:54AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Another i would like to try is Balaton. It actually is better suited for my zone and even warmer zones.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Balaton

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 12:38PM
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murkwell

My understanding is that Compact Stella and Compact Lambert are the equivalent of bud sports from Stella and Lambert respectively and were produced by inducing genetic mutation via gamma radiation.

They are sort of the opposite of the Incredible Hulk.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 4:36PM
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