Cherry trees

patty4150(SoCal)April 2, 2006

Anyone in So Cal have luck with (fruiting) Cherry trees? I know they need chill, but a few success stories might push us towards trying them. Or failed attempts would be nice to know about too. We live in Thousand Oaks, so have some small coastal influence (cooler than the inland areas) and a few frosty nights every year.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There in Thousand Oaks you are not even close to getting the required 600 to 800 chill hours needed to produce a good crop of sweet cherries.

My only suggestion would be to buy some dwarf cherry trees and grow them in large pots. Then every September bring them up to your friend's house in Big Bear in your pick-up truck. (No friends there? Make some!) Let the trees spend the winter up there and then in April go get them. You'll have lots of delicious cherries this way!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 8:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

I've been trying to locate sources of new cherries from Zaiger Genetics, DWN doesn't have them in stock at the moment:

Minnie Royal
Patent #Pending. Ripens 2nd week of May. Sweet, dark red flesh. Used as pollenizer for Royal Lee. 400 hours

Royal Lee
Patent #Pending. Ripens 2nd week of May, about 14 days ahead of Bing. Dark red & sweet. very firm, good size and color. 400 hours.

I've also heard that some CRFG growers in SoCal are able to produce cherries from Royal Rainier. Mature trees of Royal Rainier produce fruit even in years when there are just about 450 chilling hours.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 12:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenwitch(Sz19 SoCal)

I live in Granada Hills and I planted Lapins and Royal Rainier last year as an experiment after reading on the Laguna Nursery website that Lapins fruited in parts of OC. The supplier said that if Lapins fruited, there would be no problem with Royal Rainier.... Granada Hills must have more chill hours than TO however.
Joereal, those cherry cvs you listed sound tempting. Perhaps there are cherries in more people's futures (and gardens) when those get released, if they can get past the common thinking that cherries won't grow here (and keep the squirrels away).

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bfreeman_sunset20(Ca 9b vta co)

Greenwich, did any of the trees flower this year? I got a 3-1 and Stella on it came ready to bloom a bit. Bing and raineer had no blossoms this year(not as precocious). You do have more chill then T.O. being in sunset 19, they are 20 or 21.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 12:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

One thing that we should never forget is the type of rootstock those cherries came with. The most common mistakes made by a LOT of nursery suppliers is NOT disclosing the behavior and buyers NOT knowing the behavior of the cherry tree when grafted to particular rootstocks. For example, if cherries are grafted unto Mahaleb, it would take between 7-10 years for the cherry to come into production, and especially longer in Southern California. You end up with a giant cherry tree after the 4th year and have concluded incorrectly that you don't have enough chilling hours and so would want to dispose of the tree.

I strongly suggest that homeowners buy cherry cultivars on Gisela series of rootstock, especially Gisela 5 (ultra-dwarf). The cherries come into production only after a couple of years, sometimes they flower on the season that you bought and plant them. If the cherries on ultra-dwarf didn't bloom after three years, then you can safely say that you didn't have enough chilling hours, and simply graft more appropriate varieties over them.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bob Vieth, CRFG member and Thousand Oaks resident, says:

"I have had luck with Black Republican, Black Tartarian, Early Ruby, Van, Lapins, Governor Wood, Brooks, Park Hill, Corum, one strain of Rainier (I know of 3[;the others not successful]). All presently are grafted on Early Ruby."


    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 5:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
altadenafoothills(z21 CA)

It's been five years, but I'm pretty sure mine is lapin. In years of heavy rainfall (last year) I had enough to keep me happy. Nothing on my tree -- including blooms -- this year.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Where can one find Minnie Royal or Royal Lee cherry trees? I live in northern Santa Barbara county and have always dreamed of having sweet cherry trees around. I love the idea of cherry trees that only need ~400 chill hours.

Thanks in advance -


    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 11:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Something to keep in mind about Thousand Oaks is the effect of topography. The area near the 101 freeway (Santa Monica Mountain foothills) is a lot warmer than most of the city. My parent's house in Thousand oaks (near Plantas and Arboles) is in a cold-air drainage, they get killing frosts every winter and a considerable amount of chill.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 10:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenwitch(Sz19 SoCal)

I found Bay Laurel Nursery is taking orders for 2008 for Minnie Royal and Royal Lee.
My cherries are not on Mahaleb or Mazzard. I can't remember what they are on, could be G61/1?? I planted Lapins in fall 2005 and Royal Rainier in winter 2006. No blooms yet, Lapins is around 7 or 8 feet tall already, I will start chopping next year now that the roots are established. It has plenty of competition as I have a small yard and all is planted chock-a -block so that should keep it in check a tad.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bfreeman_sunset20(Ca 9b vta co)

My tree is on colt, which is as widely used as the two mentioned. I couldnt find a gisela :(. My tree had severe leaf spot. My copper spray was not cutting it, so I bought some daconil.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 12:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow such talk of cherries. I usually get all of my cherries up by Palmdale at a U pick place. I always get an e mail from him. It's at

I hope this helps everyone out. I love cherries can't wait till summer.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 1:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

If you can't find the Gisela series of rootstock, buy the Ultra-dwarf cherries from Home Depot and graft unto them. I believe they are Gisela. There are two types of ultra-dwarf cherries from HD. Self fertile Bing and Stella.

I have some nice cherries harvested last year from my ultra-dwarf Bing bought from home depot and I planted those cherries in 15 gallon pots, and now I have grafted about 5 other kinds of cherries unto it, doesn't seem to affect it. The grafts last year are now swollen with flower buds, and still it is in the same pot.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Indeed, you can keep them ultra-dwarf. They are only 5 ft tall and the pot is about 18" tall. So the cherries last year were literally within reach of my teenagers. I can't believe the very cheapo Ultra-dwarf cherries from Home Depot can bear fruits while potted!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 9:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's a good idea,


    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I laughed when I read this post, not at you, but because here in the Central Valley we are all wishing beyond hope that we can grow guavas, mangos, macadamias, etc., and down south you guys want the cherries! We have plenty of those and peaches too.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 2:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Here's even a cheaper source of dwarfing rootstocks for cherries:

Krymsk 5 Cherry rtstk
Dwarfing Cherry Rootstock (PAF)(TM) A hybrid of P. fruiticosa x lannesiana. Similiar in size to Gisela 5. Trees can be maintained at 10'. Non suckering, precocious and compatible with all cherries. Developed by Russian breeder Gennady Eremin at the Krymsk Vavilov Institute. Royalties go to support his program. This rootstock is patented and may not to be reproduced without permission of the patent holder.

$3.75 each, $3.25 each for 5, and it can go down to $1.85 each depending on quantity.

I am planning to buy many of these rootstocks and transfer over my cherry cultivars unto them and then replace the existing cherry trees in my yard. Will just plan to keep them up to 10 feet high. Will try them on few cultivars first, and if they did okay, the existing cherry trees will have to go.

Here is a link that might be useful: Krymsk 5 Cherry rootstock

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 3:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenwitch(Sz19 SoCal)

Thanks joereal - now if we can only get ahold of some Minnie Royal and Royal Lee...oops they're patented! just wishful thinking.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 9:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Greenwitch, I wish there were a royalty based program for us hobbyists. I will buy a budwood including royalty fees, and not reproduce the patented trees, it only stays in my property. I would love to pay the patent holders their due fee, which usually are minimal. Charges ranges from $0.65 to $1.65 per tree, based on what I see gets charged over by some bare-root suppliers. We are a niche market though, the enforcement is horrendous to have a profitable payback, but can be done profitably with an honesty system. More than 96% of people are honest, based on experiences with financial transactions.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 11:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The fact is that the patent threat is not the home gardener but countries that have declared themselves unprosecutable under internation patent agreements. As such these countries have used more clever ways to try to access budwood for new varieties. It is a wonder that the patent holders would release any new variety to the public without first getting there money from a commercial release, condsidering how much they put out to protect themselves from this ever exsisting problem. There is no comparison between finanical transaction and patent infringment. There is no security when you place your money open to anyone on the street.

On a different note all the rootstocks offered as Ultra
dwarf are all typical rootstocks offered by all growers in the trade. None are unique,just great marketing!!
Check out their site

Here is a link that might be useful: Pacific Grove nursery

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 9:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Edlo, certainly you can qualify for me as to what you meant by typical. For one there are several scientific publications that I have come across, quantifying the performances of various cherry rootstocks such as the Gisela series and the Krmysk series. If you meant that being the typical is that all growers have access to any of these and none has an advantage over another, but I have a counter-example to this. It seems that there is a large gap as to what western growers and eastern growers do with the peach rootstocks. I have been trying for more than a year in trying to obtain the Peach Guardian Rootstock which is reportedly far superior than those rootstocks used in California in most of the Gulf states. None of our California or western nurseries are offering this rootstock, and this is a USDA sponsored rootstock. Why are we not using this or have tried using this? I may not know the answer and wouldn't want to speculate.

One thing is that most of my trees on lovell rootstocks are now dead, and would want to try a different one. I have nemaguard type rootstocks but trees are poor performers and wanted to try something out of the box called California.

Have you tried evaluating the Peach Guardian Rootstocks? It certainly is not available to some growers or intentionally all western growers seem not to use them. I may be a fool trying these gulf rootstocks out, but I only have a few $ to lose on these so am willing to try and get them legally into California.

Any insights would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 1:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Typical means that all the major growers are currently using these rootstocks. GM61 a typical rootstock in the trade that dwarfs to 65% of standard(25 feet +) is the rootstock used for your Ultra Dwarf Cherry. In tests that I have done through the years on container rootstocks I have tested GM61. It performs well for about 4 years then needs to be rootpruned and repotted to keep it going. This prosess sets the fruiting back a season while the tree gets reestablished. I have had better results with the Gisela 5 and would recommend it for home gardeners wanting to do cherrys in containers. The reason Gisela 5 is hard to find is that it has been dissapointing as a commercial rootstock and too expensive for most growers to offer to the public. As far as Krmysk it is too new and has little grower feed back in the states. Though it sounds good now it will be years before growers results recommend it for the home garden. There have been many introductions through the years that have gone no where once they get into production. The industry is not against good results but the industry does not often act on a whim. It is far too expensive. As for Guardian it is in trials and is showing poorly in all but heavy saline/sodic soils(soils with high salts)Texas has been positive on this rootstock I believe. Though a problem in a few areas on the west coast it is not a typical problem and as such expensive for growers to produce just for a few areas.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 9:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Ed, thank you so much for the very USEFUL information. These are hard to come by. Truly appreciated your response!


    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 12:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
econ0003(10a CA / 8b CA)

I bought two ultra dwarfs last year. A Self Fertile Bing and a Stella. Both are in 7 gallon containers on my patio. They both have blooms all over them this year.

I live in San Diego so they would probably bloom anywhere in CA (although it was a very cold winter this year).

There is a big nursery down here called Evergreen Nursery (the north county location) and they have had a lot of these ultra dwarf cherry trees the past few years.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 4:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm located in the desert, 29 Palms and want to get a Self Fertile Bing. Any suggestions on how or where I can buy one? I'm also looking for a dwarf Braeburn Apple and a good dwarf plum.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 9:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

At our farm, we plant only cherries on z-stem (from Dave Wilson Nursery). Bakersfield, California area growers say this has solved the "low-winter-chill" problem. I've linked to an article that talks about it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Z stem article

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 5:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

terencewel, thank you for that link. So what's an interstem? The rootstock is 1 variety, the trunk is Z stem, and the leafing/fruiting top is yet another?

Still, there just ain't any chill here. Guess I'll have to stick to mangos. :(

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 7:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have one of those Ultra Dwarf cherry trees from Home Depot purchased a few years back. If I plant it in the ground, will it grow taller than 5' to 6'?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim123(z9 or z10 CA)

Since this thread was started two or three years ago and I have not read every post, forgive me if this was already posted.

Two low chill cherries have been introduced in the past two or three years. They are from Dave Wilson Nurseries and are from Floyd Zaiger Genetics.

They are called Royal Lee and Mini Royal. Royal Lee provides larger fruit that is rated as excellent and Mini Royal is its pollenizer. Mini Royal's fruit is reported to be very good, but is smaller but very abundant.

Zaiger Genetics also developed an exceptional dwarfing rootstock for most stone fruits (not cherries) called Citation. It has proven to do well in many soils as well as encourage younger bearing. The Z stem mentioned by another poster is another Zaiger introduction. It permits cherries to be grafted to non cherry stone fruit rootstocks.

I wish I could tell you more about them, but that will need to wait until my newly planted trees have a chance to grow. They have only been in the ground about two and a half months. They look really healthy.

When released, they were reported to need about 500 hours of winter chill. More recent estimates puts it closer to 300 hours.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 3:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My folks grow cherry trees in Southern California, zone 22 also, but a half hour from me.

About 8 years ago they planted Stella and Lapins based on a few reports of local success at the time. Both have thrived when it comes to leaves, vigorous growth, and have made nice shade trees. HOWEVER, the two tress have never gotten a heavy crop of fruit, despite having flowers. The most they have ever picked is a dozen or so in a year. I have suggested they start over with Minnie Royal and Royal Lee cherries.

My neighbor across the street has these two cherry trees, Minnie Royal and Royal Lee cherry, which are now over 3 years old. They have done well, flower, and set fruit here in zone 9b/10 or Sunset 22 of Southern California.

There are pictures of her trees on my blog with a brief description:

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It amazes me how well cherries do in this location, near the Cajon Pass in Oak Hills, at about 3700 feet elevation. Apple trees do well too. Apparently, there is just the right amount of chilling hours, and for two years running, my trees have been loaded. Bing and Ranier cherries...more than I could eat or even give away.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 6:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ultra dwarf Bing cherry tree from Costco produced fruit in Orange County. What I did was put it in a 15 gallon pot, then place on the north side of my house November 1st and very little water to induce dormancy. Then bring it in the full sun mid February. It took a couple years but got a couple dozen fruit ripening right now. Lot of hassle for a little bit of fruit, but I wanted to see if it would work. Much better results from Minnie Royal and Royal Lee planted in the ground, and just as tasty.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 2:24AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Photo of a nest of sparrows under my porch. There are...
New House - Need Help!
Hi Everyone, I recently moved into my new home in Orange,...
Phil Arnold
Pittosporum 'Silver Sheen'
I live in Northridge, CA which is located in the San...
Need help with privacy issues - Sunset zone 18
I have an odd side yard that is on a busy street. ...
please help me decide on a fast growing screen
For many years the back of my neighbor's lot which...
Sponsored Products
Silk Olive Tree
Trademark Global 14 in. Coca Cola Polar Bear with Tree Neon Wall Clock Coke-1400
$80.99 | Home Depot
Arteriors Home - Dunston Tree Sculpture in Beige - 3113
Great Furniture Deal
6-foot Decorator-foots Slim Champagne Tinsel Wrapped Tree
Area Rug: Nevis Passage Beige 8' 6" x 13'
Home Depot
Solar 23 Foot Long LED White Rope Lights
$24.91 | Lamps Plus
Owl Tree Tiered Indoor Fountain
Lamps Plus
Elk Lighting Secret Tree Bookends - Set of 3 - 91-4072
$76.00 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™