Good producing chokecherries?

Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)July 15, 2013

Think these cherries are on the bottom of the list for most of us but I think we forget how wonderful they can be.
I've been tasting some here and there in the bush and surprised how different they can be.

Grown some from seeds and also see drastic differences in tartness/aroma/seed to pulp ratio etc.

I also grow 2 from Mr. Lee, haven't seen any good producing one's yet. Can you tell me which one's are best from him.
It could be that I don't have a good pollinator.

So far I have only one with good full clusters of berries from a native bush on my property, 2 different ones grow side by side but one is my favored.

The most common most people grow is the ornamental Schubert, this one I find produces very little, have never seen full clusters,..but very tart.

What is your experience growing these, please post pictures.

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I have loads of wild ones all over the place so just pick those. Mix them with hi-bush cranberries for a great syrup.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:44AM
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Our town has chokecherries on the blvd so I pick those. Until I moved here I had never heard of them. I mixed them with apple sauce and made fruit leather.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:38AM
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Pudge 2b

I have about 30 chokecherry trees that line the east and north sides of the back yard. They were cuttings from PFRA shelterbelt trees - chosen, I believe, because of their fruiting ability. They are not all from the same parent tree, though - there are some differences that lead me to believe this. Two of the trees don't fruit at all. The ones that do have a good pulp to stone ratio but certainly has juicier fruit in wetter years.

Mine have generally fruited quite heavy but they do have years that are less so. This year will be a pretty good year - the birds will be happy. I've let the trees grow in height and a lot of the fruit is way up there.

I used to pick the fruit and process the juice, freezing the concentrate. My dad used to like that concentrate in hot water, kind of like tea. I made jelly and syrup from it but those products are just too sweet for me and my husband doesn't care for it so I don't make it any more. I remember when I was a kid a lot of people used to make chokecherry wine, and I'm pretty sure there's some recipe that involves soaking chokecherries in vodka to get some type of brandy.

I don't care for chokecherries much - they are sweeter and more palatable if you can manage to wait for a light frost. However, the pectin in the juice is higher when they are more towards the underripe stage so its a gamble depending on your intent.

Black knot has always been an issue, starting next year we will be selectively cutting back about a half dozen each year to ground level to let the trees regenerate but then we'll let them grow as shrubs instead of single trunk trees. They probably won't reach the height they are now, but the black knot should be easier to control. The fruit will be easier to pick, too, I think. I hate to lose my privacy but hopefully they'll grow up quick again.

This photo is from the consistently best fruiting tree. I'd be happy to mail you some spring cuttings from that tree if you like, Konrad. Seeds would be open pollinated so who knows what the result would be.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you all!
Pudge, nice healthy looking tree, for the first this year one one of mine has ugly leave galls, the one beside and touching it doesn't have it. [picture, best producing]
Thank you for the offer, think I have a good selection but one never knows what can happen.
I had the intention with this thread, whoever wanted some can have scions. Mine are grown as a shrub, most can be picked from the ground.
Anyone growing the golden?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 1:37AM
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I have been think about planting choke cherries on the outside of my deer fenced fruit patch. The intent would be to have fruit on the outside for the birds and take pressure off of the Evans, Northstar, and 6 Carmine Jewel inside the fence. My concern is how seriously the deer browse back these plants? Would elderberries or something else be a better choice? Most of my berry picking birds are catbirds and brown thrashers.

Does planting choke cherries increase the likelihood of getting black knot on my other cherries?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 8:17AM
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Pudge 2b

I don't know about its palatibility for deer - all parts of the plant are poisonous, apparently, except for the fruit pulp.

Black knot is an airborn problem - if you have any native chokecherry in your area, the issue is already at hand but certainly adding more susceptible trees would, I think, increase the chances.

I don't think chokecherries would take the pressure off your other cherry trees. I don't think it's the first choice of birds - they will eat Moutain Ash berries, small ornamental crab fruit, honeysuckle berries, pretty much anything before they go for the chokecherries. They ripen later, perhaps that's one of the issues. In my yard, the chokecherries get eaten by the migrating northern Robins and Cedar Waxwings. If there is still fruit in the winter, big flocks of Bohemian Waxwings clean it up in no time. I've not seen Catbirds nor Thrashers eating them - I think they're usually gone by the time the chokecherries are ripe enough to eat.

Cotoneaster produces fruit that birds like, and I believe it's one of those shrubs that deer don't particularly care for. If they're hungry enough, though, they'll eat pretty much anything.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 1:24PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Yes,..chokecherries are too late ripening, I find the Saskatoons
do a good job for me on the Evans cherries.

I have a Cotoneaster row as windbreaker but never ever seen birds picking these.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 1:55PM
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Now knowing the Saskatoons ripen at the same time as the cherries, maybe I should try them to relieve some of the bird pressure. If the Saskatoons were outside the deer fence, would they survive or be chewed up? I've wanted to give them a try but worried about deer problems.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 5:08PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Yesterday I've seen Cedar Waxwing feeding their young with ripening Saskatoons, ..some are still green.
Some Evans cherries turning orange now.

Today with amazement, one of my small seedling chokecherry bush is ripening, [picture].

I'm exited about this early fruit for July 21, usually they ripen the end of August or beginning September.

I had a small Saskatoon chewed up, then I put a wire loop fencing around so they can't get to it until the bush grows a decent height, have never seen any chewed back on mature trees.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:02AM
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The birds already got all of my cherries this year. There wasn't enough to be worth protecting but I'm hoping that will change in the future.

I think that I will plant some Saskatoons on the outside of my fence next year. As you noted Conrad, I will put a 4 ft tall chicken wire hoop around them for their early years so they can get established. Hopefully, they will grow into be my sacrificial lambs for the birds in the future.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:38PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Well lets hope so!

Chokecherries have been over looked for a long time but now slowly get some recognition for it's high antioxidant levels and other good stuff in them.

I'm just picking some now,. it will be mixed into the Evans Cherry wine. Some young Cedar Waxwings are feasting on them, ... there is enough to share.

I can eat a handful with no problem,..they have sweeten up pretty good, took some to the show, some people liked it, someone commented that theirs are sweeter, ..since they will be at the scion wood exchange next April, I'll be trading these and find out.
This was really my goal,...someone might have better berries, although mine are hard to beat lol.

I'm hoping for a annual chokecherry convention, [maybe incorporate into the Devonian's festival] ...down the road, I think the time has come that we should pay more attention for this northerly fruit which we can grow better then anybody else, especially for the prairies.

So,...I'm asking all chokecherry lovers and berry pickers, pay attention what's growing out there and bring some of yours to the show.
I've been Saskatoon picking at some public places, along rivers, lakes etc. and have seen chokecherries as well but haven't gone out and picked any,..since I have my own, I might just go out and explore a little.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 12:03AM
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alcan_nw(z1 AK)

Another nice picture. There are other species of chokecherry (prunus padus or commonly called mayday tree) which are wild and originally in Europe, but now quite commonly wild in Fairbanks too because of early immigrants from long ago.

I learned this from the university too, that in order to identify each is to find the texture of the seed. Our common chokecherry is wrinkled and not smooth like yours. Yours hang on to a more astringent taste later in the year than ours, and the fruit sizes always will be slightly larger on yours.

There are more varying flavor from tree to tree with yours too so I hope you find this identification tip helpful so you don't get your chokecherry breeds mixed as your looking for better ones.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:57AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you alcan!
Mayday cherries here you will not dare put in your mouth,..the worst possible taste!

>>Yours hang on to a more astringent taste later in the year than ours No, the longer they stay on, the nicer the taste,..usually just before freeze up I pick them, ..not bad to eat.

Someone sent me a Russian link from Russia on some of these, have translated with Google, not a perfect translation but you can get it

Wouldn't mind to try some of these..

Siberian Beauty
- new domestic variety. Leaves at the beginning of blooming and flowering period light green, then turn dark purple top and pale lilac-purple - the bottom. Secondary growth in appearing at the end of July purple crown - bright green. Fruit rather large, dark red, very good taste, contain a large amount of pectin.

The variety has an early ripening, rather large fruits weighing up to 0.7 grams of black paint and a good sweet-sour taste. Fruiting fairly stable, yield up to 20 kg per tree. Plant this variety - a large tree reaching a height of 7 m and has large leaves and loose inflorescences, consisting of 35-37 small flowers. The variety has the highest winter hardiness.

Salamatova memory
Pretty old variety cherry, featuring Middle-ripening, large fruit (up to 1 g) with a greenish-yellow flesh of excellent flavor. Sort stable fruiting, crop yields up to 40 kg with a powerful tree which can reach 7 meters in height. The plant is quite decorative, mainly due to its long inflorescences, often consisting of 45-50 flowers. The positive qualities of varieties include high hardiness.

Black shine
Mid-early ripening variety. Fruits are round-ovoid shape, weight 0.8-0.9 g, black color skin and great taste. Fruiting varieties moderately periodicity, productivity is quite high and reaches 10-20 kg per tree. The plant itself is a large (up to 6 m) tree, flowering period covers dense inflorescences, consisting of 35-40 large flowers. Sort vysokozimostoyky however samobesplodny, ie, to obtain stable yields in the area should grow other varieties for vzaimoopyleniya.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:56PM
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Good thread.
Though we find the Cedar Waxwings the worst here, Robins are also a problem. Would be nice to keep them from nesting in the yard.
We have a seedling Chokecherry which is very nice It produces a more reddish black fruit and they can be quit a good size if we get some rain in filling time. They are on the milder side so make a very good jelly as well as syrup. It is a good producer but a bit biennial in habit depending on how spring is for pollination! We also have a Garrington which produces a good lot of fruit and is very black but has very poor tree structure. I have posted a link to my blog where there may be pictures in some of the older posts.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Blog

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thanks for this info, cmmwiebe!
Garrington I have grafted last spring and will have something to compare. As I still remember, this one was selected as a commercial cultivar for its ease in mechanical harvesting. Great blog! Couldn't find this Garrington, can you please post a picture here.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:25AM
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I have attached a picture of the seedling. This was probably a little early but the jelly darkened on cooking. The Garrington is quite sprawling and hard to maintain in my context. The seedling I have pruned as a tree. Picture of Garrington to follow.
Is there a way to load more than 1 picture at a time?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:54PM
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Here is the Garrington. Not the best picture but my experience is flat branching and lots of multi stem growth.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:56PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

That is great, ..thank you Clayton!
Interesting, your red looks nice! Haven't seen much of the red kind, one of Mr. Lee, think it's Lee Red, [picture below] is a little red, find it too bland and not much flavor, not one I would want to grow.

Garrington looks like a heavy producer, it annual? Do both flower at the same time?..Good to have several for pollination overlap. I have a seedling, pruned it into a tree, HUGE now but I don't pick it, not full cluster of berries, pollination issue I think, flowers about two weeks earlier then then rest, nothing else to pollinate.
Which of the two is your favored? Stripping them off is another thing, some come off nice and some are stubborn, especially when picked a little early.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lloyd Lee Inducted into Alberta's Agricultural Hall of Fame

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:28PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Been forgetting dates..
Good to know at what time fruit is ripening, picture above is from Aug. 16.

I have grafted golden a couple of years back and set fruit first time last year, ..nothing really exiting when eating out of hand, actually it was on the yucky side, supposedly it makes nice golden color wine, ..not sure if it taste nice also.

More from Lloyd Lee in Link blow..
I have visited hes orchard about 20 years ago and purchased one of hes best apple tree, called Lee 17

This picture from Aug. 16.

Here is a link that might be useful: Invaluable Gene Pool Discovered

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 12:55AM
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I think we tend to harvest last of August first of Sept but depends on rain and heat. I have a number of cherry types around the yard so there is good pollen most springs. What does happen is cold snaps, high winds and no pollinators so there is usually something each year but really biannual is best production! I think there are very few fruit plants in this climate that stay healthy for long if the produce heavy every year.

I want to try making some cuttings of this red one (it does get darker if left) as it seems to produce well and makes a nice small tree. Suckers in its present growing place but could be controlled grown in mowed grass. Would need watering here to produce well.
I have pulled out plants from time to time as they went down in production for one reason or another!
I do have a new Red Leaf small tree that looks like it will produce a good berry so am watching it as well. I had a fellow who was here for a BBQ say it would look good in his front yard. Just need to get some cuttings going and propagate it up.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 3:03PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

This looks like a Schubert seedling,...have you got Schubert?

I've got several coming up but need more years for production.

My only one Schubert is not as productive as I would like to see

You're right, a loaded tree one year will set out a little,..more ore less.

How is your Garrington,...annual?
Do you like the red over the black?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 1:47PM
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I have a number of Canada Red Chokecherries in a row here and several other seedlings from Beaverlodge - John Wallace crosses trying to get a red leafed with white fruit. No luck in my seedlings. So there are a number of other reds around the yard.
I like the red fruited tree because the tree is much nicer and easy to harvest. Harrington is a good producer and I probably need to prune it better.

Looking forward to new leaves soon!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:51PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

White fruit does sound good in a dark leaved tree as ornamental but not particular as super healthy fruit as dark berries, ..same as white fruited Saskatoons.

Haven't heard of white fruited Chokecherry,..any link or pictures?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 8:02PM
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Konrad I think there are no real "white" but certainly a light yellow to golden such as Boughen's Yellow. Bad choice of description on my part. Here are a couple of interesting links I found while looking for the Boughen one.

You are very right about the deep colors. I think the red we have has good milder flavour but likely still enough color to be pretty healthy.
The fruit from that little Purple leafed tree is dark, dark red so also very good.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:50AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thanks for the link of winery in the US. Have tried some fruit wines from a local winery here in the past but hasn't impressed me a bit with their watered down version of wines, ..about the same I would expect with this winery in your link, 2 acres only.
Boy,..what a investment,'ll take more then a lifetime to recover,...unless you're using more water and sell allot.

I call it sugar water wine with a taste of flavor.
You can get a buzz, without much or any health benefit.
Unless you'll have enough grapes or apples and don't water down.

Spend your money on a real commercial grape wine or make your own!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:50PM
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