Minnie Royal Cherries

Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady LakeNovember 13, 2012

I was about to ask if anyone had any luck with Cherry Trees in Central Florida, but I found an old article saying that it pretty much wasn't going to happen because we don't get enough 'chill hours'. In the thread, someone provided a link to a nursery that had plum/cherry hybrids that might work in lieu of a true cherry tree. So I went to the site and found there is a 'new' cultivar of Cherry Trees called Minnie Royal that only needs 200-300 chill hours to produce fruit. Does anyone have any experience with these trees? Anyone? Anyone at all? Hello? Is this thing on? Anyone? Bueller?

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I nominate you to be the crash test dummie for this endeavor.

It's gotta be someone!



    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:26PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

The problem isn't the chill it is our hot humid summers. Every disease you can imagine will zero in on the cherry trees.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:18AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Then sounds like my wife is SOoL for cherries. True cherries. Okay... so what about apples? It seems she wants every northern type of fruit tree, she just doesn't want to endure the winters they need to thrive.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:10AM
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I ordered a dwarf Minnie Royal and a dwarf Royal Lee cherry tree (listed as its cross pollinator.)

They are on Z-Dwarf root stock so they will grow to about 8 ft.
I plan on putting then in containers, so I can shelter them if it gets too hot.

Both varieties are listed as 200 - 300 chill hours.

Unfortunately they won't ship until January.
But fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:49PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

There are Florida apples you can grow. If you want to try the cherries go for it, don't let me dissuade you. Just know you will have to be vigilant in your spraying. Lou has some cherries and they are growing though so far no fruit.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:30PM
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jason83(Zone 8b/9a (North Florida))

You've probably got sufficient chill hours, but cracking/splitting of the fruit can be a problem, as well as the blights and diseases as was already mentioned. Can't hurt to try it though, perhaps you'll have some success. The apples you can plant here are Anna, Dorsett Golden and Ein Sheimer (sp?). I've got the DG and Anna and they looked miserable all summer. Not very leafy for a tree, but they're "alive." Shade during the brightest/hottest times of the year will be a must.

On the bright side, there's a lot of other kinds of fruits and nuts you can grow. Mulberries do well, as do pomegranates, at least where I live (we're very hot and dry, with barren, sandy-type soil), fuyu persimmon, jujube, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries..there's plenty more I'm sure, but if you have your heart set on those cherries, I say go for it. :)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:33PM
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If you're in Lady Lake you probably have the same problem that I have. Low chill "Northern fruit" is hard to grow because of the heat and diseases, and the tropicals can't handle our winters. What to do? Even blueberries can be difficult because the low chill varieties can be damaged by a late frost and the other varieties may not get enough chill during some years, so I have some of each planted. I have a pomegranate that produces, of course citrus and I'm trying apples. The trees look great, I planted them in August. We'll see how they're doing next August.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 3:53PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

I have Minnie Royal and Royal Lee cherries (one of each). I just got them in January, so they are too young to fruit. They did very well this summer, grew like gangbusters and surprisingly did not have much trouble with leaf-spotting diseases. Some, but not a problem to manage. They were well-fed and irrigated (drip) as needed, and they seemed happy as clams even in midsummer.

I got mine on the extra-dwarfing rootstock (Z-dwarf), but I don't think they got the memo. They are already 10' tall - from 3' trees planted in January! I will be pruning them back next month and in future years I will probably restrain them at about 10'-12' tall so they are easy to manage. If my experience is typical, keeping them to the advertised 8' will require regular summer pruning.

Mine are in-ground, heavily mulched. My theory is that keeping the roots cool will help them tolerate our summer heat. (I don't know if it matters, honestly.) They get all-day sun. I am in N Florida, so maybe I am not quite as hot as Central Florida, but mine never seemed to have issues with the heat at all.

What I don't know yet is whether they will make good-quality cherries...will they crack, will the fruit rot? Did I just get lucky with diseases this year? Only time will tell.

This post was edited by L_in_FL on Sun, Dec 9, 12 at 14:32

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 2:28PM
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jason83(Zone 8b/9a (North Florida))

I'm thrilled to hear of this! That's enough to convince me to go ahead and get a pair for myself. Which nursery did you acquire them from?

I think the fruiting will vary from year to year just like our climate conditions do. But it's nice to hear that the trees didn't suffer at all, because this past summer was quite a wicked one. Tons of insects and diseases were early and rampant this year, and it was a tough growing season for a lot of things. If the cherries endured all of that, then I can't imagine them not doing well for many years to come.

I look forward to hearing about your first fruits! Think you'll get some next spring?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 2:53PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

I got them from Bay Laurel Nursery in California. I've included a link to their cherry page.

The trees I got from them - the two cherries, plus a peach and a pear - were extremely healthy. I would not hesitate to order from them again. However, they are not cheap, and they have a steep minimum shipping charge. However, if you buy at least three trees, the shipping charge per tree is more reasonable.

It's my understanding that cherries bear fruit on spurs. I just went out and looked. I think there are two spurs on the Minnie Royal, and maybe one on the Royal Lee. I've never seen cherry trees up close before getting mine; I just looked for stubby little branches like the fruiting spurs on my apple trees. So...maybe a couple? I am going to try not to get my hopes up yet. Even if they both make a few flowers, pollination isn't a sure thing. Even if they get pollinated, with only a few fruit the odds of any of them making it to maturity aren't that good. But I will be careful not to prune off those possible spurs!

These cherry trees are popular, and they sold out early last year. If you're serious, I'd order ASAP. They ship to Florida in January, and they won't charge your credit card until they ship.

If you get some, maybe we can compare notes later on.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bay Laurel Nursery - Cherry Trees

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 5:01PM
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jason83(Zone 8b/9a (North Florida))

I got four cherry trees coming in the next few days - Royal Lee, Minnie Royal, Stella and Lapins. All of them will receive adequate chill hours based on all the research I've done. I got them from Grow Organic.

This very well may be the one time I'm fortunate that my FL climate differs from the rest of FL.. We are very hot, high and dry, and don't receive the typical rains that even up the street a mile would get.

Since I'm working with 99% pure sand for soil, I'll be incorporating half rotted wood/logs and branches in the bottoms of my planting holes, and will have them ready for these bare root trees that are arriving and will certainly report on how they fare over time :)

I have a spot available that gets sun all day, from beginning to end, and wonder if that wouldn't be too hot... perhaps someone could chime in and advise if its best to give them some afternoon shade?

Thanks L_in_FL for encouraging me to grow the cantaloupes needed to take on this endeavor a few months back! :)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 12:21PM
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I have 2 cherry trees, Royal Lee, Minnie Royal, (both dwarfs,) on route from Bay Laurel.
..Plus 2 low chill dwarf pears, Hood and Flordahome.

Just received notice on Tuesday that they should arrive Friday.

I also recently purchased a Rio Grande Cherry. I know it's not really a traditional cherry. But does anyone have any experience with these?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 1:51PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

By the way, the Minnie Royal and Royal Lee both have pretty red "fall" foliage.

Jason, mine get all day full sun and seem happy in it. I do have them set up on drip irrigation (run when needed) and mulched, so they have never experienced water stress. I don't know if the mulch cooling the roots helps, but I figured it wouldn't hurt. I do get the rains here, but I am slightly above my neighbors, so I have drainage. They are also planted about 6" above the surrounding yard, in open-bottomed raised beds. So they never have boggy roots or weed competition, either. (Can you tell I was paranoid about giving these trees the best possible chance for success?)

I will be interested in hearing how the Stella and Lapins fare for you. I was tempted by those trees as well. Though after last year's mild winter and with the unseasonable warmth right now I am kind of glad I only got the Minnie Royal and Royal Lee. Unless the weather turns cold next week and stays that way 'til February, we aren't going to get anywhere near our usual chill hours here.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 5:25PM
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jason83(Zone 8b/9a (North Florida))

I received my order of fruit trees from Groworganic today via FedEx. I've got them soaking in water and will plant them tomorrow. I'm very happy with the size of the cherries; the trunk caliper size is very nice. :)

Royal Lee is on the left; Minnie Royal on the right. The two in the back (kind of hard to see) are the Stella and Lapins, which I'm eager to give a try right alongside the new low-chill hybrids.

All four are semi dwarf on Colt rootstock.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 2:12PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

Good looking trees! I bet you're excited to get them in the ground. :-)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 12:27PM
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jason83(Zone 8b/9a (North Florida))

Got them planted today. I gave them extra special treatment and dug the holes much wider than average for planting bare root trees. :)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 6:24PM
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Anyone have any luck getting cherries in Florida? Thinking of ordering a Minnie Royal and a Royal Lee for NW Florida.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 12:35PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

My Minnie Royal and Royal Lee trees (planted January 2012) are big and healthy, but have not bloomed yet. They do not seem to believe that they are on the extra-dwarfing rootstock, since I have to prune them to keep them under 10'. Minnie Royal is more vigorous than Royal Lee for me.

It looks like we will be getting plenty of chill hours this year. So *hopefully* my trees will bloom this spring and I can report on fruit this summer.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 2:03PM
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