Good type Black Cherry Tree for Oregon?

cascadiansMarch 23, 2008

Well, looks like some trees and bushes in this yard may not have survived this past winter, so thinking of replacements ... lists of great trees for birds list Black Cherry ...

What's a great Black Cherry tree for Oregon, near Portland? Able to handle wet areas and hot dry summers?

All recommendations and advice greatly appreciated!

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Black cherry is Prunus serotina, a native to much of the eastern US. It's not grown much as an ornamental and there are very few cultivated forms. I've never seen one offered in a local nursery. It gets very large and tends to be rather weedy, producing a thicket of suckers, and because of its origin, could very likely be prone to the host of fungal problems and other disease issues and pest problems other, more ornamental cherries tend to suffer here. For one, it is beloved by tent caterpillars :-))

You might be better off tracking down our own native bitter cherry, Prunus emarginata. It is a smaller growing shrubby tree and offers similar wildlife attraction. And as a native, is infinitely better suited to this area and climate.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 10:04PM
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Thanks Gardengal48! Just been reading about Van and Bing Cherry trees and all the spraying involved, yikes. But so delicious ... for humans and birds.

What's the difference between a black cherry tree and bing cherries?
Sorry for the ignorance. Do they grow black cherries in Hood River?

So is Prunus emarginata really attractive to birds? bitter is as good to birds as sweet cherries? Do bird tongues differentiate between sweet and bitter fruit?

Native would be a lot less work ...

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 10:19PM
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Black cherries ARE bitter - the birds don't care about the tartness at all, although the fruit of both species is unpalatable to humans unless sweetened and cooked. Or made into wine, which I understand is very good but I prefer mine grape :-))

Black cherries are so named for their bark, which with age becomes a very dark gray or black and with a rough, plated texture - I've heard it described as looking like "burnt potato chips". The fruit itself starts out red but does darken with ripeness.

Sweet cherries, of which Van, Bing and a number of others are black-fruited cultivars, are cultivated selections of Prunus avium, native to western Asia and Europe. ALL fruiting cherries are attractive to wildlife, but if you want to enjoy the fruit as well as the birds, a domesticated form of P. avium is probably your best choice. Lapins, Stella or Black Gold are all very disease resistant and self-fertile cultivars of black-fruited sweet cherries and do well in the PNW.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 10:45PM
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THANK YOU Gardengal48! You answered all those questions very clearly and your knowledge is awesome! This is amazing, to go from knowing zilch to a baby-step understanding. THANK YOU !!!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 12:37AM
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So what is the best cherry variety for making dried fruit?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Typically pie (also called tart or sour) cherries are used for dried fruit because they are smaller and take less energy to dry the halved or whole pitted cherry.

But you can dry any cherry if you cut them into small enough pieces, say thirds or quarters, or leave larger pieces in the drying device long enough.
cascadians--one major cherry problem in this area is splitting of the ripe cherry from rain-wetting, hard to avoid in June or early July. Later ripening, split resistant cherries are the way to go. Perhaps some of the gardengal-advised varieties are among those types.

I think Bing is more prone to split. It was developed near Milwaukee, Oregon in the late 1800's.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 11:13PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

All kinds of sweet cherries can be pest and disease targets. This has not, however, prevented the species from going wild in this region and becoming a woodland weed. Some local hillsides are partly white in spring due to the numbers of sweet cherries that are competing successfully with the native trees. It is also so prevalent as to have produced a not rare hybrid with the seemingly comparatively unrelated bitter cherry. This hybrid has been named Puget cherry (Prunus x pugetensis) and displays intermediate characteristics. One example of this hybrid known from Carkeek Park, Seattle was determined to be 98' tall some years ago.

Even taller sweet cherries growing wild here are known.

Sweet cherries are the sweet corn of home orchard fruits. Everybody likes the fruit and plants the trees all over, even though they are not a particularly easy or space-saving crop.

Cherry growing in the Pacific Northwest is not only
an interesting and sometimes profitable endeavor but
one attended by many problems. This publication discusses
several factors that lead directly or indirectly
to the untimely death of cherry trees. It is likely there
may be other factors that have not yet been recognized.
Nevertheless, the known problems are numerous
and many are serious

Here is a link that might be useful: EB 0668 - Why Cherry Trees Die

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 3:19PM
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