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Bing Cherries in Socal

Posted by blue_can (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 14, 10 at 23:35

I found some dwarf Bing cherry plants at my local Home Depot. I think they are bare root plants - the roots are wrapped in a bag and the plant has no leaves. I was interested in this plant but on the bag is says it needs 550 - 650 chill hours. I'm sure we don't get that many chill hours (I'm in San Diego).

On the other hand would they be selling something not suitable for our region. But this is Home Depot - not a nursery - so that's possible I suppose.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

Big box stores are very bad at selling plants/trees that have no chance at growing well in your area.

Well it might grow OK but it might not set fruit inyour area.

Chill hours have been proven wrong many times but I would trust others who have had experience with the Bing in your area than what HD will sell you.

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

If you are not sure how many hours of chilling you get, call your local county extension office. California if filled with micro climate areas and by you address they will answer your question. Al

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

I did find that info online -

There is a station a few miles from where I live and they list the chill hours as 89 - well short of what's listed on the plant.

Yes, I also understand that chill hours is not an exact science and may not apply - plus I'm ot sure how much the micro-climate in my yard varies from the station data. Plus I know that in winter we get many nights where the temp is in the mid 40s (say 46 - 47). SInce it is not 45 or below maybe it is not counted as chill hours but since it is so close I guess it could qualify.

I suppose I could try it out and see what happens.

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

Phooey. I just typed a long explanatory piece about trying to grow a Bing, or other fruit tree that requires lots of chill, in a low-chill region such as you live in. But it's gone.

So to summarize:
The tree will grow, somewhat.
It will bloom, somewhat.
It may even set fruit, somewhat.
But the fruit won't mature.
Not ever.
Then after a number of wishful waiting for a "real" crop, the tree will begin to decline.

Bottom line: To save yourself a lot of grief, forget trying to grow a Bing in your region.

The best info you can get about growing fruit trees in your region will be from your county's Extension Service office. Anyone can locate their county's office with this clickable map from the USDA:

Jean, who gardened for 30-some years in Long Beach, CA

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA map to locate any county Unversity Extension Service office

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

Blue can;

Bing is a loser for Soutern California; not enough cold. However, all is not lost; there are two excellent low-chill cherry varieties that excel here and the fruit quality is equal or superior to Bing: Royal Lee and Minnie Royal. They pollinate each other and bear like crazy, being the first cherries that are productive in Southern California.

Big box centers like Home Depot have buyers that purchase for large areas of the country, and absolutely cannot be trusted to carry plants that are adapted to each store's climate. You will find Minnie Royal and Royal Lee bare root at your retail nursery, as they are wholesaled by Dave Wilson Nurseries. They take a few years to really start bearing, but once they do they are very reliable.


RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

Okay thanks everyone - I guess I will forget about the Bing. I only have enough space for 2 more fruit (dwarf) trees or fruit trees that are smaller in size so I guess I will forget the Cherry and look at Citrus and something else that would grow well in our region.

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

As final confirmation I spoke with a friend who gardens a lot and has many fruit trees and vegetable plants. He also known many others who garden and tracked down someone who had planted one of these from HD. Apparently the tree grows well but puts out little to no fruit. So he has concluded at this late stage that it is to do with the chill hours.

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

By the way, you can ignore the chilling hours for apples, as they all fruit just fine here. Wish I could say the same for stonefruit.

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

Bought a Bing from Costco couple years ago and put in a 15 gallon container. Its an ultra dwarf about three feet tall and had a good bud set this spring, but only one out of three pollinated. Have a little more than a dozen fruit just now turning. I think it may have helped to move it in the shade for the winter, then full sun in Feb. However, I've been eating fruit from Royal lee and mini lee cherry trees for a couple weeks now, and taste is very good. Not bad for Orange County.

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal


Are you that guy from Huntington Beach that has like 40 fruit & nut trees in your backyard? Along with berries?
I went to your open house years ago & your Cherry trees were maybe 2-3 years old. Any pics of the size of the trees now?

I thought it was kind of funny that you went from wanting to plant a bing to citrus. Don't citrus love heat? I had an Orange tree for years & it never got really sweet so I took it out, too cold. My lemon does fine though.

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

I'm in San Juan Capistrano, your thinking of someone else in HB, I don't have any citrus. The bing cherries are ripening but not ready yet, hopefully they will. Only got a dozen or so that pollinated, don't know what happened there?

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

Arrrgh! sorry for my outburst but this is why you shouldn't buy plants from box stores like HD. They're ok for lumber, pipes, screws, stuff like that, but not for plants. Do you know they don't even own the plants that are in the store? They have a wholesale purchase program where they do not pay a wholesaler for a plant until it's rung up through the register? Up until that point it's the vendor's plant. The vendor is responsible for it's well being. And for watering it. If the vendor doesn't have enough staff to get out there and water the plants, then they die, and get written off.
Go to an independent nursery. They have to buy the plants, take care of them, and guarantee them. And most people who work there like plants and often know a lot more about them. Yes, they are somewhat more expensive, but what about the cost of watering and fertilizing that Bing cherry that will never give you good fruit? Not to mention the one thing we never get more of; TIME. the time wasted on bad plants!

Support your local independent nurseries! If you don't you'll only end up with box store plants that don't do well in your area. Just sayin'.

RE: Bing Cherries in Socal

Hi BarbJP,
I bought the tree at Costco not Home Depot, and the point I was trying to make was that the Bing tree fruited here in Orange County. There was three to four times as many buds as pollinized fruit, but I think that's a different issue. I also have a northern highbush blueberry bush called Chandler that is suppose to only do well in the north, but its on its third year and is loaded with berries, right here in Orange County. Go figure?

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