Prunus avium, Sweet Cherry
Zone
5/3b
Pollination
self-sterile, self-fertile
Blooms
(overall) early
Ripens
1.5 - 3 months
Chill Hours
400 - 700
pH
6.1 - 7.3 is preferred, 5.1 - 7.8 is acceptable spp

Sweet cherries are native to Europe and Caucasia, and a small part of Northwest Africa and the Northern part of West Asia. The area generally receives 1.5" to 2.5" of rainfall per month during the grow season, with the exception of the mediterranean region, which is very dry during the summer.

Sweet cherry flower buds are similar to peaches and nectarines. They develop additional hardiness each day the temperature remains below freezing (approximately 4F per day). Originally, they are hardy down to -6F (6b/6a), but under the right conditions, at least some cultivars can survive down to -30F (4a). If the temperature rises above freezing, even for just a couple of hours, bud hardiness can reset back to -6F and must go through the process again to achieve additional hardiness. This makes some zone 4 and 5 areas more or less suitable for sweet cherries than the others.

In the Eastern half of the US, where the climate is much wetter, sweet cherries are prone to splitting. Some cultivars are considered to be more resistant to cracking than the others, but it appears that this resistance is often quite weak. For example, there is a good chance over 1/4th of the crop of "resistant" cultivars will still crack. You can, however, use a wax or cell membrane-based spray on the fruit to reduce cracking by roughly 20-60% (depending on the product). You can further reduce cracking by shielding part of the root system from excessive rainfall. Sour cherries do not have a problem with splitting.




Prunus cerasus, Sour Cherry
Zone
4/3a
Pollination
self-fertile, self-sterile
Blooms
(overall) mid-late, between late pears and early apples
Ripens
2 months
Chill Hours
500 - 700
pH
6.1 - 7.3 is preferred, 5.1 - 7.8 is acceptable spp
Tolerant
high rainfall

Sour cherries are native to a similar area as the sweet cherry, the main difference being that it extends further into northeastern Europe, where it rains a little more each month than the rest of Europe.




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Sweet Cherry
Prunus avium

Bing

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
mid
Ripens
:
early-mid -- roughly 2 months after bloom in cool summer climates
Chill Hours
:
700
Color
:
dark red

Black Gold

buy
Zone
:
3b (has fruited after experiencing minus 33F)
Blooms
:
late?
Afflictions
:
Very resistant to cracking.

Black Pearl

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
early-mid?
Ripens
:
early -- roughly 1 to 1.5 weeks before Bing
Color
:
dark red
Afflictions
:
Some resistance to cracking.

Black Pearl is known for being a new early ripening, sweet cherry cultivar that has a much better flavor than the older, early ripening cultivars such as Chelan.

highly productive.

Burgundy Pearl

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
early-mid?
Ripens
:
early-mid -- roughly 0.5 weeks before Bing
Color
:
dark red
Afflictions
:
Resistant to bacterial canker and cracking.

Burgundy Pearl is mentioned for storing well for a sweet cherry, although it doesn't mention how long it may last.

Chelan

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
early-mid -- a few days before Bing
Ripens
:
early -- roughly 1.5 to 2 weeks before Bing
Color
:
dark red

highly productive

Ebony Pearl

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
early-mid?
Ripens
:
early-mid (mid) -- a few days after Bing
Color
:
dark red
Afflictions
:
Resistant to bacterial canker and cracking.

Ebony Pearl is said to be the best tasting sweet cherry from the Pearl Series - has a tang that Burgundy Pearl lacks.

Kordia

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
mid-late -- roughly 0.5 to 1 week after Bing (flower buds and blossoms may be more frost sensitive than most others)
Ripens
:
mid-late -- roughly 1 to 2 weeks after Bing
Color
:
dark red to black
Afflictions
:
Resistant to cracking.

Kordia was previously known as Attika.

Kristin

buy
Zone
:
4
Blooms
:
mid?
Color
:
red or dark red?

Lapin

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
early-mid -- roughly 0.5 weeks before Bing
Ripens
:
late -- roughly 1.5 to 2 weeks after Bing
Chill Hours
:
400-500
Color
:
dark red
Afflictions
:
Resistant to bacterial canker and cracking.

very productive

Nugent

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
early-mid?
Ripens
:
late or very late?
Color
:
yellow
Afflictions
:
Some resistance to cracking?

self-sterile

Radiance Pearl

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
early-mid -- roughly 0.5 weeks before Bing
Ripens
:
early-mid -- roughly 0.5 weeks before Bing
Color
:
red, some yellow
Afflictions
:
Some resistance to cracking.

very productive

Rainier

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
mid?
Ripens
:
mid?
Chill Hours
:
700
Color
:
yellow and red

Royal Hazel

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
early -- roughly 1 week before Bing
Ripens
:
early -- roughly 1.5 weeks Bing
Chill Hours
:
500
Color
:
dark red

Royal Helen

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
mid -- a few days after Bing
Ripens
:
late -- roughly 2 weeks after Bing
Color
:
dark red
Afflictions
:
Some resistance to cracking.

Regina

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
late -- roughly 1 week after Bing
Ripens
:
late -- roughly 1.5 to 2.5 weeks after Bing
Color
:
dark red
Afflictions
:
Resistant to cracking.

Regina is noticeably less productive than many other cherry cultivars. Self-sterile and blooms late; it will need another late blooming variety for pollination.

Sam

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
late?
Afflictions
:
Resistant to bacterial canker and cracking.

Sandra Rose

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
mid -- roughly 0.5 weeks after Bing
Ripens
:
mid -- roughly 0.5 weeks after Bing
Color
:
dark red
Afflictions
:
Some Resistance to cracking.

lightly productive

Skeena

buy
Zone
:
4a? (5)
Blooms
:
mid -- roughly 0.5 weeks after Bing
Ripens
:
late -- roughly 2 weeks after Bing
Color
:
dark red

I have seen highly contradicting reports on the productivity and crack resistance of Skeena.

Staccato

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
mid?
Ripens
:
very late -- roughly 4 weeks after Bing
Color
:
dark red
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to powdery mildew. Possibly sensitive to heat.

Suite Note

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
late -- roughly 1 week after Bing
Ripens
:
early-mid -- roughly 0.5 weeks before Bing
Color
:
dark red

self-sterile

Sweetheart

buy
Zone
:
5
Blooms
:
early-mid to mid? possibly a few days before Bing
Ripens
:
very late -- roughly 3 weeks after Bing
Chill Hours
:
700
Color
:
red
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to powdery mildew.

highly productive, precocious

White Gold

buy
Zone
:
4a
Blooms
:
mid-late?
Ripens
:
mid?
Color
:
yellow (red if it's left to ripen long enough)
Afflictions
:
Resistant to bacterial canker, leaf spot, and cracking.