Cherry trees

by Lila Das Gupta

After buying a plum tree for the allotment, I started to think about other fruit that I have a soft spot for. So I couldn't resist ordering a morello cherry tree.

After buying a plum tree for the allotment, I started to think about other fruit that I have a soft spot for. So I couldn't resist ordering a morello cherry tree.

Sour cherries never seem to be available to buy, so I have to rely on the generosity of my sister-in-law, who has one on her allotment. I'm not sure why we've fallen so out of love with morellos. Henry VIII apparently loved them, and before the war there were dozens of sour cherry varieties in British orchards. If you love cooking, morello cherries are a fabulous ingredient to have around (don't compare the real thing to the soggy, sorry, tinned cherries). Their tangy tartness makes for a refreshing non-alcoholic cordial. Mix them together with almonds in the form of a Bakewell tart and you have a marriage made in heaven.

As trees, morello cherries are a little less ornamental than sweet cherries; the leaves, bark and blossom are not as dramatic looking, but they do have other advantages. Sour cherries grow on less fertile soil and tolerate more shade than sweet cherries, though beware of claims that they grow well on north-facing walls as they can become spindly. When it comes to planting on an allotment or small space, their size and spread make them ideal.

I've ordered a variety called 'Morello Crown' on Gisela 5 dwarfing rootstock. It's smaller than the 'Colt' rootstock, so the tree should reach around six to eight feet after 10 years. The 'Crown' variety is a slightly larger strain than the usual morello cherry, it's the one which is often used by commercial growers.

My sister in law never nets her tree and still has plenty of fruit after the birds have had a peck. Morellos flower later than sweet cherries, which is an advantage in parts of the country susceptible to late frosts. Prune them in summer (fruit develops on new wood) and give them a liquid seaweed feed once a year and they will thank you for it.

Since morello cherry trees are self-fertile, you will only need one tree to get any fruit.

If only I had a bigger garden, my next tree would be a quince...

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Gardeners' World Web User 30/01/2010 at 12:29

We bought and planted two Blueberry bushes last year which did very well. Does anyone know if they need pruning and if so how?

Gardeners' World Web User 06/05/2010 at 05:11

I have just bought 2 morello cherry trees from Wilkinsons, they were only £5 each. I am new to gardening and have an area that is a touch shady due to overhanging decidous trees that I would like to plant them in (south facing garden). Do you think they would be OK here?

Gardeners' World Web User 25/07/2010 at 21:16

My three year old morello cherry which I have fan trained on a north-east facing trellis had 12 delish cherries last year but this year it is absolutely laden! Its my pride and joy at the moment! We had the first pick tonight cooked in red wine and sugar mmmmmmm! I have ordered a sweet cherry Lapins on Gisela 5 root stock to plant in a new fruit cage. Thought I would train that on wires over the top of cordon red currants under which I have strawberries! I like to pack um in! Am I being over optimistic? Any tips much appreciated.

Gardeners' World Web User 21/08/2010 at 15:16

please can someone tell when to prune a miniture cherry tree

Gardeners' World Web User 14/09/2010 at 22:48

Hi All I need help with my dwarf morello cherry tree. When it arrived it and I planted it, it immediately started well, sprouting new leaves on each of the several branches. Soon though most of the leaves started to die off, apart from those on the main trunk of the tree going upwards, and some of those more central. These leaves have continued to grow, and now after 3 months or so, more leaves are forming on new branches. The other branches whose leaves died early on are still bare and dormant. Is this normal? What am I doing wrong? Its situated in a partial shady spot; I planted it in June just before it got really hot but I was watering well every day.

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