Cherries are said to be the family pharmacy. If there are sea buckthorn trees, dogwoods, eiderdowns, and cherry trees in the garden, then the other fruits, for all their useful qualities, are just additions to the medicinal properties of these crops. Cherries come to us from the distant past. Cherries are so ingrained in the life of farmers that it is difficult to imagine the smallest front yard without cherries under the window or in the yard, a large estate in miniature. This article will describe how to grow cherry trees – information, cultivation, varieties, and care.
USEFUL SUBSTANCES AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF CHERRIES
In terms of the content of useful substances, cherries steadily occupy first place in the list of medicinal crops used in folk medicine.
The useful properties of cherries are due to the high content of useful substances.
- Vitamins E, C, PP, some B vitamins, including B9 (folic acid), carotenoids
- Fructose and glucose, pectin, coumarins, anthocyanins, and other substances.
- Copper, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, iodine, iron, zinc, manganese, fluorine, chromium, molybdenum, boron, vanadium, cobalt, nickel, rubidium, and other elements.
- The fruit is rich in organic acids: citric acid, malic acid, succinic acid, salicylic acid.
Cherries contain not only a large number of vitamins, elements, and other useful substances. Their combination can prevent and treat anemia (iron, copper, cobalt), arthritis, kidney diseases. Folic acid, in combination with magnesium, cobalt, and iron, strengthens blood vessels, and coumarins help to reduce blood clotting. Pectin detoxifies the body from nitrogenous toxins. The cherry pulp contains antiseptics – essential for bacterial infections. Ellagic acid contained in cherry juice stops the development of cancer cells.
Amygdalin contained in cherry kernels reduces the frequency of heart attacks and helps to treat stomach problems. Cherries are effective in some diseases of the nervous system. In folk medicine, a decoction of milk is widely used to treat arthritis and infectious jaundice. A concentrated decoction of cherries is used by folk healers as an anticonvulsant and epileptic drug.
It is impossible to calculate all the useful properties of cherries. However, in addition to its nutritional and medicinal value, the cherry tree is very ornamental all year round. The cherry is beautiful in flower, the bunches of brightly colored fruits seem to be decorated with Christmas decorations during the fruiting season, and the thin branches covered with marigolds bring contemplation in winter.
BIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CHERRY TREES
In order for cherry orchards or individual plantings to produce fruit every year while remaining ornamental, it is necessary to know their biological characteristics in order to organize proper care, as well as to regionalize varieties to ensure production without unnecessary worries.
Cherry tree root system
Cherry trees have a tap root system. Vertical and horizontal skeletal roots are formed, and smaller roots branch off from these skeletal roots. The root system in the soil exceeds 1.5 times the diameter of the above-ground crown. A very important feature to consider when planting seedlings permanently. The horizontal roots start from the root neck in the soil layer of 4-12inch (10-30 cm) and are arranged radially around the main root. Therefore, the closer to the trunk, the shallower the soil depth. Some varieties form rhizomatous scions from adventitious shoots on horizontal roots in 6-8inch (15-20 cm) of soil.
To get rid of the shoots, they must be eliminated by digging them out along with the roots. Pruning above ground will only increase the number of shoots. The vertical root system reaches a depth of 60-100inch (1.5-2.5m) and is intolerant of groundwater flooding. The ends of the roots form a re-growing reed bed that performs a water-absorbing function. The main mass of the overgrown root system is located in the 20inch (50cm) layer and should be taken into account when cultivating the soil under the cherry tree.
Cherry ground system
The ground section can form trees with a central trunk or shrubs with several perennial woody shoots (skeletal branches of several orders). The arboreal form is rather tall, 6.5-23foot (2-7 m), and begins to bear fruit in the 2nd-4th years. The life expectancy in the southern region is 15-30 years.
Among arboreal cherries, the most famous form of the tree bears fruit simultaneously on last year’s growth and on bouquet twigs, formed after flowering and used for future harvest. It is important to keep this in mind when pruning cherry trees. During the current year’s growth, the tree produces only asexually reproducing buds, eventually thickening the crown.
The bush form is interesting because it can be harvested without the need for additional tools. Shrubs usually bear fruit in the previous year’s growth and mixed growth. Unlike tree varieties, they form their first crop in the 2nd or 3rd year. They are distinguished by the formation of a large number of root buds.
VARIETIES OF CHERRIES
Two main types of cherries are produced in the U.S.: Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus. the states of Washington, California, and Oregon are the major sweet cherry-producing states, accounting for nearly 90% of national production. The leading tart cherry-producing state is Michigan, accounting for nearly 74% of tart cherry production (NASS, 2015).
Fresh sweet cherries are a great snack in their own right. They usually start appearing in grocery stores in May and are available through August. Tart cherries, on the other hand, are too tart for most people to eat directly, but they are great for baked goods like cherry pie, as well as jams and preserves. Because tart cherries don’t ship as easily as sweet cherries, they are often sold frozen or canned. You can also bake with sweet cherries, but many sweet cherry recipes – such as cherry pie recipes – call for acidic ingredients such as vinegar or lemon juice to balance out the sweetness. Keep in mind that if you want to substitute tart cherries for sweet cherries in a recipe, or vice versa, you’ll want to adjust the sugar and any acid as well.
- Bing Cherries – These are the most common dark sweet cherries found in grocery stores and are available fresh and frozen. These heart-shaped cherries are firm, juicy, and sweet, making them a delicious summer snack. Good for your health: They are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Rainier Cherries – Named after Washington’s highest peak, Rainier Cherries are easy to recognize because of their distinctive yellow and red flesh. They are slightly sweeter than Bing Cherries and have a delicious flavor in their own right. Because of their short growing season, they can be expensive!
- Chelan Cherries – Also known as black cherries, Chelan cherries are similar in appearance to Bing cherries but have a milder (though still sweet!) flavor. . These cherries are a hardy variety that ripens early in the growing season and are resistant to cracking and splitting.
- Montmorency Cherries – Grown in Michigan, Montmorency cherries are the most popular tart cherries in the U.S. You’ll usually find them frozen or canned rather than fresh. Classic tart cherry pies are often made with this variety. They are also used to make tart cherry juice. Try them in individual cherry almond crisps, which are made with small molds.
- English Morello Cherries – Another popular tart cherry is the English Morello Cherries, a variety you can usually find at the grocery store flavored with light syrup.
Maraschino Cherries – The chewy, bright red cherries on top are not actually a specific cherry variety but rather a sweet cherry that is preserved in brine, sweetened, and colored. (High-end brands such as Luxardo do not use dyes, hence the darker color.) Black cherries are the perfect finishing touch to baked goods such as ice cream sundaes and tres leches cake.
- Amarena Cherries – These black sour cherries are native to Italy and are often bottled or served in syrup. They are a delicious addition to cocktails and desserts such as ice cream and cheesecake.
Dried Cherries – Dried cherries are usually dehydrated tart cherries. You can find bags of sweetened and unsweetened dried cherries at the grocery store, usually near raisins and dried cranberries. Add them to trail mix or use them in recipes like Ree’s Apple, Pecan, and Blue Cheese Salad or her Oatmeal Cherry Cookies.
CHARACTERISTICS OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNIQUES FOR CHERRY TREES
Requirements for the environment
Washington, California, and Oregon are the main sweet cherry producing states, and the main sour cherry producing state is Michigan. Cherry trees adorn the garden land and provide the owner with a product rich in all the necessary nutrients and medicinal substances. The cherry tree is a good mother plant. It is not capricious and can grow under unfavorable conditions, but it will devote most of its energy to survival, creating a small harvest. The time for active fruiting will be drastically reduced. Therefore, it is necessary to use all available means to provide the crop with the required conditions.
Cherry tree easily tolerates “lace” shade but forms the sweetest crop with enough light. It needs a wind-free location (preferably along a fence). Rapid recovery from frost damage. Cherry trees are very tolerant of water supply, but grafted seedlings, preferably purchased on the rootstock of a prairie or mogaleb cherry trees. The former is moisture tolerant, while the latter has a taproot system that can penetrate deep into the soil.
If you purchase rootstocks, be prepared to water them frequently, especially in dry weather. These varieties have a shallow root system, and in dry weather, the crop will be shallow and less likely to grow flesh. Also, remember that for cherries, groundwater should not be more than 5-6.5 feet (1.5-2 meters) from the soil surface.
Characteristics of cherry tree planting
Cherry trees should be planted in the spring around mid-April. In southern regions, it can also be planted in October in the fall. In northern areas, if planted in autumn, cherry trees may not take root and may freeze.
- When buying seedlings, pay attention to the type of variety they belong to. If there is not enough space in the garden, it is better to plant semi-dwarf varieties with at least an 11 foot (3.5 m) distance between rows. Dense planting is acceptable but not desirable due to pest and disease infestation.
- Purchase only approved varieties from specialized centers with instructions: variety, age, rootstock type, pollination, etc.
- Inspect seedlings carefully. There should be no glue spots or streaks, and the bark should be undamaged. Healthy, undisturbed grafting (for grafted seedlings) with a well-developed root system and plenty of growing roots.
- Immediately wrap the roots of purchased seedlings with insulating material to prevent them from drying out. Soak the seedlings in water containing rooting agent for 4-8 hours before planting.
If several trees are planted, mark the planting holes in advance with an 8-11foot (2.5-3.5m) distance between trees and at least 6.5foot (2m) distance between rows, depending on the variety type. Dig a rough pit in the fall and make the appropriate final preparations for the seedling’s root system when planting in the spring. Light, fertile soil is best for cherry trees. On top of the heavy soil, enlarge the planting hole and add loose soil components (peat, humus, sand) to the soil, ensuring that the drainage layer is 2-4inch (5-10 cm) high.
The excavated soil is mixed with humus and phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers (50 and 40 grams per tree, respectively). When planting in the hole, pour a 4inch (10 cm) layer of soil on top of the drainage system, make a mound on top, and lay the roots on top. Fill the hole 2/3 full, add 0.5-1 bucket of water, top up and fill the soil. Make sure that the grafting points and root necks of the rootstock seedlings are 0.8-1.2 inches (2-3 cm) above the soil level and do not cover them in the following years. Make a 20inch (0.5 m) diameter border around the trunk and pour a bucket of water over it. Be sure to give it a ground cover. Keep covering the soil during the summer until a fully grown canopy is formed.
Cherry tree care
If the cherry tree is planted in fertilized soil, fertilization is not required for the first two years. Care during this period includes weed removal, watering, and mulching the soil (in the south). Under the canopy, weeds should be removed with no more than 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) of tillage to avoid damaging the tight root system of young trees. Between the rows, the working depth should be increased to 6-8inch (15-20 cm). Water as necessary (do not submerge young plants). Soak layers up to 18inch (45 cm).
Cherry trees are best fertilized in the 3rd-4th year, or more precisely, from the year of fruiting. Ground humus or mature compost is applied once in 4-5 years, combined (if necessary) with soil deoxygenation with dolomite powder, wood ash, and lime, spread on the ground under a fine embedding. The annual application is usually made with an all-mineral fertilizer of nitroamine or nitrophosphorus. It can be alternated year by year with phosphorus and potassium fertilizers, especially on nitrogen-rich soils. The application rate is 60 g of full-value fertilizer or 40 g and 30 g of calcium superphosphate and potassium sulfate per tree.
Cherry trees are usually fertilized once during the germination-early flowering period. On very poor soils, the second feeding (after 15-20 days) is done with the same dose of phosphate and potassium fertilizer and 1-2 cups of ash. The dose, type, and amount of fertilizer should be adjusted to soil conditions and crop conditions. These data apply to moderately fertile soils and can be used as a guide for beginner growers.
This crop, especially in the southern regions, requires irrigation. In the northern regions and in areas with sufficient precipitation, there is no irrigation. Mulching is mandatory in the south. This technique reduces weeds and preserves water under the canopy. In the north, the soil is usually left uncovered, and weeds are removed by shallow loosening. When loosening, make sure not to damage the roots of the cherry tree, which are in the upper 8inch (20cm). Do not cover too high with snow in winter. Cherry trees can be covered with snow up to 40inch (1 meter).
During the active fruiting period, it is recommended to apply phosphorus and potassium fertilizer and grass ashes during autumn ploughing, but not necessarily if the soil is fertile and sufficient organic matter has been applied at the time of fertilization.
The most time-consuming part of cherry planting is the removal of shoots.
Shoots should be removed along with the roots. Pruning at the soil level will only encourage overgrowth.
Pruning cherry trees
Like other garden crops, cherry trees are subject to various types of pruning: sanitary pruning, formative pruning, and rejuvenation pruning.
Trees are pruned annually before germination or in late fall. Inspect and remove branches that are growing inward, bent, or visibly diseased. Thin the crown of the tree if necessary. Treat large cuttings with a preservative, garden varnish, or oil-based paint.
To achieve good results with cherries, prune systematically from the first year of planting to create the correct canopy. To do this.
- In early spring, one-year-old saplings are cleared of lateral branches at the level of 20-30inch (50-80 cm). From this height, the first branches of the skeletal branches will be branched out. The skeleton branches are arranged alternately (not opposite each other), and the central shoot at a rate of 5-6inch (13-15 cm). Usually, 4-5 well-developed branches are formed. They form the first layer.
- In the second year, 27-31 inches (70-80 cm) is retired from the last skeletal branch of the first layer, and the central branch is cut off. This limits the height of the tree. It is best if the height of the canopy does not exceed 6.5-8-10 feet (2-2.5-3 m). At a length of 27-31 inches (70-80 cm), you will lay the second layer of skeletal branches. During the first 4-5 years of cherry tree growth, try to thin out any trees that tend to overgrow during this period. Remove all lateral branches growing between the 9-10 major trellis branches. Keep all layers with a distinct bottom layer and do not overgrow.
Leave 10-12 main branches when a clumping form is formed. Remove the remaining shoots, leaving 1 or 2 to replace aging shoots.
The next 5-8 years are the second period of the crop’s life, the major fruiting period. The crop produces a large crop each year. Then comes the third period – the waning of growth. It will produce less, and there will be many dead or bare plant branches. During this period, rejuvenating thinning can be done by cutting off unwanted branches. After 10-15 years, it is better to replace old trees with seedlings or graft stumps and brace branches.
Protection from disease and pests
In private gardens, the use of chemical agents should be avoided. With proper agronomic techniques, precautions are sufficient to produce a healthy harvest without introducing poisons ingested by adults, children, and domestic animals, and beneficial insects.
Preventive measures include the following.
- removing the leaf litter and mulch residues if they have been applied in large quantities and have not had time to decompose during the fall. Mulch and leaves are excellent substrates for fungal and bacterial diseases to overwinter and multiply.
- The tree’s main trunk and lower scaffold branches should be bleached continuously (rather than twice a year). This is necessary to protect the young bark from sunburn, to keep the trunk and branches clean and free from moss, to prevent pests and diseases which hide under the bark in the form of adult insects or laid eggs until spring, as well as fragments of pathogenic microbial colonies spores and mycelium.
- Avoid the formation of cavities. When pruning, be sure to treat the trunk with preservative and cover it with garden varnish or oil-based paint.
- Provide insulation for tree holes (especially young ones) in winter to prevent rodents (rabbits, mice).
Among diseases, in some areas, cherry trees are severely affected by coccidioidomycosis or perforated spot disease. Trees are often affected by Molinia and bush sporotrichosis. The main measures to control diseases at home are prevention (as described above) and spraying with biological agents that are harmless to humans, animals, and beneficial insects (bees, bumblebees). The rate and duration of treatment can be found on the package or in the recommendations of the biological preparation.
To reduce the burden on the trees, treatment can be done with a mixing tank. For example, maximum disease resistance can be obtained with a 1:1 mixture of capillary dilator and insecticide. When treating with biological agents, be careful that they are effective at temperatures no lower than 53°F (12°C).
The optimal temperature for treatment is 59-64°F (15-18°C). It should be noted that biological protection is not very efficient, so start treating trees as soon as the weather stabilizes and continue throughout the summer. In the fall, after harvest, the trees can be sprayed with 1% Bordeaux mixture, and before digging, the soil can be treated with 2-3% copper sulfate.
The main pests that cause visible damage to cherry trees are cherry fly, cherry weevil, spider mite, slimy sawfly, kidney weevil, shoot moth. Particularly dangerous are kidney weevil, shoot moth, and cherry weevil. Adults and larvae damage the buds, blooms, and young ovaries of cherry trees and destroy the entire crop.
After the first fall, frost, cherry trees, and the soil under the canopy can be sprayed with a 5% solution of urea, which is not only fertilizer but also an effective way to kill fungal diseases and various pests. When spraying the canopy, the area should be sprayed very finely (misted). In spring and summer, starting from germination, trees are sprayed with biological agents after 25-30 days. When spraying, it is better to use tank mixtures consisting of biological agents with diseases, checking their compatibility beforehand.
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