We've grown Kristin at the nursery for many years and it is a favorite for many of us here. The dark fruit has a rich flavor and is one of the first dark sweet cherries to ripen. Grows well up north to zone 4, so it's the highest quality of the hardy sweet cherries. If you are new to growing sweet cherries please read our care guide for an over view of their care. Space about 10' circle for dwarf, 15' circle for semi dwarf. Needs a pollinator. 4-7.
|Wet Soil Tolerance||Poor|
|Fresh for Kids||Excellent|
|Soil Type||Well Drained|
|This information is accurate to the best of our knowledge, comments/opinions are always welcome|
Due to import restrictions we are unable to ship Kristin Sweet Cherry to CA...
When compared to apples, peaches, plums and apricots, cherries are easier to grow because they ripen earlier. There is the same after bloom spraying for insects such as plum curculio and the dormant oil spray with lime/sulfur for control of brown rot and winter insect egg control, but in a short time, about 60 days after bloom, the cherry trees are ripening their fruits.
Sweet cherries are native to cool summer mountain regions such as parts of Germany. In the US principal commercial cherry orchards are Northern California, Michigan and New York. In Canada, Southern Ontario and Summerland British Columbia.
The gallon size, three, five or seven gallon size transplant very well. There should be no stress on the plant even in the summer months.
Be mindful of planting the roots into the worked prepared soil of your chosen planting spot. Young white roots will quickly integrate into the surrounding ground. An older dark root can be placed and buried in the soil. If the root is "molded" around the pot gently release its curved habit and extend it into your soil. Your soil should be aerated with a digging fork. Loosening the soil to a depth of about 14" and about 3' wide. Do not add compost or manure or fertilizer near the roots. After planting, amendments can be added on the surface of the soil. Minerals are ok to add to the soil near the roots such as greensand and rock phosphate if incorporated well in the prepared soil in the planting space. Minerals should work just as well on the surface as over time nature works the elements gradually into the feeder root zone.
It is not necessary to bare root your plant. The soil of the pot will increase your overall volume of the soil. Extra soil is good for forming a burm or a water catch shoulder. The finishing touches on the "garden bed" (not planting hole) could be annuals, lettuces or garden bulbs in the newly worked soil. Topping it off with a bark mulch about 2" - 4" deep.
Hopefully there is an ample water supply easily accessible.
Water well as soon as the tree is set. Continue your attention to the newly set tree for the remaining of the growing season. If planting in the fall, water well unless nature is providing the ample rain.
Cherry blossoms are glorious. Large cloud puffs of highly scented white flowers. Bark is reddish with a sheen, greyer in the winter. Tree shape is upright and spreading. Standard trees have a full upright shape. Dwarf trees are lolly pop shaped.
For years most sweet cherries were not self fruitful and couldn't be planted alone. Recently new varieties have been introduced, Stella from Summerland British Columbia Canada and Black Gold and White Gold from Geneva, New York. These three varieties will pollinate other sweet cherry varieties and are self fertile if planted alone. Earliest flowering types like Sam and Ranier are first to bloom and others follow, overlapping their blooming time of 10 to 14 days.
The young tree upon planting should have evenly spaced branches about 6" from each other up and down the main trunk. These branches angle off the main trunk in different directions at a 60 degree angle. If the tree received has no branching (a whip) the buds along the vertical growth will start to grow in the spring. As soon as they begin to leaf observe how many there are. Remove any, simply by thumbing them off, choosing the best spacing and direction they leave the main trunk.
After all this, generally cherry trees need very little pruning and have evolved with a very fine shape. If the fruit is a fine size and acceptable, there shouldn't be a need to prune out the buds that bloom (the spurs). Some professional growers will do this on their dwarf trees that are grafted on Gisela 5 root stock to increase the size of individual fruits. Check the tree yearly in winter or before growth starts for any branch crowding. The sun and breeze should work harmoniously through out the tree. It's best not to have one branch totally shading the other, or two branches competing for the same space.
We are using this new spray at our nursery and will give more hands on information as we learn about the product.
Mahaleb is the only cherry rootstock that has been completely and thoroughly disappointed on sandy soil in a hot, wet climate. I almost gave up on cherry growing because of Mahaleb. I've experienced roughly a 60 percent mortality rate trying to establish bare root young cherries grown on Mahaleb.
Giesela 5, Krymsk 5, colt and Mazzard have all performed much better than Mahaleb in the deep south. Gisela 5 and Krymsk 6 are overall the most wet and heat tolerant. They barely seem to notice that they're growing well in a region where they were never intended to be planted. Colt and Mazzard need more encouragement and persuasion to get going, but once the cherry trees are well-leafed out, these two larger root stocks chug along satisfactorily.
Anyway I'll be placing an order in the next few days for the Blaze Star and Lala Star. Since they were developed in Italy where the summers are even nastier than in the deep south, I imagine they are likely to do quite well in my ever-growing fruit orchard. My understanding is that Lala Star is a magnificent performer, a vigorous, precocious cherry tree that produces fruit of exceptional flavor. The main reason that it has not taken a prominent place in commercial orchards is because of small fruit size. During trial investigations of the tree, the researchers indicated that Lala Star needed to be two sizes larger to be a viable commercial option.
1. Purchase cherry trees that are already potted if at all possible. Bare root cherry trees require meticulous water management and are quick to give up the ghost from even a single insult. Potted trees are considerable more forgiving of over and under watering.
2. Choose Gisela 5 or Krymsk 5 for hot and humid climates with substantial rainfall to optimize the odds of success and for ease of overall care.
3. Central South Carolina experienced once in a 100 year flood level rainfalls from 2013-2014. My property, which has been high, dry land since an extensive drainage ditch systems were dug in the 1960's, was partially reclaimed by the swamp for about six months. The water table on the rest of the property rose to two or three feet below the surface. These were the varieties that endured the excessively wet conditions in order of vigor.
1- Ulster, 2- Starkrimson, 3- Benton, 4- Black York,
5- Emperor Francis, 6-Ebony Pearl, 7-Utah Giant.
Ranier, Gold, Stark Hardy Giant, Van, Stella, and Lapins hobbled along through the wet weather and acted sickly, but they all survived to leaf out again this spring.
Minnie Royal, Royal Lee, Schneider, and Rymbrandt dropped their leaves the month we got 10 inches of rain, and none of them survived the four ice storms and several long deep freezes of temperatures in the teen over the winter.
4. It is better to under water than to over water a cherry tree. Young cherry trees behave like potted roses or orchids-they enjoy periods of dry between watering. The cherry trees do best when they receive a thorough drenching followed by several days without irrigation to allow the ground around the roots to have the opportunity to dry. Most cherry trees hate persistent wet.
5. After every heavy rain or prolonged periods of precipitation, spray the cherry trees with fruit spray for infectious disease and insect control. In the deep south, fungal diseases are quick to establish, and there are a mind-boggling array of insects that enjoy dining on cherry leaves.
6. Due to high mortality of young cherry trees, I have adopted a Noah's ark approach when I want to add a variety to my orchard. I always purchase two trees to increase the odds that at least one specimen will survive. Cherry trees are the single most difficult fruit tree to establish in the deep south. Even the researchers, who are at the forefront of developing new varieties of cherries that can be grown in a wider range of climates, experience tree loss on a regular basis. There are many field notebooks filled with notations that X variety is doing poorly or all specimens of Y variety perished prior to fruiting.
Historically cherries never were intended to be grown in the southern US. Therefore, growing cherries in the South will require extra and A LOT of both patience and persistence. If you are looking for a low maintenance fruit trees that thrive under benign neglect, purchase a couple of warm weather apples, Asian pears or peaches. Even easier and more forgiving than fruit trees, plant some blueberries or strawberries-these respond really well to benign neglect.
Regalia-NEW Fungal and Bacterial Disease Control
Regalia triggers a plant's natural defense systems to protect against a variety of fungal and bacterial pathogens. Used in tank mixes, program rotations, and stand-alone, Regalia provides proven control of important fungal and bacterial diseases including Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew, Botrytis Gray Mold, Early Blight, Late Blight, Citrus Canker, Brown Rot, Greasy Spot, Bacterial Leaf Spot, Target Spot, Gummy Stem Blight, Walnut Blight, and others.
Regalia has been successfully evaluated by many university and independent researchers on a vast range of crops and diseases. Results prove that Regalia is as effective as many leading conventional fungicides.
How Regalia Works
When treated with Regalia, the defense systems of crops are 'switched on' to protect against attacking diseases. Research shows that plants treated with Regalia produce, and accumulate, elevated levels of specialized proteins and other compounds known to inhibit fungal and bacterial diseases. Regalia induces a plant to produce phytoalexins, cell strengtheners, antioxidants, phenolics, and PR proteins, which are all known inhibitors of plant pathogens.
Regalia is rain fast in only one hour, so growers can get important sprays out and protect crops even in tough weather, or when moisture conditions are conducive to disease development.
Regalia is recommended as a preventative treatment.
Powdery Mildew- Applications of Regalia should begin within 2 weeks following petal fall and
continue on a 7-14 day schedule depending upon disease pressure.
Regalia is the alcohol extract of giant knotweed. Giant knotweed, Polygonum sachalinensis is a plant that produces many defensive chemicals. These help protect it against insects, diseases, and even other plants. Knotweed defensive chemicals also can have profound effects on other plants and animals, causing beneficial changes in metabolism. Extracts from the giant knotweed, for instance, can protect plants against pathogens that cause powdery mildew, grey mould, insects, and many other diseases. Substantial yield increases are often seen because the treated plants remain free of disease, and their lifetime is extended [12, 13]. Knotweed extracts have low toxicity to mammals and provide protection by boosting the immune system of the plant. Animal tests have also shown that extracts and pharmaceuticals isolated from giant knotweed or its relative, Japanese knotweed, Polygonum cuspidatum, protect against cancer, are anti-inflammatory, lower blood cholesterol, protect against diabetes, and improve cardiovascular health. The extracts of giant knotweed must be handled with care because they contain allelochemicals (chemicals that inhibit growth of competing plants), and may inhibit the growth of the treated plants. The pigments emodin and physcion were responsible for the growth interference . The interference pigments have been employed in the treatment of inflammation in humans.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reviewed the acute toxicity and genotoxicity of the extract and has approved its safety noting that the extract is mildly irritating to the eyes. The extract is approved for use with all foods . EPA maintains a fact sheet verifying the safety of the product . Reynoutria sachalinensis (an alternative name for P. sachalinensis), a naturally-occurring plant currently found in 25 US States as an ornamental plant, is an invasive weed, and a grazing crop. In fact giant knotweed and Japanese knotweed are both invasive weeds in Europe and North America. For example giant knotweed threatens to displace native riparian forests in the state of Washington . Harvesting the weed to produce biopesticide useful in both organic and conventional food production might be a project for improving both the forests and healthy food production. The knotweed extracts appear to have a double benefit, guarding the health of the food crops and treating the ills of consumers.
Cherry trees generally are long lived and can grow in an environment suitable for cherries without cultivation or manipulation. Dwarf trees need more attention in times of drought, so standards are a better choice for permaculture plantings.
In hot humid areas canker, a bacterial disease can cripple of kill a tree. Dark round circles with cracking and sap oozing is the visible sign of this disease. With no care fruits can get brown rot and worms in the fruit.
All varieties are not equal. Some varieties are resistant to canker, especially varieties introduced in the eastern United States. In conclusion, cherries are borderline for permaculture adaptation.
For frost protection plant at the higher elevations of your property, still with ease of use close to the home. In hot summer areas afternoon shade is fine. Air movement is very important to keep brown rot and leaf spot at a minimum. Choose a place where air can breeze through. Plant away from tall trees where squirrels could jump to the tree easily. They don't like running on the ground to the tree, it makes them more vulnerable to predators.
Cherries are ripe when they turn their mature color. Although ripe, they will sweeten up for about 2 weeks on the tree and turn darker and richer. They won't sweeten after picking.
A kitchen cherry pitter is a great tool for pitting cherries for freezing. Fresh cherries frozen are a great winter food. Also drying the cherry is faster if the cherry is pitted.
Harvest time can be done daily for a few weeks. This can be hampered by rain. Rain can cause the fruits to swell to fast and crack, making them susceptible to brown rot. Brown rot is a fungus that will spread quickly, ruining the fruit. If there is a minor brown rot activity in the tree, pick and trash the infected fruits. Brown rot spreads quickly in a wet spring environment. Dwarf trees are easy to pick and can be trained to have limbs close to a persons height. A step ladder is usually the only help needed.
Standard trees usually are picked on a ladder. A light weight 20' extension ladder is best.
Deer, raccoon, possum, and squirrels are all possible candidates to share the harvest. Prunus avium is the Latin for sweet cherries. Avium basically means birds. So, cherry and birds go together like bread and butter. Birds can be deterred in various ways. We have less bird damage because our trees are close to activity. We're walking back and forth near our dwarf cherries daily at work. I have a much better chance getting most of the fruit from the trees close by the greenhouses than I do with the trees planted near the woods away from activity.