What Is A Cherry Plum?
A cherry plum tree is a small evergreen shrub or small tree with pinkish-red flowers which are borne in clusters from May to October. They grow up to 10 feet tall and have slender branches. The leaves are opposite in shape and alternate red and green, each one about 1/4 inch long and ½ inch wide. The fruits are round, dark red, and weigh from ¼ ounce to an ounce. They are attached to the stem at their base.
The name “cherry” comes from the fact that they bear pinkish-red flowers which resemble cherries. There is no other characteristic distinguishing them from other trees of the genus Prunus (pears).
Some varieties bear white flowers; others produce only black berries; still others produce both types of fruit.
Why Are Cherries So Popular?
Cherries are considered to be a delicacy in many parts of the world. In Japan, where they are called kiwi, they are eaten raw or cooked. They are also used as an ingredient in desserts such as mochi and tsukemono (Japanese chocolate cake) made with cherries. Other countries use them in jams and jellies. In England, they are cooked in a pie. (This leads to some problems, as any fan of cherry pie will tell you: the stones always get stuck in your teeth!)
Cherries are also popular because they are easy to grow. They can be grown from seeds or from small plants called root-stock.
They grow on their own root-stock when planted on their own roots. They need little care and can live for a long time.
What is the difference between a cherry and a plum?
Cherries and plums are both members of the same plant family, called Prunus. This family also includes peaches, apricots, almonds, nectarines (a cross between apricots and peaches), and several other fruits. The major difference between cherries and plums is that most varieties of plums have an inner layer of flesh surrounding the seed (called the stone or the pit). Many varieties of cherries do not have this layer.
Cherries can be red, black, yellow or purple when they are grown on their own roots. They can also be red, black or yellow when they are grown on root-stock (grafted).
In the latter case, the root-stock gives them support. In addition, red root-stock changes the color of the fruit to purple. Black root-stock turns the fruit black.
Cherry trees need cross-pollination to bear fruit. This means that bees or other insects must move pollen from tree to tree.
Different varieties of cherry trees (cultivars) must be planted near each other to get pollination. Also, some varieties are self-fruitful, meaning that they do not need a partner to produce fruit.
What is the difference between sweet cherries and sour cherries?
The main difference between sweet cherries and sour cherries is the sugar content. Most sweet cherries are too sour to eat fresh (without sugar or another sweetener). Most sour cherries are too bitter to eat fresh. Bitter or sour cherries can be used to make pies, jams and other sweetened dishes. Most sweet cherries are used for eating fresh.
Cherries can be classified (depending on who you talk to) as sweet, semi-tart and tart. Sweet cherries include: Royal Ann, Rainier, and Sweetheart.
Tart or sour cherries include: Montmorency, Balaton and Morello. Semi-tart varieties include: Van, Stella and Gold.
What is a cherry moon?
The phrase “cherry moon” has nothing to do with the fruit. It is an old-fashioned word for “May.”
Why are cherries called drupaceous fruit?
This means that they have a pit or stone (called a drupe) and are fleshy or pulpy (called a succulent in this case). Other drupaceous fruits include dates, olives, and prunes. The pits of these fruits are called stones because they aren’t really seeds. They are one of the ovule (or nut) layers of the ovary.
Do humans qualify as succulents?
Yes! Actually, all mammals (including you) have some of the properties of succulents. Your skin is your biggest organ and can store water. It can also act as a protective layer for your body. It can keep water in and keep germs and dirt out. It can also heal itself to some extent. Blood is also a fluid that flows through your body and acts as a transport system, taking nutrients to your organs and taking waste away.
How much does a cherry tree weigh?
A standard size tree (8 feet tall) can weigh between 500-800 pounds. It all depends on the type of soil, watering, fertilizing and pruning techniques. Generally speaking, the taller the tree, the heavier it will weigh.
How much water is in a full grown tree?
A full-grown tree can contain over 200 gallons of water! It is constantly taking in water through its roots and storing it. The stored water helps support the tree’s weight. A healthy tree can survive a long time (without watering) if there is no frost or freezing temperatures.
Do cherries have seeds?
Cherries are technically fruits because they have seeds. The pits (called stones) are really an ovary – one of the layers of the ovary (along with the surrounding tissue). Most people think of tomatoes as a fruit, but if you take out the seeds they look like tiny green beans. So, some foods we usually consider veggies are actually fruits!
How do you grow cherries?
A cherry tree starts to grow when a pit (stone) from a halved cherry is planted in soil. The pit contains a root and a tiny sprout. It needs to be planted about 2-3 inches deep. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Find a spot that gets full sun most of the day. Most cherries prefer cooler weather, so they don’t produce as many fruits in the middle of the summer. During this time they usually drop their blossoms. They are “cold-hardy”, which means they can tolerate frost and even a light frost will not damage the tree. (But of course it won’t provide as many cherries!)
What is a self-fruitful tree?
Some cherry trees (like Van) do not require a second type of cherry tree to make them produce fruit. These are called self-fruitful trees. Most cherry trees however need a second type of tree to provide pollen to make the flowers (and thus the cherries) grow. These are called pollenizer trees. The most common type is the sweet cherry, which requires a separate variety of another sweet cherry to be planted nearby in order to get fruit. There are also varieties that are self-fruitful like the Van, which only need to be planted by itself and will produce cherries.
Let’s Get Growing!
So you’ve decided to grow your own tree…
but where will you plant it? Here are some tips:
For a young tree, dig a hole twice the size of the pot it came in. To prepare the hole, mix some compost or manure with the soil that was dug out of the hole.
This will help feed the tree and get it off to a healthy start.
The tree should be planted when it is about the same temperature outside as it is in the room you are planting it (a very cold basement would be 40 degrees F.)
Water the tree well the day before you plant it.
On planting day, dig the hole about twice the size of the pot.
Carefully remove the tree from its pot (this can be tricky, because most of the roots will be wrapped around the root ball).
With your hands, gently loosen the root ball and spread out the roots. Be careful not to break any of the roots.
Gently place the tree in the center of the hole. The top of the root ball should be about one inch below the edge of the hole.
Backfill with soil and gently firm it around the tree.
Add more soil until the hole is filled and gently pat down. Add water.
This will also help settle the soil and remove air pockets.
If there are any wires or twine holding the branches together, you should cut them off at this point.
Once the tree is planted, keep it watered for the first year. A week after planting, add a layer of mulch (such as shredded bark or grass clippings) to help conserve moisture and keep the root zone cooler.
Water your tree when the top inch or so of soil is dry. Your finger is a good indicator – if the soil feels dry about a half hour after watering, it’s time to water again.
With your cherry tree in the ground, you are ready to build the rest of your garden around it. A small raised bed or a path surrounded by lawn would look great with this tree.
Or, if you really want to get creative you could build a small stone wall or an arbor and your tree can be right in the middle of your yard, surrounded by grass. You can even lay out a path of stepping stones so you can walk right through the garden admiring your tree.
Most importantly though: enjoy your cherry blossom whenever it finally blooms!
My tree didn’t bloom.
Cherries are “Annual Flowering Trees”. This means that your tree will only bloom once, and then it will die.
The first year the tree is planted, it puts all of it’s energy into growing roots and establishing a healthy system. Once this is done, it will bloom the next year. This also means that you won’t have to prune or care for your tree after that first year. Just enjoy your beautiful tree while it lasts.
My tree is growing, but it looks weak and sickly.
Cherries are very delicate when young. Be sure to water the tree immediately if you see any wilting, or drooping of the branches.
The tree might just need more time to adjust to it’s new environment.
My tree is growing very well, but I don’t see any flowers.
Cherries sometimes take a few years to bloom. Be sure to water the tree as stated above if you want it to bloom the following year.
My tree is growing, it’s healthy, and I see flowers…
but no fruit!
Cherries typically only bloom for a week or two. Once the flowers fall off the tree, you will no longer be able to see the fruit that is forming.
It takes about a year for the fruit to fully ripen after blooming, so you will have to be patient and wait for your reward!
My tree looks great, it’s blooming, and I see fruit!
That’s up to you! It’s been a lot of work to get your tree this far, so maybe just sit back and enjoy it. Perhaps you could pick some of the fruit and make a special dessert. Cherries are great in pie or pancakes!
You could even use it to decorate a room in your house. Cherries dry very well and are excellent for craft projects.
Don’t be afraid to get creative! You’ve earned it!
My tree is dying and I did everything right!
Cherries are very fragile when they are young. If your tree does not make it, be sure to contact the company that you purchased it from.
They will likely replace your tree or give you a refund if you have followed all of their instructions and advice.
Sources & references used in this article:
Comparison of photosynthetic pigment contents in stems and leaves of fruit trees: cherry, sweet cherry, common plum, and walnut tree by J Pilarski, K Tokarz, M Kocurek – Folia Horticulturae, 2007 – ptno.ogr.ar.krakow.pl
Characterization of the pathogenicity of strains of Pseudomonas syringae towards cherry and plum by MT Hulin, JW Mansfield, P Brain, X Xu… – Plant …, 2018 – Wiley Online Library
The role of Thielaviopsis basicola in the specific replant disorders of cherry and plum by GWF Sewell, JF Wilson – Annals of Applied Biology, 1975 – Wiley Online Library
Gravimorphism in trees: 1. Effects of gravity on growth and apical dominance in fruit trees by PF Wareing, TAA Nasr – Annals of Botany, 1961 – academic.oup.com
Comparison of plant pathogenic pseudomonads from fruit trees by CME Garrett, CG Panagopoulos… – Journal of Applied …, 1966 – Wiley Online Library