Cherries FAQs

In a town garden is there any way in which we can grow cherries and defeat the birds at ripening time?

This is an age-old problem to which a fruit cage is the only real answer. The new ‘Colt’ rootstock has the reputation of being dwarfing, but cherries grown on it without additional treatment will soon be too tall to be housed in a fruit cage. I suggest that you plant maiden trees (one-year-olds) budded on the ‘Colt’ rootstock in a cage, or be prepared to cover the trees just before ripening time. In the first year the trees will make long young branches. In the autumn bend these down towards the ground and hold them in position with string and small stakes. Keep them tied for about a year. In time you will have low-growing umbrella-shaped trees that will be easy to cover with some form of netting.

On a visit to Switzerland we enjoyed the local cherry jam. Would it be possible to grow cherries for jam-making in a suburban garden?

The Swiss climate suits cherries— especially the black varieties they use for jam-making. ‘Morello’ cherries do well in this country and are self-fertile. When fully ripe they are dark red and acceptable for dessert dishes. For jam-making the fruit must not be over ripe. Like all cherries, ‘Morello’ needs protection from the birds.