We planted a tree in our back yard that is four varieties of cherry grafted as one tree. This allows the tree to be pollinated more successfully. It is blooming now.
The fruit comes in green and often hidden among the leaves. Then, it will gain its color.
How I Keep Bugs and Birds Away
We spray Neem oil on the under side of the leaves to keep insects away.
To keep the birds from eating the cherries, I have a net that my neighbor gave us, and I also painted smooth, small rocks red to look like cherries. Read my post How to Deter Birds from your Fruit to know why.
Cherry trees that produce tart or sour fruit are self-pollinating. However, cherry trees with sweet fruit usually are not self-pollinating, requiring another tree nearby so that pollination makes fruiting possible. This is why our tree has multiple varieties grafted in one plant. This makes it possible for our four varieties to pollinate each other (and special thanks to the bees!).
Our Four Varieties of Cherry
The four varieties make up four main branches of our tree: they are Bing, Van, Utah Giant, and Rainier Sweet.
The Van variety is red in color and originated in Canada by breeder A.J. Mann. It came about in 1936 through open pollination with the Empress Eugenie tree (Source: Washington State). The Van cherry is named after horticulturist J. R. Van Haarlen.
Utah Giant Cherry
The Utah Giant variety is named for its large fruit and the fact that it originated in Utah. Minnetonka Orchards says, “The Utah Agricultural Experiment State, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was the first to develop this large and prized fruit. Located in Logan, Utah, it all began in 1981 with a regular Bing cherry seedling. After much experimentation, a new variety of cherry was born.”
The Bing cherry is named after one of its two breeders, Ah Bing, who was foreman to the other breeder, Seth Lewelling. This cultivar is a hybrid between Black Republican and Royal Ann. The fruit has a rich, dark red color.
Rainier Sweet Cherry
The Rainier Sweet cherry is great for home gardening. Stark Brothers gives this description:
“Large, yellow fruit with a half-red blush; birds are less attracted, due to the yellow half. Very firm, sweet flesh has a fine texture and distinct, outstanding flavor. Bud-hardy and crack-resistant, making it the cherry of choice for backyard gardeners.”– Stark Brothers Nursery