Its beautiful white pink flowers usher in spring every year. Many people consider their sweet fruits to be their favorite fruit. The sweet cherry enjoys great popularity all over the world. As a column cherry, it will also find enough space in the small garden, on the terrace or balcony, thanks to its slender habit. For this reason, this fruit tree is ideally suited as a decorative container plant, which, with the right care, produces a rich harvest of sweet fruits. Since the column cherry was introduced to Europe by the French more than 100 years ago, numerous varieties have been cultivated, each of which has its own individual advantages. With regard to care, however, there are largely uniform factors that must be observed.
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Plants in the tub and in the garden soil
If the column cherry is put in a planter, it thrives best in humus-rich soil that has been mixed with compost and horn shavings. When choosing a planter, it is important to ensure that it has a drainage hole so that no waterlogging can develop later. So that the substrate does not clog this outlet hole, it is covered with potsherds or some pebbles. A sense of proportion is required when it comes to the size of the bucket. If it is too small, the root ball is narrowed, which has a very negative effect on the development of the cherry tree. If it is too big, the cherry tree initially puts a large part of its energy into the growth of the roots so that they can spread throughout the entire bucket. If the chosen location for the plant is in the garden, the soil should be sandy, loamy and rich in humus.
In both cases it is advisable to tie the cherry tree to a post with bast or hollow cord to support its shape and stability. A sunny location is ideal, although the plant can also cope with light partial shade. The distance to the next plant is ideally between 80 cm and 100 cm. Once the column fruit has been planted, it is supplied with plenty of water and literally silted up in the garden soil.
Cutting for successful grooming
Targeted and systematic cutting gives the cherry tree its beautiful, slim shape and is densely overgrown from top to bottom. Immediately after the fruit has been harvested, all side shoots except for 2 or 3 eyes are cut. In the same year, these shoots are used to produce the valuable fruit wood for the next season. On this occasion, weak wood is completely removed.
The cut of the main shoot is of particular importance. As soon as the cherry tree has reached a height of 100 cm, the main shoot is cut for the first time. This cut from above forces the side growth and at the same time prevents the trunk from becoming bald from below. This process is repeated every year until the desired height is reached.
As a rule, this column fruit is about 2.5 m high and 80 cm to 100 cm wide. In order to counteract the aging of the column cherry in the coming years, the older shoots are removed if they become too lignified. In this way, the young shoots receive enough light again for vigorous growth. In addition to cutting, caring for the cherry tree requires hardly any effort:
- Water abundantly in summer
- Avoid waterlogging at all costs
- the location should be as sunny as possible
- give seasonal fertilizer
- only start fertilizing after the first shoot
- cut after harvest
- Protect the plant from frost with foil or fleece
- Place the bucket on the south side of the house
- do not make a pruning during hibernation
- in winter only water in frost-free periods
- Remove fallen leaves immediately
So that the wood of the cherry tree can withstand the frosty temperatures of winter well, a regular application of fertilizer is necessary. From the end of June, the fertilizer must only contain a small amount of nitrogen, as this would promote growth at the wrong time. Significant frost damage would occur to the still soft, young parts of the plant. From the end of July, a fertilizer that is particularly rich in phosphorus and potassium is suitable to prepare the plant for the cold season. No more fertilizer is given at least 2 months before the start of winter so that the plant can prepare for winter dormancy. The hobby gardener should take the time to collect the fallen leaves during the winter. This means that frost-resistant fungal spores that are still on the leaves cannot transfer to the next shoot.
Diseases and pests
In order for the column cherry to develop luscious flowers and produce a rich harvest of juicy, sweet cherries, it must be protected from diseases and pests.
Monilia disease causes two types of damage to the plant: tip drought and fruit rot. Stone fruits, such as sweet cherries, are particularly susceptible to monilia. Even before the flowering period, the fungal spores, which can survive the winter, are mass-produced in the infested areas of the cherry tree and then later germinate on the petals.
In the first step, the flowers wither, whereupon the fungus attaches itself to the shoot and lets it wither. The resulting cherries fare no better because they simply rot away. Since the Monilia fungus can survive for years, all infected parts of the cherry tree must be removed immediately. The infected branches are cut back to at least 20 cm in the healthy wood. In general, regular cutting has a preventive effect against infestation with Monilia. A sunny and airy location is also helpful. Effective pesticides that are allowed for household use have not yet been developed. The best protection is careful care, with the help of which the cherry tree develops into a resilient and strong plant.
A stubborn pest that targets sweet cherries in particular is the cherry fruit fly. It hatches from mid-May, is 4-5 mm in size and has a conspicuous yellow dot on its back. For the first 10 days, the cherry fruit flies live exclusively on honeydew or nectar. Then the fateful wedding flight begins for the cherries, in which a female lays up to 250 eggs on the fruit. Since every fruit on which an egg has been laid is marked with a scent, up to 1.6 kg of cherries per female are infected. The maggots destroy the pulp, the cherries fall off and the maggots nest in the ground as pupae, only to strike again next year. Culture nets that are so close-meshed provide good protection against the cherry fruit fly that the pests cannot slip through. In addition, early ripening cherry varieties are naturally protected against the pest.
Support fruit formation
Various factors certainly play a role when choosing the preferred variety of column cherry. One of the most important properties that influence the choice of the variety is whether it is a self-pollinated or cross-pollinated species. The hobby gardener should therefore find out whether the pollen from another plant is required for fruit formation or whether self-fertilization takes place in order for the cherries to grow. In the case of self-pollinators, a second column cherry is therefore not necessary, in the case of cross-pollinators it is. This second tree, the pollen of which is required for fruiting, can also be in the immediate vicinity if it is a different type of cherry tree and both plants should bloom at the same time. The hobby gardener can intervene to support by placing flowering branches of a suitable pollen donor variety under the column cherry. Ideally, the garden is designed in such a way that natural pollen carriers, such as bees and bumblebees, feel comfortable and take care of fertilization.
It is not without reason that the column cherry enjoys great popularity, which has contributed to the fact that a large number of different varieties have been cultivated. Some of the favorites are recommended below with their most important properties:
- makes large, aromatic fruits
- blooms from the 2nd year of life
- Harvest takes place in mid / late July
- sweet, particularly juicy cherries
- blooms from the 2nd year of life
- Harvest from the beginning of August
- higher pollination by other varieties possible.
- early autumn cherry
- thick instinct
- sweet, tasty fruits
- Harvest from mid-June, so no maggot infestation
- rich bearing plant
- aromatic sweet fruits
- pretty tough
- Harvest in late July / early August
- large, dark red cherries
- firm pulp
- first harvest from the 3rd year
- Harvest at the end of June / beginning of July
- alien fertile through Sara and Cherryluck
- dark cartilage cherry
- sweet, tasty cherry aroma
- Harvest in early / mid-July
- bears flowers from the 2nd year on
Even if most of the cherry cherry varieties are self-fertile, the experts advise planting different varieties anyway, as this also supports rich fruit formation.
Propagation through processing
It sounds complicated – but it isn’t. The most effective method of propagating the column cherry is through grafting. In this artificial form of reproduction, annual leaflets are grafted onto a wild underlay. A wild cherry tree, for example, as can be discovered at the edge of the forest, can serve as a base. The best time to prune the leaflets from the mother tree is between December and January, when it is not freezing. The branch has at least three buds, which must not be injured by the cut. The knife should be sterile so as not to cause a fungal infection. For the rest of the winter, the edible veins are placed in a pit with moist sand, which is covered with earth so that it does not dry out.
For finishing, the backing and the underlay must have the same thickness. Both parts are cut diagonally in the same way and connected with bast. Propagation through grafting works because young twigs are still so capable of regeneration that the cut surfaces of the rootstock and vines grow together again. If a still young tree is to be grafted into a column cherry, the ooculation technique is suitable. This can be done from mid-May to early September. A 2 cm to 3 cm long T-cut is made in the bark of the tree, which is to serve as a base, and one eye of the leaf vines is pushed into the center of the T-tab. The finishing point is now closed again, preferably with raffia, but the eye should definitely remain free. Tries,
If you would like to harvest sweet cherries yourself, you have made the right choice with a column cherry. Even those who do not have their own garden can plant this fruit tree, because thanks to the slim column shape, it also feels at home in a bucket on a balcony or terrace. The main thing is that the location is sunny, there is plenty of water in the summer and careful pruning is carried out after the harvest; then nothing should stand in the way of a rich harvest. The column cherry also scores with the fact that most of its different varieties are self-fertile. So it can also be grown as a specimen plant, although similar neighboring plants promise a more abundant cherry yield.