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Monday, April 29, 2013

Planting Two Cherries in a Single Hole to Save Space and Pollination

Q. I have two cherry trees and one needs to pollinate the other. Can I plant both trees in the same hole so save space?  The trees grow to 20 feet and I will keep them pruned to a smaller size.
Sweet cherries produced at the Orchard. Production is erratic in the Las Vegas Valley.

A. Yes, you can. Plant them about 18 inches apart, one on the east side and one on the west side of the hole. Try to pick varieties that are similar in vigor (how strong they grow) and on the same variety of rootstock.

Multiple apple trees planted in a single hole at Dave Wilson Nursery
            I will warn you that sweet cherries are squirrely in our hot desert environment. They produce cherries in some microenvironments and not in others. They usually seem to do better in backyards that are somewhat protected (no strong winds) and have a more humid environment during pollination.

            If you plant these two trees together, keep them occupying only half of the canopy. Do not let them compete with each other but keep them occupy their own, separate spaces. This means there will be a clear physical separation between the plants in their own half circle of canopy space. Also, do not let one get bigger than the other. Keep them pruned to a similar size.

            These cherries must also bloom at the same time if they are to pollinate one another. Check your pollination charts to make sure they are compatible.

1 comment:

  1. My experiences with cherries in Phoenix (year two) is Colt rootstock survives (Stella, Coral Champagne, Brooks, Royal Lee and Minnie Royal) while Mahaleb and Mazzard rootstock died of Cotton root rot (aka Texas root rot or Ozonium) in mid-June.

    This years plantings include Tulare on Colt and Royal Lee, Minnie Royal and Lapins on the new Z-dwarf (aka 3CR178 or Newroot-1). I honestly didn't think this would be good in the desert since it is dwarfing rootstock. But holy c**p it is vigorous growing at twice the rate of the other rootstocks I tried. So it seems at home with the soil. Just went over 100F starting the past two days so we will see about summer survival but I have high hopes now that Z-dwarf will be the southwest desert rootstock of the future.

    Please note that of the cheery cultivars I have listed all but Minnie Royal and Royal Lee should be considered experimental for Phoenix as only these latter two have chill hour requirements under 300. Since Las Vegas gets more chills you'd stand a better chance with them from that perspective. As long as they don't blossom too soon for your early spring season I would probably consider these two for your hole. [I also believe any Royal will likely be in the 400 chill hour range and will be planting some next year to test. There are a few other <400 chill potential cultivars as well...I keep a list as I come across published papers.]