Q. I heard about a cherry tree from the Dave Wilson Nursery website that has very low chill hours. Can we order these from the UNCE Orchard?
Low Chill Fruit Trees for the hot desert
A. There are low-chill sweet cherries but they have been in such high demand we have not been able to secure any in past years.
However, we have had no problems growing high chill hour apples, peaches, apricots and plums here in the valley. They have been productive for over 15 years. So the idea of chilling hours being an “on or off switch” for producing fruit should not always be a consideration for homeowners when selecting fruit varieties.
Sweet cherries are a problem in southern Nevada unless you can plant them in a backyard where they have protection from wind and there is some humidity from a pool or a lawn. We had many different varieties of sweet cherries and produced only about 12 cherries from all of them in 15 years at the UNCE orchard.
|We could not get sweet cherries to produce at the UNCE Orchard even with good flower production and lots of pollination opprotunities from many different sweet cherries planted in the same area|
Sweet cherries flower extremely well so chilling has not been the problem. The problem has been in setting the fruit and keeping it on the tree. Poor flowering is what you would more likely expect if you didn't have enough chill hours.
Other people in town have had success with sweet cherries but nearly all of them appear to be in backyards that are protected and have a higher humidity. The people in Las Vegas who have been growing sweet cherries successfully tell me that they have grown Bing, Lambert and other common varieties.
You might have more luck with sour cherries and they are more versatile anyway. We have no reports to give you yet whether they will work here or not because they are still being tested.