Saturday, May 8, 2010

Uni-baum cherries

I seem to be about a week behind on these posts, but on Friday, April 30 I planted 75 sweet cherries at the UMass Cold Spring Orchard 2 ft. apart. These cherries -- 25 each of Rainier, Skeena, and Benton, on either Gisela 3 or 5 dwarfing rootstocks -- were excess trees grown by Willow Drive Nursery for a 2010 NC-140 cherry planting. After going to IFTA in Michigan in March, and specifically after visiting SWMREC during a pre-conference tour to see MSU Greg-Lang's sweet cherry planting there, including trees planted 2 ft. apart, I decided to give it a try. According to Italy's Stefano Musacchi, who demonstrated pruning these 'uni-baum' cherries, they can grow large cherries on relatively short (3 m. high) trees. I thought they would be easy to cover to prevent loss from birds and rain cracking, and thus such a system might be suitable for small-scale plantings in Massachusetts for retail or U-pick plantings of sweet cherries. I have 25 Regina trees coming next year to complete the planting. We'll see how it goes. JC