Cherries are an integral part of an Australian Christmas – prawns, cold meat and salad, backyard cricket and the ever present bowl of deep red, super sweet cherries.  Cherries are available for such a short time, making the Christmas cherry gorging sessions a justifiable extravagance…

Cherries do best where there are cool winters and warm summers.  Strong winds and hail over flowering and fruit set times will blow away all your chances of fruit.  Find a protected spot in the garden for them. Yes, they require watering as the fruit is maturing, but definitely not a water-logged soil, they need a good, fertile and well drained soil.

Cherries can get to a fair size, and some of them require cross pollinating, so check before you buy.  Old cherry trees can get to 10 – 15m over time, so, if space is going to be an issue consider a dwarf.

When pruning, keep in mind that cherries fruit on short second year spurs. Cherries grow into substantial trees – summer pruning will keep them to a manageable size.

Cherries can be affected by Pear & Cherry Slug.  This is the larvae of the Black Saw-fly and can make a real mess of cherry trees, so to prevent slug problems, be vigilant and at the very first suspicion of trouble, spray with either Success or Dipel. Both are organically certified and both should be used in the evening, as they degrade in sunlight. You don’t need to spray the slug, just the leaves.  Repeat as needed.

Bing: A late season variety which is great for enjoying fresh, as jams or preserving. A very popular sweet cherry with good flavour.  A moderate cropping variety, this tree will provide you with medium to large, heart shaped fruit, with a juicy firm red flesh. The skin is dark red with an attractive lustre. Flavour is sweet.
Cross pollinators:Stella, Sunburst, Blackboy, Van, William’s Favourite. Incompatible with Napolean.

Black Boy: Medium-sized, round-oblong, dark red skin, firm, very dark red flesh. Good resistance to cracking. Reliable cropper. Fruits mid to late December. Used for fresh fruit, jam and preserving. Beautiful ornamental tree. Spring blossom. Cross-pollinators include: Napoleon, Stella, Lapins,Van, Vista, Bedford, Bing, Flavorite, St.Margaret, William’s Favourite.

Lapins and Dwarf Lapins: Large, round, sweet and juicy dark red cherries. High resistance to cracking. Great for fresh fruit, jam and preserving. A beautiful ornamental tree. Autumn colour. A hybrid of Stella and Van. Self pollinating. A dwarf form is now available, growing to 2-2.5m.

Morello: Sour Cherry. Vigorous, multibranched, upright, medium sized tree. Small to medium sized dark red fruit with tart flavour. Fruits late December to January. Used for brining, cooking, preserves and wine-making. The cherry you use for the ever delectable black forest cake. Superior flavour when cooked. Beautiful ornamental tree. Self pollinating. (Incompatible with other cherries)

Napoleon:Medium to large size fruit. Red blush over light yellow skin and creamy white flesh. Sweet sprightly flavour, firm juicy fruit. Productive and vigorous tree. Fruits early to late December. Used for fresh fruit, glace, crystallizing and preserving. A beautiful ornamental tree. Cross pollinators include: Stella, Blackboy, St Margaret, Van,  Williams.

Ron’s Seedling: Medium sized tree producing large cherries with a good strong cherry flavour. Very versatile, excellent fresh or in cooking.  Cross pollinators include:Lapins, Starkrimson, Van, Stella

Royal Rainer: An early to mid-season variety which is great for enjoying fresh, as jams or preserving. An attractive new blush style fruit, that  has only recently been introduced in Australia. Excellent sweet, good flavour with white flesh.
Pollinators: Stella, Simone, Lala Star, Van and Grace Star.

Simone: A early to mid season maturing red Cherry. Large sweet red cherries with firm juicy flesh and of excellent quality. A small tree.

Sir Don and Dwarf Sir Don: Excellent South Australian variety. A prolific bearer with black red heart shaped cherries. Firm, sweet juicy red flesh. Matures late December. Self fertile. A dwarf form has recently been introduced, perfect for pots, growing to 2-2.5m, can easily be summer pruned to a smaller tree.

St Margaret: Large, heart-shaped fruit. Dark red, almost black skin. Firm, flavoursome and juicy dark flesh. Good cropper. Fruits late December to early January. Used for fresh fruit, jam and preserving. Attractive ornamental tree. Pollinates with Blackboy, Napolean, Stella, Bing.

Starkrimson: Large, heart-shaped crimson red fruit, firm flesh and good flavour. Heavy cropper. Compact tree. Fruits mid to late December. Used for fresh fruit, jam and excellent for preserving.    Self-Pollinating.

Stella and Dwarf Stella: Large, heart-shaped red to almost black skin, dark red, firm flavoursome flesh. Large crops in heavy clusters.    Early to late December. Great in small gardens where space is limited. The best choice for the home gardener. Self pollinating. Universal pollen donor. A dwarf form has recently been introduced, perfect for pots, growing to 2-2.5m, can easily be summer pruned to a smaller tree.

Sunburst: Very large fruit, red skin. Medium firm texture, dark red flesh with a good flavour. Very productive. Fruits throughout December. Fresh fruit, jam and preserving. Good crack resistance. Self-pollinating.

Van: A delicious dark cherry that bears heavy crops and has excellent quality fruit. Used for fresh fruit, jam and preserving. Fruits mid December. Juicy and large sweet dark red cherries with excellent flavour. An attractive heart shaped fruit. Pollinators: Stella, Napoleon, Blackboy, Bing, Sunburst, Ron’s Seedling.

Black “Cherree” Trixie Miniture Cherry: Delicious, juicy dark-skinned heart shaped cherries borne on a small, self pollinating tree. A delight for small spaces and big pots. 2.5m x 2.5m

White “Cherree” Trixie Miniature Cherry: White fleshed, heart shaped cherry with a lovely blush to the skin.  Fruit is sweet and quite pretty. Will reach 2.5m x 2.5m at maturity. May need to cross pollinate with black “Cherree” Trixie.