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About 2,000 yrs ago cherries were being cultivated in South East Europe and the Romans had at least eight named varieties at the time of Julius Caesar's rule. The sweet cherries, Prunus avium, originate from the Caspian-Black Sea region and Asia. The sweet cherry is a tall tree with upright growth habit. The sour cherry, Prunus cerasus, is closely related to Prunus avium but with fruit that is more acidic. The sour cherry has twiggy branches with bright red to near black cherries. The tree is thought to have originated as a natural hybrid of wild cherry (Prunus avium) and ground cherry (Prunus fruticosa) somewhere in the Caucasus Mountains, Turkey or Eastern Europe where the two species' geographic ranges overlap.
Sweet cherries may be divided into two groups the firm-fleshed types known as Bigarreaus, represented by the Bing, Lapins, Napoleon, and soft-fleshed types known as Hearts, such as the Black Tartarian. Sour cherries may also be divided into two groups, clear-juice or Amarelle types, represented by the Montmorency, and colored-juice or Morello types, represented by the English Morello. Cherries are one of the first fruit of the season and a favorite of boys, birds and deer! Unlike most fruit trees, cherries don't need thinning to produce high quality fruit. Cherries are disease prone in poorly drained soils in climates with wet springs. Cherries can be summer pruned to 8 ft. for height control. This will aide in netting the tree if birds become a nuisance. Harvest cherries when fully colored. If rain threatens when cherries are nearly ripe, pick the tree to avoid fruit cracking. Because standard size cherries are so large and the roots more sensitive to wet, heavy soils, we have cherry trees on semi-dwarf krymsk rootstock. Cherries require well drained soil to survive.