Fruit and Vegetables

Cherry - Prunus avium

Cherry - Prunus avium

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Plant of Asian origin, widespread in Europe since ancient times, The cherry tree can be divided essentially into two different species: the sweet fruit cherry and the cherry with acid fruit. The sweet cherry in turn stands out in two categories: duracine and tenerine. The duracine, also called calluses, are plants of notable development that can reach up to 20 m in height, while the tenerine are smaller plants with slower growth. Both have large, oval leaves, the flowers are generally white. In duracine, the fruits have a hard and crunchy pulp which may be white, red or blackish depending on the variety. The Tenerina instead have the soft and very juicy pulp usually red or black. The Cherry tree acid also stands out for other characters in three different categories: sour cherries, sour cherries and maraschino cherries. The black cherries are plants of poor development with hanging branches and small leaves, the fruits are deep red with pulp and juice are instead light. Sour cherries are used for the production of juices and syrups. The sour cherries have straight branches with very large leaves, the fruits are bright red like the pulp and the juice, they have a sweetish taste and are therefore also used for fresh consumption and to produce jams. Finally, the marasca cherries which are small-sized plants as well as the leaves and fruits, which are used by the industry for the production of liqueurs.

The cherry tree

In our country you can commonly find two types of cherry: the avium, which produces sweet fruits, and the cerasus, the bitter cherry, which produces sour cherries, very acid or bitter at harvest time.
In cultivation there is then a whole series of hybrid cherry trees, produced and inserted in the gardens for ornamental purposes that identified as "Japanese cherry trees".

Family and gender
Rosaceae, prunus
Type of plant Deciduous tree
Exposure Sun
Rustic Very rustic
Ground All soils, except those that are too compact
colors White flowers (or pink in ornamental varieties)
Irrigation Adjust, avoid stagnation
Flowering April
Propagation Seed, graft


The rootstock most used by nurserymen is the franc, which gives a remarkable development to the plant and goes into production after 6-8 years. The franc prefers loose, very deep and draining soils. Another rootstock is the malebbo (prunus mahaleb), which gives a reduced development to the plant and adapts very well to the poorer, dry and stony soils that are very frequent in the hilly areas. The malebbo makes the plant less long-lived, but anticipates its use and enhances its organoleptic qualities.


Very many varieties of sweet cherry are self-incompatible, therefore it is often necessary to plant at least two or three plants of different varieties. In the event that there is no room for more plants, to encourage pollination it is possible to place a branch cut near the tree during flowering, provided that; also flowery, of a different variety.


As with many other plants, it is recommended to use organic fertilizers, such as manure or manure, for the cherry tree. To have abundant production of cherries it is possible to fertilize with abundant doses of nitrogen (excluding periods of drought) and with slightly lower doses of phosphorus and potassium.


In addition to the possible presence of cochineals and aphids, there are cases of "cherry fly" that lays eggs in fruits; the larvae will feed on the juicy pulp once the eggs are hatched. Other pathogens of fungal origin are the corineum that produces spots on the leaf that necrotizes the tissues leaving them pricked, the rust that hits the underside of the leaf blushing and quickly bringing it to fall and finally the scab that can damage leaves, flowers and fruits.

Prunus avium

The prunus avium It has leaves, deciduous, from elliptical to oblong, up to 15 cm long and 6 wide, tapered to the apex, sharply toothed. When young, they are bronze, then dark green and opaque on the upper side. The bark is red-brown, glossy and flakes in horizontal stripes. The flowers of P. avium are 3 cm wide, white, with 5 petals. They are carried in corymbs in mid-spring, just before or at the same time as the leaves. The fruits are berry, round, acid or sweet, edible, about 1 centimeter in diameter (but in cultivars they can reach two or three). It originates from the European continent, can reach a maximum height of 25 meters (but in cultivation, especially if extensive, it is kept much lower). In nature the foliage takes the form of a wide column.

Prunus cerasus

It is the tree from which sour cherries are made, then made very sweet during the process of transformation and conservation. It has elliptical deciduous leaves, up to 7.5 cm long and 5 wide, tapered and toothed. , dark green on the upper part, smooth on both sides. The bark is purple-brown with brown orange horizontal lenticels. The flowers are 2 cm wide, white and composed of 5 petals in small groups, in mid-spring. The fruits are edible (even if very acidic), from red to black of 2 cm of diameter. It can reach a maximum height of 8 meters with expanded hair.


Among the fruit trees, the cherry tree is one of those that require less care and produces more easily. Furthermore, both in the garden and in the orchard is a beautiful ornamental tree. In April its wonderful flowering announces that spring has arrived: a multitude of small white flowers, gathered in groups of two or more, in small bunches, appear before the leaves. During the summer they will offer abundant sweet and pulpy fruits to all the greedy ones. In autumn the leaves will turn red and the plant will become very decorative again. In addition it has a beautiful bark, a good cultivation facility and above all it is a very adaptable plant to the most varied climatic conditions.


Prepare a hole one meter in diameter and at least 60 cm deep. On the bottom we insert a good slow-release organic fertilizer (excellent manure or cornunghia). However, we also add a synthetic product that contains a good quantity of microelements. This tree, in fact, fears the lack of iron which, especially in calcareous soils, can cause leaf chlorosis.
After inserting the tree we can cover the hole with the earth by compressing well and irrigating abundantly.


The cherry tree is a very rustic tree that is well suited to all regions. It must be offered a very sunny exposure and the wind must not be excessive (it could cause the flowers to fall early and consequently poor productivity). We avoid the northern exposures in areas with cold winters: the fertile flower organs are ruined when they reach -3 ° C. It is therefore advisable not to grow these plants above 1000 meters of altitude.


In terms of subsoil, the cherry is very tolerant. Excessively heavy and calcareous soils are to be avoided because they could cause iron deficiencies and increase the appearance of rubbery secretions. In general it can be said that in those cases the cerasus is better suited.


Irrigations must be constant, but particular attention must be paid because water stagnations (caused by too frequent interventions or by too compact soils) can cause the appearance of collar rots and roots, to which the cherry is particularly subject. So if our soil was very compact, let's activate it at the time of the dwelling, changing it at least partly and adding sand and draining material.
If we live in an area with rather rainy springs, it may happen that the crops are particularly scarce. In fact, heavy rainfall (such as winds) can damage fruit trees and can also prevent pollinating insects from visiting our plant.


Growth is quite rapid. They are capable of growing even 1 meter per year. The first fruits are had three years after the plant, but the full production is reached after 6-8 years.
It is important to remember that most cherry trees are not self-fertile. It is necessary, to have a good harvest, that there is at least another one nearby. If this were not the case, we would consider including at least two specimens in our orchard.

Cherry mushrooms

Corineus: it is a cryptogam which manages to hibernate thanks to its ability to penetrate the crevices of the cortex. The first symptoms are red-purple spots with lighter perimeters on the leaves. Later the color becomes reddish. As the season progresses, the center of the spots becomes lighter and dry. On the fruits instead craters are formed and then rubbery spots.
We need more than anything else to prevent the plant (in particular the trunk and the whole bark) from vaporizing with ziram and bitertanol when the buds begin to open. If the vintage is very humid it is possible to repeat the application once again.
Monilia: it manages to resist the winter period, preserving itself in the fruits fallen on the ground the previous year. It presents with depressed notches on the branches which then lead to rameal cancers with the consequent death of the whole branch and the sudden loss of the leaves and fruits.
The products of choice are tebuconazole and bitertanol. They should be distributed in pink buds and possibly after the petals fall, if there were the first symptoms.
Red cherry spot: at the beginning of summer, reddish spots form on the leaves. They dry up and roll up on themselves, without falling to the ground. However, if you carry out the normal preventive treatments for the corineo this problem should not be highlighted.
Other less widespread cryptogams are: rust, bacterial cancer and armillaria, to be prevented with cupric copper.

Cherry treatments

The corineum, the monilia and the red spot of the cherry are the main mushrooms that strike this plant and we read their characteristics to learn to know them and recognize them if they were to hit our cherries.
But how do you fight these mushrooms? What are the methods to defeat them and what are the recommended treatments?
The cherry tree is a plant of the drupace family and the calendars for the planning of these plants can be used to a large extent.
In autumn, when the leaves fall, it is first of all appropriate to collect and remove all the foliage that could be the growth site for insect larvae. Once this is done you can proceed with an anticryptogamic treatment on the plant and on the ground to eliminate larvae and insects that winter in these areas.
The same type of operation can be repeated or performed even during the winter, in December, January or February.
From the month of March instead, when the vegetative phase begins, we will have to start preventing the presence on the leaves of molds and fungi and also of dangerous insects such as aphids and spiders.
After the vegetative restart there will be 2 other critical phases in which cherry treatments could be necessary: ​​flowering and fruit formation and growth.
In these particularly delicate phases, you will have to pay attention to the flowers and the fruits and avoid that dangerous pests arise.

Cherry insects

Cherry fly: these insects winter in the ground at about 5 cm of depth. Between April and May there is the flickering and the deposition of the eggs inside the little fruits. Following this, a caterpillar will be formed that will eat the cherry from the inside, ruining the fruit definitively.
The only way to intervene is to spread an insecticide (usually pyrethroid or dimethoate) over the whole plant during the flicker and preinvaiatura period.
Black aphid attacks the leaves and causes an important deterioration. It is fought by distributing in advance a systemic insecticide (only once a year, long before flowering) or pyrethroids or pyrethrins.
Cochineal manifests itself with the appearance of hard and whitish badges on the branches. If crushed, a bright red liquid comes out. They are contrasted using a mineral oil activated by an insecticide, possibly systemic.


The cherry tree is a tree that produces a lot of sap. For this reason it is always advisable not to prune when in a period of ascending sap: the inevitable consequence would be an excessive leakage with weakening of the tree and easy penetration of pathogens.
The ideal is to carry out this operation just after the fall of the leaves, that is between September and October. However we avoid in periods of frost.

Training pruning

When you buy a cherry tree in general you receive a specimen with a clean trunk and three or four main branches.
During the first vintage your tree will adapt to the soil and to the climatic conditions. Consequently it will not have a great growth. At the end of the vegetative period, the ends of each of the branches will simply have to be cut, acting at a point where one eye faces outwards
In the second year the plant will be further branched as it will have grown branches with buds stimulated during the previous autumn. At this point it is necessary to eliminate the internal twigs and keep only those that go outwards. The goal is to create a crown of branches and an internal open cone because air and light circulate.
The third year we must repeat the stages of the previous season eliminating what goes inwards. Later, jets will also be formed that will go straight towards the sky. It is always necessary to eliminate them because they only form leaves, removing nourishment from the fruiting branches.

Pruning an old cherry tree

After many years without being treated, the old cherry trees need a rejuvenating pruning. In any case, these trees are particularly affected by these interventions and we must always try to cut branches with a maximum diameter of 5 cm.
We will proceed as follows:
- Pruning of dead or damaged branches, never too close to the trunk.
- Elimination of branches that go inwards to give new light to the center of the plant
- Cutting the straight branches that only bring leaves with the help of a lopper
- Selection of the remaining branches to ensure balance to the tree. We must avoid one side dominating the other. To help a weak branch, cut another one too vigorous so that the nourishment is redistributed.

Cherry - Prunus avium: Cherries

The cherries that produce these plants are undoubtedly one of the most appreciated and most consumed fruits of all. Their sweet and very good taste and their small size literally drive many people crazy that when they start eating cherries they can no longer stop and stop.
The varieties of cherries are different and have different characteristics, maturation periods, pulp characteristics and qualities. The main distinction between cherries is certainly the one between corns and tender cherries. Tender cherries are characterized by having a tender red-colored flesh that produces a colored juice or a light juice. Corns, on the other hand, are cherries of larger size and typically with a harder flesh than the others. They are also deep red, often almost black.
Among the most cultivated and best-selling varieties of calluses in Italy we mention the black durone and the durone of the ring-shaped one, while among the sweet cherries the most cultivated and sold are the bigarreau and the railroad.
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