Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nanking Cherry

Prunus tomentosa, nanking cherry is a large shrub maturing about 10' x 10'. It grows pretty fast. I planted a 3 gallon plant 3 years ago and moved it to the Funny Farm last spring. It is about 4 1/2 tall now and produced a lot of good growth last season despite being recently transplanted. It is very drought tolerant. I watered it 2 times last summer, even though it wasn't showing any signs of stress but I had the hose out because the persimmons growing nearby were wilting a little).
It is cold hardy to zone 2 so ya'll who live up in the cold north lands can grow this.
The fruit is smaller that a "regular" cherry. It has a mild flavor. It produces abundantly. I have read on some websites that they require another variety for cross-pollination but mine produce well without any other varieties nearby that bloom at the same time. Hoochman says the seeds germinate readily so i saved some in the refridgerator and planted them in flats a month or so ago. I expect they will come up when the soil warms up.
Mine is growing in partial shade and produces well. This plant would be a good choice for a forest garden by planting it at the edge of the forest. It is a desirable nesting site for a number of birds. Many critters like to eat the fruits. Including me. I'm looking forward to a large enough crop this year to make a gallon or so of hooch.
I told ya it would bloom this week.


Barb and Steve said...

We planted some at the farm last year & they seem to be doing well. Look forward to eating the fruits.

Anonymous said...

We planted a tree strip at our ranch 4 years ago and put in almost 400 trees and shrubs - 75 of them were Nanking cherries - the rest are Buffalo berries, Gooseberries, Navite plums, Hackberries, Junipers and a few Lilacs. They have all done well, even surviving 3 years of being almost totally stripped by grasshoppers. Amazingly, they come back strong every spring even after cold winter temps that last for weeks (as low as -40 with strong winds). The grasshoppers love the cherries too and will eat all the fruit, leaving the pit still attached to the branch. I have picked fruit every year from the cherries and last year I picked as much fruit as I could process, leaving the rest for the neighbor lady and the birds - they all loved it. I am truly impressed with Nanking cherries - anything that can survive and flourish here on the South Dakota/Wyoming border and still produce fruit is an amazing plant!

duane marcus Facebook me! said...

We started harvesting cherries today. The harvest will last for a few days. We make jam from them. It is my favorite jam of all.