Prairie Cherries

We are so lucky with the number of options for fruit trees that we can grow in the Edmonton area. We have apricots, plums, pears, cherries, numerous apples, and even some delicious crab apples! With late-summer memories of racing into my grandmother’s back yard to beat my sister to some prized fruit, I have a particular fondness for cherries. My grandmother, like her parents, had an Evans cherry.

The Evans cherry was the first prairie cherry, commonly planted now for almost a century (some say for good luck in a new home!). With fruits about the size of a loonie, these sour cherries are delicious in pies, preserves and even wine. They are also great tasting right off the tree…but if you can resist picking them right away, and let them stay on the tree longer, the greater your reward – the darker and sweeter they become.

Other popular cultivars which are also delicious right off the tree include the sweeter Romeo cherry which also makes a very good juice, the highly productive Juliet, the Carmine Jewel which is also highly productive and bares fruit a shade of red so deep it is almost black in colour, and Cupid with the largest of fruits. Valentine cherries are best for pies and preserves.

Some awesome facts about cherry trees: They are covered in delicately fragrant, beautiful white flowers in the spring. They are self-pollinating, meaning you only need to buy one tree to get delicious fruit…and most of these cultivars grow to be about 8 feet tall making them perfect for small yards. Note: the Evans cherry is the largest and grows to about 10 feet tall with a spread of 6 feet. All cherries require full sun and well-drained soil, and will usually begin producing fruit the year following planting. Yum. Now that you have the low down on cherries, you can begin to bring flavour to your landscape. All varieties mentioned are available at Sherwood Nurseries, and any further questions regarding cherries can be answered by our expert staff, so come check us out online at sherwoodnurseries.ca!