Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

For information about listening to Vermont Public Radio, please go here.

Vermont Garden Journal: On A Tree Or Shrub, There Are Many Choices For Growing Cherries

Before producing fruit, the Corneilian cherry tree comes alive in spring with brilliant yellow blooms that birds and bees are fond of.
Clement Peiffer
Before producing fruit, the Corneilian cherry tree comes alive in spring with brilliant yellow blooms that birds and bees are fond of.

I just finished pruning my cherry trees. While I love the taste of the sweet and tart cherries, there are a few other cherries to consider for your yard.

The Cornelian cherry or Cornus mas is actually in the dogwood family and flowers very early with brilliant yellow blooms this time of year. It's a great early-season pollen source for bees. Soon after, the red fruits are produced. Cornelian cherry has been a food source in Ancient Greece and Eastern Europe for thousands of years. The tart-flavored berries are used in cooking and making juice. Even if you're not interested in the fruit, it's a great wildlife plant for birds and bees. The 15- to 20-foot-tall tree has few insect and disease problems, is hardy to zone four, low maintenance and perfect in a small space.

One of the biggest problems I have with my cherries, is birds. One solution is growing bush cherries that produce edible fruits later in summer. The birds don't seem to notice the fruits that time of year. There are a number of bush cherry choices.

Nanking cherry grows six- to eight-feet-tall producing white or red tart cherry fruits depending on the variety. Hansens bush cherry grows a little shorter, producing tasty tart cherries in July on plants adapted to poor soil conditions. 'Joel,' 'Jan' and 'Carmine' bush cherries hale from New Hampshire and Canada and have almond-like flowers in spring, beautiful cherries in summer and attractive foliage in fall. All of these bush cherries are hardy in Vermont, and just need full sun and well-drained soil to grow. They have few insects and diseases, and birds look the other way when they're ripe. It's best to get at least two different varieties for pollination.

Now for this week's tip:  Protect newly emerging bulb flowers from deer with repellent sprays now, before the flower buds open. Spray often as the plants grow and if it rains to protect them from these marauding ruminants.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
Latest Stories