Cherry fruit cultivation can be an excellent food crop for backyard or small-farm setting. Botanically, the cherry fruit is a “Drupe”, Cherry fruit belongs to many plants of the genus prunes and packed with healthy nutrients and excellent antioxidants. Basically, Cherries are cultivated all over the world nut native to Europe and Asia regions. India occupies as 26 th producer in the list. Cherry fruit Cultivation requires cold condition, north east India is best suited for Cherry fruit cultivation.
cherry (Prunus avium L.)
Family : Rosaceae
There are many varieties of Cheery fruit are cultivated throughout India. Some of the most popular commercial varieties are Lambert, White Heart, Pink Early, Black Tararian, Black Heart, Guigne Noir Hative.
The Barbados cherry can be classed as tropical and subtropical, for mature trees can survive brief exposure to 28º F (-2.22º C). Young plants are killed by any drop below 30º F (-1.11º C). It is naturally adapted to both medium- and low-rainfall regions; can tolerate long periods of drought, though it may not fruit until the coming of rain.
For better growth and high yield if Cherries, proper soil should be selected.The Cherry tree requires the deep sandy loam soil with the ph range of 6.0 to 7.5. A well drained fertile soil with moisture holding capacity is best for cherry cultivation. As the Cherry trees are sensitive to water stagnation, make sure to have internal well drainage in the soil is must required. Avoid heavy soils in Cherry fruit or Cherry farming cultivation.
If seeds are used for planting, they should be selected from desirable clones not exposed to cross-pollination by inferior types. They should be cleaned, dried, and dusted with a fungicide. It should also be realized that the seeds in an individual fruit develop unevenly and only those that are fully developed when the fruit is ripe will germinate satisfactorily. Germination rates may be only 50% or as low as 5%. Seedlings should be transferred from flats to containers when 2 to 3 in (5-7.5 cm) high.
Air-layering (in summer) and side-veneer, cleft, or modified crown grafting are feasible but not popular because it is so much easier to raise the tree from cuttings. Cuttings of branches 1/4 to 1/2 in (6-12.5 mm) thick and 8 to 10 in (20-25 cm) long, with 2 or 3 leaves attached, hormone-treated and set in sand or other suitable media under constant or intermittent mist, will root in 60 days. They are then transplanted to nursery rows or containers and held in shade for 6 months or a year before being set out in the field. Some fruits will be borne a year after planting but a good crop cannot be expected until the 3rd or 4th year. The tree will continue bearing well for about 15 years. There is a lapse of only 22 days between flowering and complete fruit maturity.
Grafting is generally practiced only when cuttings of a desired clone are scarce or if a nematode-resistant rootstock is available on which to graft a preferred cultivar; or when top-working a tree that bears fruits of low quality.
- The Spacing of plants depends on the rootstrok used.
- Plant Cherries in the late fall or early spring means when the ground is soft and has a higher moisture content.
- For sweet cherries make sure the different varieties will pollinate each other.
- Plant is a sunny site with good air circulation; avoid planting near trees or buildings that shade.
Spacing Between Plants:
- Space sweet cherries 35 to 40 feet apart; dwarfs, 5 t0 10 feet apart.
- cherries 20 to 25 feet apart; dwarfs, 8 to 10 feet apart.
Fertilizers and Nutrition requirements:
- Cherry plants require good organic and in organic fertilizers for quality fruit set.
- In case of fully grown Cherry tress, application of at 1 years of tree age, 10 kg farm yard manure, 200 grams of nitrogen, 160 grams of Phosphate and 100 grams of potash per each Cherry tree is recommended for better yield and quality.
- In India, Cherries are grown under rain-fed conditions.
- However, in areas where annual rainfall is less and uneven distribution of rain is expected, cherry plants are required to irrigate frequently to maintain the moisture of cherry plants.
- Especially at the time fruit development, Cherry trees need to be irrigated at weekly interval for better fruit quality and size.
- Irrigation should be carried in hot weather climate conditions like Apr to May.
- Drip irrigation can be good as best water management practice.
There are several damaging diseases and pests that affect these trees. Some of the most common are:
Brown Rot This fungus infects blossoms, fruit and small branches. Signs include cankers, fruit rot and blight. Powdery, brown gray tufts can be seen on the twigs or fruit especially when wet.
Powdery Mildew Fungal disease that attacks twigs and leaves. Signs are white patches on new leaves and premature dropping of leaves.
Cherry Leaf Spot Fungus that primarily affects leaves but can also attack twigs and stems. Look for dark colored spots on the leaves, leaf yellowing, premature dropping of leaves and white spots on leaves in wet weather. Leaf spot is more prevalent in humid areas.
Black Cherry Aphid These tiny soft bodied, black insects eat the leaves of the tree causing them to become twisted, stunted and curled. The aphids also secrete honeydew which may cause black fungus to grow. Severe infestations can kill young trees and reduce quality and quantity of a mature tree’s harvest.
Other cherry tree diseases and pests include:
- White Prunicola Scale
- Black knot
For home use, as dessert, the fruits are picked when fully ripe. For processing or preserving, they can be harvested when slightly immature, when they are turning from yellow to red. As there is continuous fruiting over long periods, picking is done every day, every other day, or every 3 days to avoid loss by falling.
The fruits are usually picked manually in the cool of the early morning, and must be handled with care. For immediate processing, some growers shake the tree and allow the ripe fruits to fall onto sheets spread on the ground. Harvested fruits should be kept in the shade until transferred from the field, which ought to be done within 3 hours, and collecting lugs are best covered with heavy canvas to retard loss of ascorbic acid.
about 30 to 50 quarts of cherries each year.