Dwarf Sour Cherry, Sour Cherries, Dwarf Sour Cherries for sale

Sour cherries at the University of

7 year old Carmine Jewel at Bozeman, MT. Grass kept away, fertilized with manure.

Tart Cherry Benefits

6 benefits - NDTV Food
1 TBSP 2x/day for Arthritis

Growing Cherries

Dwarf sour cherries prefer well-drained, sandy loam or loam soils, with a pH between 6.5 and 8.0. It is very important to keep perrenial weeds away from them as they stunt the trees' growth. Organic matter level between 2-3% is very important if you have clay or sandy soil. They do well under mulch. Water them a few times deeply to get them established. Here is one customer's story from Iowa, a visit to a cherry orchard in Saskatchewan, and an interview with a cherry picker at our orchard in Minnesota.

Size of full grown dwarf sour cherries is dependent on several factors. While listed at 6 1/2 feet tall in zone 2 in Canada, they can reach 12 feet in height in zone 4. Keeping encroaching grass and weeds away is also critical, as is appropriate moisture. Cherries do not like wet feet, but thrive with consistent watering especially the first three years. Pruning excess growth from the center of the bushes in late winter/early spring is also beneficial. Michigan State U affirms modest pruning can be done post-harvest on mature trees that have filled their space.

Ripening sequence in Saskatoon, SK (zone 2):

-Carmine Jewel (late July)
-Crimson Passion
-Evans Bali
Peak bloom times in 2015 zone 3a:
- Juliet - May 15
- Romeo - May 20
- Carmine Jewel - May 21
- Cupid - May 23
More info: VARIATIONS IN NEW AND EXISTING U of S Sour Cherries, ADF report March 2011

U Mich Picture Table of Fruit Freeze Damage Thresholds

Pruning Tart Cherries factsheet University of Utah, 2020
Pruning Young Cherry Trees U Mich

Renewal Pruning growingfruit.org" reports one of Dr. Bob Bor's emails dated 7/1/14:: "For best longevity one should grow the cherries as bushes with multiple trunks. Using renewal thinning you should get rid of a trunk or two every year or two to allow new ones to form or let suckers in the row come up to replace them. Our original seedling rows are 22 years old and are still alive and fairly healthy. On a severe -50C winter, we didn't lose trees but we lost the oldest trunks of most trees. Specifically it was those branches that had born fruit for many years and were hardly making any growth. Perhaps a trunk should be removed somewhere around 7 years old? Maybe 10? I'd think the bushes could go on for many decades."

Hand picking
Over the row trial at MSU on other tart cherries

Extreme climate testimony

The cherry trees I have ordered in the past are doing great. This past year we were able to put up cherry jam. That may not sound like a a big accomplishment but for us it is. I live in New Mexico at high altitude, 7300 feet, and we get late frosts all the time. I have had fruit trees planted for the last 10 years and this is the first time I have had fruit of any kind except currants and grapes. Even though we are listed as zone 5B, the average last frost here is June 3rd. The cherries were blooming into June. I would have had cherries the previous year but it went down to 22 on June 16th. I planted one of the cherries in a hoop house to see if it would grow better there. I grew much faster and is twice the height of the ones outside. However, it blossoms too early and gets frosted. I am moving it outside this year. Below is a picture of one of the cherries netted to keep off the birds. -Peter

History of U of S cherries
2019 Award Tarts with a touch of romance - Good Fruit Grower Aug 2018

Cupid pits too large for tart cherry pitters.
Wowza originated at the U of S, called something like "Big Red" for its interesting, oblong shape and good taste, but not as productive as the other varieties (Dr. Bob Bors, MSU webinar 4/17/20)

Cold Hardy Fruit Bushes and Products for Sale


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Shipping cost & dates

Small sized cherry plants are normally shipped in 2.5" pots, with a single stem that will branch out in the first season after planting. Larger sized cherries are usually bare root and shipped in early spring or late fall. All our fruiting bushes are on their own root stock and we recommend planting the cherries so their root crown is just below the soil line.
Save $ by ordering 10+ plants (click on drop down list under each variety, combining all cherry varieties for your total).
Please check our wholesale pricing for quantities greater than 50 plants.
See Colorado State Extension site for tips on winter watering. Interact with other growers at Sour Cherry Facebook Group

Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice to Reduce Inflammation 2012, Journal of Food Studies
Cherries: Organic Production NCAT March 2014
Purchase article

Carmine Jewel Cherry


Tartest Pie Cherries

5" tall cherry year-old

* Prunus cerasus x P. fruticosa
* Dark purple skin and flesh, small pits
* Good for fresh eating and processing, best pie cherry
* Some people prefer the extra intense flavor and tartness over the milder, sweeter varieties for fresh eating
* Fruit averages 3.5 gram, 15-17 Brix, with large flesh to pit ratio
* Early harvest, ripening first in the season, mid July in zone 3
* 6.5-12' height, 7+' width
* High suckering, can sucker up to 20' away.
* Self-pollinating
* Usually produces a few berries in 3 years, rapidly increasing to 25+ lbs 5-6 at years of age
* Cross between 'Kerr's Easy Pick' x 'Northstar', University of Saskatchewan 1999 (Rick Swatzky)
* Zones 2-8

Carmine Jewel 4"-1' tall 2yr
Carmine Jewel 1-2' tall
Carmine Jewel Cherry 2-3' tall

Meader Bush Cherries

Meader Bush Cherries Prunus japonica x Prunus jacquemontii
* Our smallest bush, a cherry-plumish type of late ripening cherry) bred by Elwyn Meader of UNH
* Very ornamental with pretty pink flowers in the spring and retain green leaves late until fall
* Tasty tart cherry edible fresh and good for preserves. Different flavor than the Romance series, but still good.
* They grow to about 3'x3' here in zone 3, a bit taller in more southern zones, and ripen in late August. Not tested yet in zone 2.
* Rumored to be deer-resistant.

MeaderBushCherryBush.jpeg MeaderBushCherryBush.jpeg

2-pack $35
(two different varieties for maximum pollination, 4" pot or bare root)

Will send a combination of 'Jan', 'Joel', or 'Joy'.
Note that 'Joel' is the only one reported by breeder to be somewhat self pollinating. Planting with 'Jan' or 'Joy' will increase its yield and size of fruit. There has been a first-hand report elsewhere that 'Joy' is also somewhat self-pollinating.

Romeo Cherry

* Prunus cerasus x P. fruticosa
* Dark red, very similar to Carmine Jewel, but a bit later harvesting (mid to late July in zone 3)
* Very good for fresh eating and processing (larger and sweeter than Carmine Jewel)
* One of the best for juice
* Fruit weighs about 4 gram
* 6.5-12' height, 7+' width
* Low suckering
* Self-pollinating
* Usually produces a few berries in 3 years, rapidly increasing to 25+ lbs at 5 years
* Zones 2-8
* More info: U of S, inspection.gc.ca

Romeo Cherry 1-2' tall
Romeo Cherry 2-3' tall

Juliet Cherry



Juliet bushes 3-4' tall

* Prunus cerasus x P. fruticosa
* Dark red
* Excellent for fresh eating and processing
* Fruit weighs about 5 gram, up to 20 Brix
* Blooms 3 days earlier than other U of S Romance cherries
* Typically grows faster/taller than Romeo
* 7-12+' height, 7+' width
* Low suckering
* Self-pollinating
* Usually produces a few berries in 3 years, rapidly increasing to 25+ lbs at 5 years
* Zones 2-8
* More info: U of S, inspection.gc.ca

Note that cherry bushes, especially the roots, will be pruned extensively for transplanting. Size posted indicates pre-pruned size.

Juliet Cherry 1-2' tall
Juliet Cherry 2-3' tall

Crimson Passion Cherry

* Prunus cerasus x P. fruticosa
* No guarantee - Least reliable producer of the Romance Series dwarf sour cherries - some growers have not gotten blossoms after 6 years
* Dark red fruit, flesh firmer than other cultivars
* Excellent for fresh eating, highest sugar content but less "zing"
* Some people want more "tartness" in their tart cherries than what this variety provides.
* Fruit weighs about 6 gram, 22 Brix
* 7-12+' height and 7+' width (height dependent on location/zone/weed control)
* Lowest suckering of all the dwarf sour cherries
* Self-pollinating
* Slower growing, less vigorous than the other varieties the first year, but seem to grow well once established in many locations.
* May yield 20+ lbs yield after 7 years, but may not bear every year
* Zones 2-8
* European brown rot symptoms reported in 2016 in NE Minnesota. Brown rot is associated with cool and wet conditions around bloom time.
* More info: inspection.gc.ca

SOLD OUT Please Contact us us to notify you when we start taking orders.

Cherry Cookbook


Cooking with Cherries offers a wide selection of recipes that give you many great ideas for what to do with your home-grown cherries! Compiled at the University of Saskatchewan, it was nominated for the 2012 Gourmand Cookbook Award for Canada for the category Best Fund Raising, Charity and Community Cookbook.

$20 each from us, or order from Canada.

Dwarf Sour Cherry Manual


University of Saskatchewan Dwarf Sour Cherry Manual. Most everything the University knows about growing dwarf sour cherries! Table of Contents includes: Origins, Cultivars, Biology, Propagation, Orchard Establishment, Cultural Practises, Winter Hardiness, Pests and Diseases, Organic Production, Harvest, Post-Harvest Handling, and Storage.

Call the University of Saskatchewan bookstore - 306-966-2904 - to place your order. Price: $20 + $21.95 shipping CAD

A Customer's Orchard

Zone 4b, Iowa - May 26, 2016 - 1 Carmine Jewel (2011), 2 Carmine Jewel (2012), 1 Crimson Passion (2014)
12' apart, 12' tall at maturity, unpruned until now
plans on pruning for better air flow through the center and for ease of picking
In 2016 Carmine Jewel planted in 2011 yielded on avg 29.7 lbs/bush, plus several lbs more on each bush and ground
Harvest doubled from 2015 to 2016 (Year 5 to Year 6)

Cherry Pitters

deluxe cherry pitter

Personal favorite: Chop-Rite Cherry Stoner #16
Under $100. Chop-Rite site

TSM Products cherry stoner is viewable on YouTube. Under $200. The Sausage Maker (TSM) says "The Cherry Stoner Jr. is a commercial cherry pitter machine that pits five cherries in a single pull of the handle. The pits are then discarded in a separate area while the pitted cherries drop into a container below. The result is a bowl full of fresh pitted cherries in the blink of an eye, with no mess left to clean up. It's so easy and so effective, it's almost unbelievable. Solid construction, quality engineering and precision machining of this stainless steel cherry pitter make the unit easy to use and, perhaps more importantly, so easy to clean. The entire Cherry Pitter is built right here in our Buffalo, NY, machine shop, where our experienced welders, fabricators and machinists take the time to make each unit to the highest quality standards. We only sell products that we're delighted to use in the kitchen, and we hope you'll be as thrilled as we were when we tried the Deluxe Cherry Pitter."

It is messier than they claim as the pit tray leaks juice, but fun to do outside on a warm summer day! See our video.

Search "TSM Products cherry stoner" online - there are various retail outlets that sell this model.

(For Canadian orders check out Berry Hill)

Under $20: **** Tony's Cherry Pitter ***
-Safe, fast, portable. See it used
pitting frozen Crimson Passion

Hand pitting

Under $1000 from Italy https://oliq.jimdofree.com/english/ see oliq.it video A home grower in Minnesota verifies the OLIQ works on Carmine Jewel!

Leifheit 37200 Cherrymat Cherrystone Remover. Here's her review, "It’s good for a home owner with just a few plants. I just feed the cherries in with one hand, blip, blip, blip as I quickly bop the handle with the other hand, boinka, boinka, boinka. It’s pretty fast. Kind of addicting. Kind of juicy. I do it outside." (Kathy Wiederholdt from NDSU Carrington)

The Honeyberry Farm has tried two $15 single cherry pitters - the Norpro Deluxe screws securely to the table but the collection unit for the pits is small. The Advantage counter top version has a nice large collection unit for the pits.

For those with more time than money, there's always the DIY approaches: DIY pitter, Fingers, Straw, Syringe, or paper clip method! And what to do with the pits? Try a cherry pit hot pack!

Higher volume small scale pitters
Elaine from Bouviers Berry Basket recommends the TSM Products cherry stoner viewable on YouTube. She says, "They sell a jr. size (5 cherries) and a sr. size that pits 10 cherries at a time. I bought the sr. size (no longer available) and it works quite well on Juliette cherries (U of S Romance series cherry whose size is in between Carmine Jewel and Crimson Passion) especially if 2 people are working at it. One person can keep filling the cherry trays with cherries while the other person operates the handle. It's a messy job so doing it outdoors works well. I would be quite confident that it would work fine for the Carmine Jewel as well unless you were to forget to put in the rubber trays that the cherries fall into before pitting. The holes in the rubber trays are just small enough that the pits can be pushed through by the plungers. Nanking cherries would not work. You do have to make sure that only one cherry for each spot falls into position at a time though because it seems that the second cherry gets pushed aside and doesn't get pitted. I also would tell people to be very careful with their fingers and to especially not let kids near it because the plungers are very sharp. While it does miss some pits I would remind people that you often find pits in canned cherry pie filling as well, so to always remind their friends and family to chew carefully in case of pits." We did try a single cherry pitter that looked like a wire framed scissors. It was supposed to punch the pit out but it was designed for a larger cherry and did not work well with the U of S varieties.

Other options being investigated:
Kirschen-Entsteinmaschine-GM200 (also seen at www.abolospiedes.lv)

Commercial Pitting
Dunkley Cherry Pitter Jr. in MB. Larger Dunkley model costs $20K new.

Fruit Flies lay eggs which turn into little white worms

Cherry Fruit Fly MSU general info. Also UMN info Organic treatment options (but beware that treatments may be toxic to bees - Entrust is toxic for 3 hours following application: GF-120 has the same active ingredient (spinosad) as Entrust, is cheaper, and is easy to apply with a backpack sprayer. A grower from Montana wrote us in 2018, "Just wanted to let you know that the GF 120 Bait Spray worked very well for me. We went from over 50 percent infestation of cherry fruit fly two years ago to basically zero hits on the pie cherry. It also works on gooseberries, black currants and saskatoons. Have some more fine tuning to do, but this is first time I have been able to harvest blackcurrants in several years. It also reduces the ant population so predators can reduce the aphids better. Fruit Flies are a huge pest but they are manageable. May God less you and your farm."
Neem is ineffective against Cherry Fruit Fly as is Pyganic.
European Cherry Fruit Fly was introduced to North America in 2015. University of Utah factsheet

SWD male and female next to house fly

Spotted Wing Drosophila

  • MSU Identification Guide
  • 2017 Molecules reports that Essential Oils such as cloves are effective. Also 2017 NCBI Guelph reports on thymol (thyme).
  • MSU general info and MSU cherry SWD info reports some success with organic certified products with active ingredient spinosad. Eggs laid in fruit have very high mortality if kept at 35 degrees for 3 days.
  • Kootenay Covers and Berry Protection Solutions sell exclusion netting with fine enough mesh to keep out the flies. Keeps out the birds and protects against hail damage as well. Dubois Agrinovation - (drop-down list select 70 gram) (70 gr weight of net per square meter) works as well.
  • eorganic.com swd info More info: Varietal and Developmental Susceptibility of Tart Cherry (Rosales: Rosaceae) to Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) - Matthew T Kamiyama, Christelle Guédot 2019
  • Natural Enemy - parasitoid wasp Fruit Grower News NOV 18, 2021

  • NAFEX 2012 086 Brown Rot.jpg

    Brown rot While Canadian-bred dwarf sour cherries have been quite problem free during normal years, the extremely wet springs of 2011 and 2012 in Saskatchewan revealed problems with brown rot/cherry blossom blight. One of the


    Black cherry aphid sighted in northern Minnesota.


    Pear slug sawfly larva. "Literature says to wash them off with a strong jet of water – but not possible in an orchard. Can get them on aronia in late July along with lacebugs. Pear slugs eat the tops of the leaves and lacebugs eat the bottoms. Use spinosad to control both. They are not a caterpillar, so pyrethrins won’t kill them. One good coating spay in late July. But only if the damage seems like it’s going to get out of control." (from conversation with Northern Hardy Fruit Evaluation Project coordinator)

    Pocket gophers may eat the roots before you notice their tunnel and mounds. Starting around the edges, leaves turn yellow and fall off. We trap to control them.

    General yellow leaf issues

    Yellows leaves & other issues

    Black Knot

    Black Stem Borer

    Plumb Curculio

    Cherry Leaf Spot For Michigan growers, see MSU Enviroweather forecast model for Cherry Leaf Spot. See more on cherry leaf spot.
    One Iowa grow has reported success with Bayer's Luna Sensation fungicide but is looking for an organic alternative.

    Freezing - see MSU's Picture Table of Fruit Freeze Damage Thresholds and Tree Fruit Critical Temperatures

    Bacterial Canker Managing bacterial canker (MSU) and Orchard People blog 2021

    Cytospora canker

    Powdery Mildew

    Cherry Links

    NPR May 27, 2013
    Growing Fruit Forum - Romance Series Cherries
    How pruning affects cold hardiness of fruit trees (Fruit Grower News)
    West Virginia University Tree Fruit and Education Center
    Cheribundi news release 2018



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