Cherry orchard management

The manual deals mainly with how to start and maintain cherry trees in several intensive orchard systems.

Updated and expanded July 2020


Growing sweet cherries has gained new momentum.
More varieties are now available that have superior qualities, are self-fertile, can extend the harvest season to more than eight weeks, and the fruit are more resistant to rain-cracking.
Other factors that have contributed to a resurgence in cherry growing all over the world are:

  • New high density orchard systems which promise early and high yields of fruit of good quality.
  • New methods to create fruiting branches, and to prune and train young trees to increase early fruitfulness.
  • The introduction and evaluation of size-controlling rootstocks.
  • New methods to reduce rain cracking of fruit.
  • More reliable control of damage by birds.
  • Modified atmosphere packaging.
  • Better management of pests and diseases.

 The manual deals mainly with how to start and maintain cherry trees in several intensive orchard systems.

A section on varieties has been included to help you decide which ones to plant.
The manual describes in detail how to use Cytolin (called Promalin overseas) to promote fruiting branches.
The manual also mentions rootstocks, bacterial canker, rain, birds, pollination, fruit quality, and spur development as they form part of the overall management strategy.

Many pictures and drawings illustrate the methods of promoting fruiting branches and training the trees—needed to establish the foundation of the four high density orchard systems discussed in our other manual, Sweet cherries—high density orchard systems.

  • 83 pages of information, photos and illustrations
  • File download: 4 Mb
  • Updated and expanded: July 2020


List of topics in this manual

  • Varieties:
    • list
    • description
    • harvest period
  • Rootstocks
  • Bacterial canker
  • Protect cherries from birds
    • Deterrents
    • Netting
  • When it rains - cracking and how to minimise it Expanded
  • What makes cherries of high quality
  • Bruising and pitting
  • Maintain cherry quality after harvest NEW
  • Why calcium is important for cherry quality
  • Extend shelf life with MAP
  • Pollination and fruit set
    • compatibility
    • honey bees
  • Flower bud development
    • orchard activities for success
  • What causes doubling, spurring and suturing
  • Grow big cherries
    • thin spurs in winter
  • Forcing young cherry trees to make side shoots
    • Cytolin - preparation and application timing
    • bud removal and heading new shoots 
  • Birth and death of a spur
  • Stress young trees to make them productive
    • control shoot growth
  • Cherry nitrogen needs
    • application rates
    • general guide
  • Maker good use of nitrogen fertiliser NEW
  • Avoid making soil acidic when applying nitrogen fertiliser NEW
  • How useful is a soil test?
    • leaf and sap analysis
  • Soil organic matter
    • why is it important
    • what is it
    • amount in the soil
    • supply of nutrients
    • soil stability
  • Crown Gall
    • facts
    • control
  • GA improves fruit firmness and delays fruit maturity
  • Winter chill for breaking dormancy
    • chilling requirement
    • tree response to chilling
  • Chill calculator: try it NEW
  • Hail net
    • Net—positives and negatives
    • Bee activity
    • Type of net, structure, shape
    • Net colour