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Bush cherries

Bush cherry Valentine Lubera

With the bush cherries - you could also call them cherry bushes - we are probably fulfilling the greatest wishes of cherry lovers: these delicious summer fruits grow closer to the ground, they can be easily picked and can be eaten while passing by!

   
 
Bush Cherry Carmine Jewel

The earliest of all bush cherries, has an intense colour

£34.40 *

Bush Cherry Crimson Passion

The sweet dwarf bush cherry

£34.40 *

Bush Cherry Evans Cherry

A sour cherry that produces great yields

£34.40 *

Bush Cherry Juliet

The variety for dual use: processing and fresh enjoyment

£34.40 *

Bush Cherry Romeo

The late-ripening bush cherry

£34.40 *

Bush Cherry Valentine

The bright red bush cherry for cakes and processing

£34.40 *

   
 

More information about bush cherries

 

Bush cherries only grow about two metres high; the ‘Crimson Passion’ variety even grows to a height of only 150 centimetres. Cherry bushes grow bushy, i.e. they develop very strong side shoots, even if they are offered and planted as a tree with one trunk. These cherries present their delicious fruit on the presentation plate, so to speak, at arm's length and at eye level with the garden owner. All he or she has to do is open his/her mouth, stretch out his/her arms - and he/she is already in the cherry land of plenty!

In the Lubera® Plant Shop you will find exclusively a large selection of bush cherries or cherry bushes which, after planting, usually bear fruit for the first time in the second year and already in the fourth year, they reach their final height and bear fruit in their entire crown volume.

 

 

What kind of bush cherries are there? A large and exclusive selection in the Lubera® Shop!

 

In our plant shop, we exclusively offer a wide selection of bush cherries, covering the most important uses, flavours, growth types and ripening times.

We recommend ‘Carmine Jewel’, by the way, the very first shrub cherry that was introduced to the market, as the earliest and very versatile variety. ‘Carmine Jewel’ ripens very early from the end of June. Although the fruit size is somewhat smaller than other varieties, the stones are also extremely small, which gives the impression of a large and fleshy cherry fruit when you eat it. Those who love the taste of sour cherries will also enjoy ‘Carmine Jewel’ fresh, but of course, this variety is also suitable for all kinds of processing (juice, compote, jam, preserves).

Because of its light and bright colour, the ‘Valentine’ variety is best suited for many processing purposes. Even when fully ripe, the ‘Valentine’ cherry never really turns dark and thus retains its attractive colour. It can be used for decorative purposes on dishes and also in desserts and is certainly one of the best varieties for preserves.

The most compact growing variety (grows only 150-175 cm high) and at the same time the sweetest variety with up to 22 °Brix is the cherry bush ‘Crimson Passion’. Its fruits weigh up to 6 g, are dark red and, thanks to their high sugar content and firm flesh, they make the eating experience more like a sweet crisp. ‘Crimson Passion’ is definitely the variety that is (almost) exclusively suitable for eating fresh. There are indeed customers who complain that this variety is too dark and sweet to be processed as a sour cherry. ;-)

 

Both, sugar and sufficient acidity, are offered by the ‘Juliet’ cherry, which like ‘Crimson Passion’ is in the medium ripening period. It can sometimes produce even more sugar than ‘Crimson Passion’, but it also reliably has enough acidity. It is, therefore, suitable for fresh consumption AND for processing, just like the ‘Romeo’ cherry variety. However, this cherry has clearly moderate acidity and appears very mild and round, which in turn is particularly good when eaten fresh. ‘Romeo’ matures at the latest of all bush cherries, from the end of July into August - and thus extends the enjoyment of cherries into high and late summer.

 

What are bush cherries?

 

Bush cherries are similar to sour cherries, but are not pure sour cherries as they are the result of an interspecific cross or series of crosses with different Prunus species: they are hybrids, crosses between Prunus cerasus (the actual sour cherry) and Prunus fruticosa, the dwarf cherry or steppe cherry. As a rule, cherry bushes carry 25% Prunus fruticosa genes and 75% Prunus cerasus genes. Thanks to the cross-breeding of the dwarf cherry, the drought resistance of the sour cherry, the general plant health and the cold tolerance (hardy to - 40°C) have been decisively improved. And the most important thing is this: the dwarf cherry Prunus fruticosa has also left its most important characteristic from the garden's point of view in the new cross-bred product: the weak growth, which makes the cherry bushes only about 2 m high.

 

Prairie cherries - the history of bush cherries

 

Bush cherries are called prairie cherries in their native land, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. They were originally bred to meet the requirements of this location: that they can survive the harsh and extremely low winter temperatures (hardy to -40°C), that they can deliver excellent fruit quality despite a short growing season, and that they grow so compact and bushy that they "slip through" under the cold higher air currents.

As early as the late 1940s, an agronomist by the name of Dr Les Kerr set out to grow cherries for the Prairie Province and even then, he was experimenting with crosses between the sour cherry and the steppe cherry - but the fruit size and quality fell short of the expectations. In the 1970s, Dr Nelson and Rick Sawatzky imported Cerasus x fruticosa hybrids from a botanical garden in Siberia and Les Kerr bequeathed the results of his crossbreeding work to the University of Saskatchewan's breeding institute. On this basis, the breeder Bob Bors could again aim for the big goal of small growing, frost hardy and robust cherries for the prairie - this time with success! It was shown that the backcrossing of fruticosa x cerasus hybrids with Prunus cerausus can preserve the new positive characteristics (winter hardiness, compact growth, fruit quality) and at the same time increase the fruit size to 4 - 6 g. Since the beginning of the new millennium, a whole series of Prairie cherries, as they are aptly called in their region of origin, has been introduced to the market. In their native Saskatchewan, with its extremely hard winter and short growing season, they are mainly used for commercial cultivation and have enriched the agriculture of the Prairie Province with one of the few possible fruit crops.

 

The advantages of bush cherries for the garden

 

For Europe and especially for Central Europe, where the winter cold is not really the limiting factor, the bush cherries, as we want to call them here (because where is there a prairie?), are above all a valuable fruit for gardening: their bushy, round growth, sometimes more reminiscent of an ornamental shrub than a cherry, makes this crop possible even in the smallest of spaces of only 2-3 m² or even in pots if the super-compact ‘Crimson Passion’ variety is used.

 

Planting

 

Cherry bushes are very adaptable and grow in almost any soil, as long as it does not have waterlogging. By the way, most varieties are also propagated self-rooted, i.e. they are not grafted on a rootstock, but are propagated by cuttings, i.e. they stand on their own root. Especially if you have enough space, you can also let a root shoot grow back and make the shrub denser. The little trees will then definitely become a shrub...Nevertheless, we recommend that you always drive a 250 cm long post 50 cm deep into the ground and stabilise the little tree on it; the fruit yield of the cherries comes very quickly and can sometimes overload the young trees.

The sun is and remains the most important factor if the sour cherries are to reach their extremely high sugar levels of 16 - 22 °Brix. Accordingly, we recommend planting in a location with full sun. Of course, this applies especially to varieties that are intended for fresh consumption. The custom of planting sour cherries in the shade on the north side is a rather bad habit with bush cherries and does not achieve the best possible fruit quality.

 

Fruit hedges

 

The compact and bushy growth of cherry bushes also allows the planting of fruit hedges. The bush cherries should be supported by a pole, which will then usually become superfluous after a few years. For longer hedges, a wireframe is also possible, on which the young shrub cherry trees are planted. We recommend a distance of 150 cm in the hedge so that after three years a dense hedge of 120 - 200 cm in height can quickly form - fully covered with attractive, pure white flowers in the spring and with red cherries in June and July. In any case, there are only a few ornamental shrubs that show such a double and long-lasting attractiveness as the shrub cherries.

 

Pruning

 

Cherry bushes, like their cousins, the sweet and sour cherries, are cut after harvesting in the summer, preferably in August. We recommend, however, that you let the bush cherries develop quite naturally in the first few years and then intervene after 3-4 years, for example by cutting back side branches that are too dense or branches that stick out far. Basically, it is a matter of gradually renewing the fruit branches and the fruitwood so that the cherries do not become overgrown in the lower and inner areas. Leave a stump of 5 - 15 cm at the base with each cut. This can either result in new branches or the stump dries back slowly but naturally, which experience has shown to lead to better wound healing than a branch-based cut.

 

Harvesting bush cherries

 

Fruits should be harvested when they are ripe. What sounds so simple is not always so easy to implement in practice. When is a fruit ripe? The colour change to red signals ripeness of the bush cherries, which in many cases is not yet there due to the ingredients. The principle of harvesting these cherries as late as possible has proven to be a very good one: shortly before the cherries begin to contract and shrink, the sugar content in the fruit is at its highest and they taste best when enjoyed fresh from the tree. If you use bush cherries to decorate sweet and savoury dishes or to make cakes, an earlier harvest date may also make sense because the acidity plays an important role in this case. But especially with the varieties that are predestined for fresh enjoyment, such as ‘Crimson Passion’, ‘Juliet’ and ‘Romeo’, it is worth waiting for the latest possible date. Of course, it makes sense then to protect the valuable and increasingly sweet ripening harvest from bird droppings with a harvest protection net.

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