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Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Posted by home_grower SoCal Z9 S18 (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 2, 12 at 3:42

This year is great for my Royal Rainier Cherry planted in 2010. Last year it had three cherries, this year it has well over 50. My Stella planted in 2009 had two last year but nothing this year. My Bing planted in 2009 has had nothing yet. We did have pretty heavy rains for a couple of days just as they started blooming so it might have affected them. I just added a lapins this year to the mix.

I tried a couple out and they are so nice and sweet.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Trained to a centralleader?


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

I'm not sure what you mean but it has a central trunk about three feet then splits into three main branches.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

That's pretty weak looking foliage which may indicate inadequate chilling. But it's probably enough foliage to make really sweet fruit. And the sunlight exposure of the fruit is great also a plus for sweet fruit. If you can wait 2-3 weeks without bird damage those cherries will be 30 brix or higher. The few times I've had Royal Rainier I really liked it.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

That is great, my Lapin has not done anything. I am going to rip it out. Takes up space and does not produce fruit, it has been in the ground for 5 years now.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Thanks Fruitnut, I thought I just left too many fruit on the young tree was causing that. My other cherries fully leafed out. We got 579 chill hours this year which is a little more than most years.

I'm at 1750' and the closest u pick cherry farm is at 3500' so I'm sure they get much more. They opened today for the red cherries and are usually a couple weeks more until they open up the yellow cherries for picking.

After getting three cherries last year I was thrilled to get so many set fruit.

And a side not. I know you were dissapointed with the Cot-N-Candy aprium but I just picked a couple off my tree yesterday and I wish I had a Brix meter because they were delicious and so sweet. It would be nice to know where they stand on it.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Very nice, home grower. I would like to try Royal Rainier. I wonder if I can get them to produce here. I am not sure of my chill hours since our microclimates here can really vary. I'm thinking I probably have about the same number of chill hours as you do here in the hills of Vista, in N. San Diego county. I got a handful of cherries this year from my Minnie Royal, and expect to have much more next year, as well as some from my Royal Lee. I'd have to plant these over on the other side of my yard, which is not my "cold spot", so that is a bit of a concern. I'd love to know if there is such a thing as a chill hours thermometer. Sure would be nice if I could easily calculate my chill hours!

Patty S.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Patty, in Rancho Bernardo right next to the I-15 corridor I get 200-400 chill hours depending on the year. I know that is accurate because I have a Davis weather station in my backyard that uploads data every 10 minutes to the website wunderground.com.

If you go to wunderground.com and give me the name of a weather station close to your house I can tell you how much chill they get at that location. I have a script that pulls the data from wunderground.com and does the calculation based on the weather station name.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

You can grow cherries there; but without the 1200 chilling hours they need (hours below 45F); they won't last many years and will weaken quickly. Lack of chilling hours will also affect the amount of fruit, and increase disease problems. No matter, looks like you are enjoying producing your own cherries, so I say, Good on ya mate!


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Needing 1200 hours for all cherries is a pretty general statement. They aren't all the same. Royal Rainier is rated at 500 chill hours. I have a Minnie Royal and Royal Lee that are growing like weeds with only 200 chill hours.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

John, the world of cherries has changed drastically, thanks to the Zaigers. My two low-chill cherries, Minnie Royal and Royal Lee as econ says grow literally like weeds. I have to prune them significantly in the summer, and again in winter. Even on Colt rootstock. These two cross-pollinators were specifically developed for folks on the coast. They'll produce literally right on the ocean in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and even down in San Diego (I have seen them all produce heavily in these areas, as I look out over the ocean.) I should be able to get Royal Rainier and Lapin to produce as well.

Econ, the weather station at Twin Oaks is the closest to me, and at almost the same altitude. Thanks, Econ. I was trying to figure out how to do this. How does one go about getting a Davis Weather Station??

Patty S.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Patty, here is the chill information for the past two years at the Twin Oaks location (KCASANMA19). The station didn't start recording data until the end of December 2009 so I can't run the script for anything before 2010.

2011:
785 below 45
772 between 45 and 32
746 utah

2010:
728 below 45
711 between 45 and 32
648 utah

I am shocked at how many chill hours accumulate at that location. I get less than half of that further inland.

You can buy Davis weather stations online. I have the Vantage Vue which is a station that runs on solar power and a small battery. It has a wireless console you can put in your house to view the data being recorded (temp, rain, pressure, wind dir, wind speed, humidity). If you want to record your data over weeks, years then you need the "WeatherLink IP" kit too. It allows you to connect the wireless console to a PC and/or internet to record your data. The retail price for the Vantage Vue is $395 and for the WeatherLink IP $295. I searched around online and got the Vantage Vue for around $250 and the WeatherLink IP for around $150.

Tom


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

My wife got me the Davis Vantage Pro II a couple years ago for my BDay. It's great. It's funny sometime like when it's raining hard it says "It's Raining Cats and Dogs"

I never got the data link cable to go with it. Someday.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Tom, Would it be possible for you to look up the chill hours for MesoWest Los Coches (MCOCSD) in Lakeside CA? I have a station less than a quarter mile from my house and I have never been able to get accurate chill information. The mere thought of obtaining such information is making me giddy. :)Thanks in advance...

Dan - Lakeside, East San Diego County


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Thanks, Tom. We have an interesting microclimate here in the hills of Vista. We get a LOT of temps between 36 and 46 degrees during the winter. But, we rarely dip below 36. Which is why Altman's has a lot of acreage all around around me as their wholesale growing grounds (I can look south and see all their plants growing). I talked to the Altman's about our very interesting weather pattern right here. We don't get as cold or as hot as you do, but we get temps ranging from about 34 at the very lowest (it does get below 32 on very, very rare occasions), and on occasion, we get temps in the 90's, but that's unusual due to our strong on-shore breeze (I have a view of the ocean right up our canyon here, very lovely). And, we have tons of avocados and citrus here as well. We can grow a huge array of things because our climate is nearly perfect. We just are out of the marine layer for the most part, being about 6 or 7 miles inland, and up at about 900-950 ft. above sea level. And, I have this "cold" spot in my yard where temps are noticeably colder, about 3 to 5 degrees colder during the night due to the slope of my lot and some underground water that runs along the back of my property. Which is where most of my stone fruits are. So, I have Fuji's doing well the second year, leafing out better than many other folks in the coastal San Diego county area that get that weird bare branch thing, and actually fruit the second year. And that is very reasonable for the weather station and weather link. I will have to pick one up. I may ask for a little help getting it set up :-) Excellent. And thank you for my chill hours, that was very kind of you to provide that for me, I kind of suspected I was up in the 700 range. I live in "nursery heaven" and it's pretty cool. Vista California actually has the distinction of having "the best weather in the United States". I would have to concur, I've lived in a lot of places across the country, and Vista can't be beat.

Patty S.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Dan, here is the chill information you requested for MCOCSD. It looks like the temperature sensor is not calibrated correctly for that station. The chill calculated is too low for that area. I included the result from three surrounding stations. They all seem to be consistent with each other.

MCOCSD 2011:
below 45 chill hours: 127
45 to 32 chill hours: 127
utah chill hours: 361

MSDLKD 2011:
below 45 chill hours: 608
45 to 32 chill hours: 593
utah chill hours: 702

MRIOSD 2011:
below 45 chill hours: 543
45 to 32 chill hours: 539
utah chill hours: 761

MELMSD 2011:
below 45 chill hours: 528
45 to 32 chill hours: 519
utah chill hours: 700

Tom


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Thanks Tom. I appreciate the info.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Well I spent a little money today. I ordered the data logger with USB connecter and software for my weather station. I found a good deal at Amazon. Now I will have to setup a weather underground station. I noticed you can see the outdoor part in the picture above next to the cherry tree. The wind gauge is cut off the picture. Once it�s setup I might have to ask Tom if he is willing to share his script.

I also purchased a BRIX refractometer. Now I can know the scientific valuation of the sugar contentment of my fruit. Now I might be able to relate to Fruitnut.

Patty, You do live in the garden of eden. If you can get the Royal Rainiers to grow there you will love them.

My wife and I have purchased them from Costco the last few years and love the taste way more than the red cherries. I will love it in ten years when the tree is mature and we can eat as many as we want from our own yard. I did pick a handful today and they taste so good now it will be hard to wait until they are at their best.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Thanks, home grower. You, Tom and I will have to share our chill hours and our fruit tree results. I am also going to pick up a Davis Weather Station and data logger as well. Hoping for success with mine.

Patty S.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

How do you find your chill hours?

Cherries are one thing we do not have, we have heard we just don't have enough chill hours, but who knows maybe we do.

We are in Santa Barbara, but closer to the foot hills than beach. And the lower part of the garden is closer to the cold air drainage than the top.

Thanks-Kip


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Here is a link to chill hours. Scroll down to Santa Barbara. There is quite a difference from one area to another.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chill hour index


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

home_grower,

I'll give you the chill script if you send me your email address. I have one for Windows (visual basic script) and one for Linux (perl). Let me know which one you need.

For anyone considering buying a Davis data logger I recommend getting the Weather Link IP version (6555). If you choose the USB or serial verison instead you will need to connect it to a dedicated PC running 24/7 to record the data and upload to wunderground. With Weather Link IP you only need to check the wunderground upload option on the Davis website to record your data. It connects directly to the internet. No PC needed.

Tom


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Thanks for the link

I found where one of the local stations is, I think the second is closer to the area-but that is more a guess from the spot on the map. Looks like we have over 300 hours getting close to 400. Maybe a cherry would would.

Would a tree with grafted with 2 types work for a pollinator? Or what two would you suggest?


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Kippy, you can most cetainly grow cherries in your area, no problem! The 'Minnie Royal' and 'Royal Lee' (cross pollinators for each other) were specifically designed for our warm, coastal California climates. They produce right on the coast. And I'm meaning literally. On the beach in Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside. I've seen them loaded with cherries in these areas in various San Diego Hort Society members' yards. Mine bore for me in their first season. Just a couple of cherries, but they were really outstanding. Bay Laurel Nursery will be carrying these varieties again for 2013 as bare root trees on New Root 1 (3CR178) rootstock, which would be my choice for rootstock, as I have mine on Colt, and there really is no dwarfing at all from Colt, they are growing at nuclear proportions, I can barely keep them contained. I am seriously considering pulling them out this winter, giving them to my next door neighbors and replacing them with a pair on New Root 1. The only downside is I again have to wait for cherries, whereas, if I leave my current pair in the ground, I'll get a nice crop next May. They ripen in early to mid-May for me here. Fabulous cherry choice for you.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bay Laurel Nursery: Cherries


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Patty

If I find these trees, on the new root stock cause I do not need another monster to prune-meet my apricot, can I plant now (5g) or should I wait on bareroot season?

Also, how are they about water? (I have a dry zone I can plant them in and control the water or a damp zone and let the neighbors help out in watering when they soak their lawn)


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

You can plant them now, we're fortunate in that our summers aren't so hot that it prevents growth. And, you will need to water them on drip, but restricting water about a month before ripening will help to sweeten the fruit (see Fruitnut's comments about water stress with stone fruit, he is the expert in producing incredibly high brix fruit using this method). You'll want to keep the trees away from a lawn and sprinker systems. Better to place on a drip you can regulate. You'll have to watch your trees for signs of water stress, then provide a longer soaking. If you can't find the trees now, just ask your local nursery if they plan on ordering them for bare root season 2013 (January for us). If not, see if they participate in the Soft Program with DWN and you can then place your order with them, usually between August and Sept.

Patty S.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

My experience with sweet cherries and deficit irrigation is somewhat limited. I have much more experience with pluot and nectarine.

My sweet cherries have hit 25-34+ brix without any real effort to limit water. Certainly I'm not over watering. They are the easiest fruit to really sweeten up. After all they are sweet cherries.

Outdoors I've under watered cherries. They hit 34+ brix and don't even taste sweet. The taste is something more akin to the sulfurous taste we've discussed recently.

What I'd say is water normally, let the fruit really mature, and if it isn't sweet enough try to figure out if you are over or under watering. This is where a refractometer to measure brix would really help.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

I found both of the cherries in stock here, on colt.

Last thing I need is another 40' tree to deal with! I am going to wait and see what bareroot season brings


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For us here in S. California in our milder dry climates, low chill hour cherries are pretty effortless (I'm knocking on wood as I say this). The worst issue I've had to deal with is pruning :-) I would wait Kippy, and try to get them on New Root 1. Bay Laurel Nursery will have both the Minnie Royal and Royal Lee on New Root 1, and they should start taking orders the beginning of Sept. My trees on Colt are topping 12 feet. Again. So the Felcos are coming out this weekend in a major way.

Patty S.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Hi All. I thought I would update this post. First I would like to say that my wife and I along with my parents went cherry picking and they are good but not as near as sweet as the ones in our back yard.
Second I got my weather station up and running online. It has only been running for a couple of days but I hope this link works, http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=91386
Weather Underground Station KCACANY012.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

Just got back to this thread, home grower. Good for you! I have my weather station, just haven't set it up, yet. I may try to do this over the weekend. I'd like to get it up and running before fall sets in, so I can start really recording my chill hours.

Patty S.


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RE: Sweet Cherries in So Cal

There are two parts to setting up the weather station, the physical setup and the computer setup. The first part isn't that bad. I set mine up on a pole cemented in the ground in the back yard. Getting the remote unit setup to talk to it wasn't hard.
I ended up making a micro PC running Windows XP so it can run 24/7 with low power and transmit the data to weather underground every 5 minutes. It took a little tinkering to get it to work smoothly but now I don't have to anything with it. The PC also does other tasks. IF I knew about the Davis connector that does strait IP to the internet I might have gone that route but this works for me.

Hope your setup goes well, Chris


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