Easy tips on how to grow cherries, chestnuts and currants

Cherries, chestnuts and currants

Fruit trees yield a great variety of produce for eating and cooking and, if you can cultivate these yourself, you’ll never be out of stock. These tips on growing cherries, chestnuts and currants will keep your pantry full!

Easy tips on how to grow cherries, chestnuts and currants

Cherries basics

As with most deciduous fruiting trees and bushes, cherry trees do best in a climate that has cool to cold winters. Nevertheless, the trees may be grown successfully in more temperate regions. Most sweet cherries are self-sterile: to cross-pollinate these, there need to be two different varieties that flower at the same time.

Growing tips

  • Sour cherries are self-fertile plants so one tree is all you need. 'Montmorency' has pale flesh and red skin, while 'Morello' has deep red flesh and a very tart flavour.
  • To grow and fruit successfully, cherry trees must have deep, rich and well-drained soil and be planted in a sunny, open position.
  • Pruning is necessary in the early years to create a good shape. Prune after fruiting has finished, and not during winter.
  • Once a shape is established no pruning should be required.
  • Watch for pear and cherry slug.

Chestnut basics

A chestnut tree can grow to an enormous size, up to 30 metres (100 feet) in height and spread, and can carry 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of nuts when fully mature. It takes many years for these deciduous trees to reach their greatest size. Some of the popular chestnut varieties are 'Buffalo', 'Queen', 'Marone' and 'Luciente'.

Growing tips

  • The trees must have good drainage and a cool to cold climate without heavy frosts in late winter and spring.
  • In areas with poor drainage the trees can easily develop root rot.

Currants basics

Currants are deciduous fruiting shrubs. They need a cold winter and protection from late spring frosts, which can be damaging to plants growing on an exposed site.

  • Enrich the soil with plenty of organic matter prior to planting, and allow 1.2 metres (four feet) between bushes.
  • Every spring the plants should be well mulched with decomposed manure, and watered throughout the season as the fruit develops.
  • Harvesting can be quite time-consuming, as the fruits are very small. With blackcurrants the fruit is borne on the last season's young wood.
  • When pruning blackcurrants, cut out old, dark wood to encourage new shoots to grow.  You should do this in winter when the bushes are dormant.
  • Redcurrant and whitecurrant fruit is produced on old wood, and little pruning is required. Pests and diseases are not generally a problem, but protection from birds, as the fruit ripens, may be necessary.

Easy cherries, chestnuts and currants

Cherries, chestnuts and currants are tasty additions for any dish. These tips on looking after your own trees will help you yield abundant fruitings.

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