Cherry 'Sunburst' makes an attractive tree both in flower or when laden with fruit. A slightly earlier cropping variety than 'Stella', from mid July this dessert variety produces large dark red, almost black cherries of the sweetest flavour. The high quality fruits store well for a short period after picking.
Grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock, to produce a compact, productive cherry tree with good sized fruits. This cherry is well suited to growing in small spaces and 60cm (2') diameter containers, or trained against a wall. 'Sunburst' is self-fertile and therefore does not require a pollination companion. Height and spread: 2m (6') Rootstock: Gisella® 5.
Estimated time to cropping once planted: 2 years.
Estimated time to best yields: 4 years.
Plant cherry trees in any well drained soil in a sheltered, sunny position. Prior to planting, incorporate plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost into the planting hole and drive the stake into the ground to support the tree. Staking after planting may result in damage to the root ball. Plant fruit trees at their original soil level and firm them into the ground. Fasten the tree to the stake using a tree tie, and water well.
When growing cherries on the patio, use a large 60cm (24") diameter container filled with a soil based compost such as John Innes No 3.
Fruit trees do not suffer weed competition well. Keep weeds and grass clear from within a 30cm radius of base of the tree. In spring, while the ground is moist, apply a mulch of well rotted manure or garden compost around the base of the tree, taking care not to mound it up against the stem. This will help to retain moisture throughout the summer. Feed and water cherry trees during particularly dry periods.
Care should be taken when pruning cherry trees to avoid winter pruning as this leaves cherry trees prone to silver leaf disease. In the first spring after planting, select 3 or 4 well spaced branches on a clear trunk of at least 75cm (29"), and shorten them by two thirds. Remove the central stem to just above the highest of the selected branches. Remove any laterals below the selected branches.
In the following spring, select 3 or 4 sub laterals on each branch and shorten these by half to create a balanced, open framework. In future years cherries will require only occasional pruning to remove damaged, badly placed or diseased wood. This should be carried out during the summer months. It is not necessary to thin the fruits on cherry trees.
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