Bing cherries are one of the most popular kinds of cherries because of their sweet taste and juicy flesh. They actually rank as the sweetest of all cherry varieties. While that makes them a bit tricky to bake with if you’re not into really sweet desserts, you can add certain ingredients to balance the sweet with a hint of tart.
We should mention that they’re excellent for snacking. Moreover, this type of tree doesn’t require extensive care. That doesn’t mean, though, that you’re free from all caring for this tree. By learning more about the tree, you can make an informed decision if it’s right for you.
History of the Bing Cherry Tree
Today, bing cherries are the most well-known cherry variety in the world, not just in the US. It’s also the most commonly planted cherry tree in the US. It, however, didn’t come to be until 1875. During this time, Seth Lewelling — a horticulturist — developed this cherry in Milwaukee.
Although Lewelling is best known for his discovery of the bing cherry, he’s developed several types of fruits throughout his career. Some of his other creations include the Lambert and black republican cherries. He was also known for creating the golden prune, Lewelling grape, and sweet Alice apple.
Fruit Tree / Fruit Characteristics
A bing cherry tree has a rounded canopy consisting of long, serrated leaves. They have a dark green color and actually change to a golden hue in autumn. The tree grows to a height of around 35 feet. It tends to grow at a medium growth rate. Typically, it spreads around 25 feet.
You’ll notice that these trees have a reddish-colored, cork-striped bark that’s relatively smooth. Generally, you’ll see these fruits in June after your tree is about four to seven years old. It’s a very fruitful cherry tree, yielding between 50 and 100 pounds of cherries each season.
The bing cherry tree grows best in the United States Department of Agriculture’s hardiness zones five through eight. States like Alaska, Utah, California, Vermont, and Virginia. The hardiness of zone six includes states that have a minimum of between -10 and 0. Some examples of states in this zone include New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.
Zone seven includes Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, Georgia, and South Carolina, while zone eight consists of states like Texas and Florida.
Please keep in mind that entire states aren’t in a single zone. You’ll want to look at the USDA’s map and determine which zone your specific area is in.
Size and Spacing
As mentioned above, these cherry trees grow fairly wide. In order for the tree to get enough sunlight, you’ll need to plant each cherry tree between 14 and 20 feet apart. Additionally, they should be at least this far from other trees to ensure they get enough sunlight and don’t overcrowd one another. You’ll want to research how large the spread is of other trees to decide on how far your cherry tree should be away from other trees.
Cherry trees aren’t self-pollinators. They require a mate for them to bear fruits. The pollen from one tree must reach the stigma of a flower on the other tree. Cherry trees aren’t dioecious, meaning they don’t have both male or female parts.
Therefore, you’ll require one female plant and one male plant. The male plant produces flowers and pollen, while the female produces distinctive female flowers and will bear the fruit.
Bing cherry trees can’t rely on pollination from other kinds of cherries, which means you must have another bing cherry tree for them to produce fruit.
A bing cherry tree needs the proper amount of sunlight, water, and pruning for it to thrive. You should also know about the potential diseases that the tree is prone to diagnose the problem early and “nip it in the bud,” definitely pun intended.
This tree requires full sunlight, which means that it requires at least six hours of sunlight each day. Your tree won’t produce quality fruit and the normal amount of them if it doesn’t have enough sunlight.
In the first year, you’ll want to make sure your bing trees stay hydrated. When you have few days in a row without rain, you’ll want to water your tree every other day for the first week. During the second week, your tree will need watered two or three times per week.
Every week thereafter, you should water your tree once per week. Use your best judgment based on rainfall when deciding how frequently and how much water you’re giving it at this stage.
After the first year, you want to make sure your plant is getting enough water each week. As a general rule, your bing cherry tree needs to be water on weeks when you don’t get at least an inch of rain.
About 30 seconds of water per watering is usually sufficient during this time. You can tell if your tree needs water during the week by checking the soil’s moisture. If it’s dry, you should water it. Keep in mind that during all stages, you should deep water it.
You can prune in the first year as soon as buds appear. You should, however, wait until cold temperatures are passed. This will help you to prevent a cold injury. When you prune in the first year, you want to reduce the size of leaders.
Once your tree matures, you’ll want to prune either in early spring or after the tree bears fruit. You never want to prune in winter with this type of tree.
As you prune, you want to focus on removing dead, diseased, or decaying branches, as well as broken limbs. Broken branches can be openings where disease can enter. You want to remove diseased branches to prevent the disease from spreading throughout the tree.
If you want to read a more in-depth guide to pruning the bing cherry, you should check out this blog. It’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Disease and Care
The bing cherry tree is prone to rot and knot diseases. Your tree could also develop canker, blight, or powdery mildew. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you identify and treat disease, which also includes information extensive information regarding care.
Common Uses for the Bing Cherry
In the spring, the bing cherry tree develops aromatic, white flowers. In summer or late spring, these trees bear fruit. The fruits are dark red-to-purple cherries. Inside the cherry, you’ll find a small seed, but the cherries themselves are rather large.
The size of their seed makes them ideal for snacking and cooking. However, you must keep in mind that when you bake with it, it’s a sweet cherry. Therefore, if you’re not a lover of sweets, you may want to combine it with a more tart fruit or taste.
Some examples of baked goods you can make this cherry include cheesecake, cookies, brownies, pie, tarts, cobbler, and crumb. Opt to use them as a garnish for summer drinks and cocktails. You could also use them to make ice cream or as a topper for your sundae or yogurt.
Consider blending them into a smoothie. Use your imagination and come up with your own. This recipe may stimulate your creative juices. It’s an apple fritter, but you can substitute or add cherries to it.
You can can cherries whole or pitted. It’s your choice. Depending on your preference, you can can cherries in grape juice or apple juice. Since these are sweet, you could add some lemon water to the mix to combat the sweet. Another option for canning cherries in syrup.
Besides canning, you may also freeze them to preserve them for later use. For this, you wash the cherries. You must dry them as well. Then, lay them on a cookie sheet and place them in your freezer.
Once they’re completely frozen, you can transfer them into a freezer storage bag for up to six months in a standard freezer. They’ll last for up to a year in a deep freezer. You’ll want to pit them if you plan to eat them still frozen.
When you dry cherries, you place them on a cookie sheet at a low oven temperature for 10 hours. You could also opt to dry them in a dehydrator. You should read the instructions for your model to determine how long to dry your cherries on since all models are slightly different from one another.
Check out all our cherry recipes on Minnetonka Orchards.
Health Benefits of That Fruit
Bing cherries have anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, especially if you have arthritis, they can help alleviate swelling. They’ve been studied for their heart health benefits since they’re rich in antioxidants. They contain potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and copper.
Where to Buy This Fruit Tree?
With the popularity of bing cherry trees, they’re easy to find at your local nursery. If you’d like the convenience of having the tree delivered right to your door, you may do so by using Nature Hills. They have a history of providing high-quality cherry trees.
Wrapping Up the Bing Cherry Tree
You might just become the most popular neighbor on the block when you have a bing cherry tree. However, you might find it hard to share too much with a cherry this sweet and juicy. The care is minimal, so they’re a lesser hassle than many other fruit trees. Plus, you can do so much with them with a bit of creativity.