The Blackgold cherry tree is a variety of sweet cherry tree. These trees are less susceptible to spring frosts and diseases than many other varieties of cherry tree and produces rich fruit which is perfect for eating fresh off the branch.
Blackgold cherry trees are a cross between the Stella and Stark Gold varieties and are less susceptible to frost damage in the spring than most other cherry trees due to their later bloom time. They’re also less susceptible to common diseases which generally affect cherry trees.
In this post, we’ll be taking a look at the beautiful and functional Blackgold cherry tree, its history, characteristics, and how you can help this tree thrive in your own yard.
History of the Blackgold Cherry Tree
The Blackgold or ‘Ridgewood Cherry’ tree can trace its origins all the way back to the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. Researchers created a hybrid of the Stark Gold variety and the Stella Sweet Cherry with the hopes oc ending up with a tree that had the best attributes of both parent types. This was back in 1975. Blackgold cherry trees were officially introduced by Cornell University in 2001, chosen out of 433 seedlings for its late bloom time and other strong qualities.
Blackgold Cherry Tree Characteristics
Blackgold cherry trees bloom later than any other tree on the market today, helping them avoid damaging late-spring frosts. The white flowers are fragrant and the cherries themselves take well to freezing, meaning that the harvest can be preserved for later cooking.
The tree grows to an average height of 12 feet on average, with a mature spread of around 10 feet. It’s best to plant them with plenty of room to spread out so that you don’t restrict air flow around the canopy.
Blackgold cherries are deep red, almost black, and have a strong, sweet flavor. The firm flesh is dark purple in color.
Blackgold cherry trees do well in zones 4 through 7. They bloom late enough in the year that they can miss many of the early-spring freezes.
For more on planting zones and where the Blackgold cherry tree thrives, see our post on How to Grow The Blackgold Cherry Tree.
Size and Spacing
Blackgold cherry trees reach a mature height of around 12 feet, with a spread of around 10 feet. As a result, spacing should be between 8 and 10 feet to give each tree room for proper air circulation around the crown.
Blackgold cherry trees are self-fruitful, meaning that you’ll only need one to produce a bountiful harvest of fruit. Blackgold cherries can also serve as a pollinator for other varieties, like Rainier or Bing.
The Blackgold cherry tree thrives best in full sun. Early morning sun is best as it helps to dry the leaves of any moisture they’ve collected overnight.
It’s good practice to regularly water your Blackgold cherry tree throughout the first season in order to help it establish healthy roots. After this first season has passed, however, watering is only required during periods of drought.
Blackgold cherry trees require very little in the way of pruning. Prune trees to clear away any dead, dying, or diseased branches as soon as you notice there’s an issue. You should also prune to help develop a central leader branch and come back each year to trim and shape the tree as needed.
For more on pruning, check out our post on Pruning The Blackgold Cherry Tree.
Diseases and Care
While the Blackgold cherry tree is more resistant to diseases than many of its counterparts, it’s still not immune. Like many cherry trees, it’s susceptible to root and crown rot, as well as powdery mildew and cankers of the trunk. Issues with spots and knots are also common in cherry trees.
For more on diseases this tree may be susceptible to and how to treat them, see our post on Blackgold Cherry Tree Diseases and Care
Common Uses For Blackgold Cherries
Taste: Blackgold cherries have a strong, sweet flavor. The fruit is a deep red, almost black, and the flesh is firm. The inside and juice are both a dark purple color.
Cooking: Blackgold cherries can be used to make a variety of confections such as pies and tarts.
Eating Raw: Blackgold cherries are often considered perfect for eating fresh off of the branch.
Canning / Freezing / Drying: Blackgold cherries take well to preserving, especially freezing. Their high sugar content also makes them good candidates for drying.
Health Benefits of Blackgold Cherries
Sweet cherries like the Blackgold cherry have a long list of health benefits. Among them are:
- Rich in antioxidants
- High in nutrients
- May benefit heart health
- May improve sleep quality
For more on the health benefits you may be getting from eating sweet cherries, check out our post on The Health Benefits of Blackgold Cherries.
Where To Buy The Blackgold Cherry Tree?
Many nurseries carry the Blackgold cherry tree as a matter of course, so it’s just a matter of looking around until you find one with the tree in stock.
You can find many other cherry trees online at Nature Hills Nursery.
Where To Buy Blackgold Cherries
Local farmer’s markets are often your best choice for different cherry varieties, including Blackgold cherries.
Blackgold Cherry Tree Facts / FAQ
Can you eat Blackgold cherries?
Yes. The fruit of the Blackgold cherry tree is edible to humans and has many culinary uses. It can also be eaten straight off of the branch.
How big do Blackgold cherry trees get?
Blackgold cherry trees typically grow to a height of around 12 feet on average.
How often do you water Blackgold cherry trees?
Throughout the first season after planting, you should water the tree regularly to help it establish a solid and healthy root base. After that first season however, watering is only required during drought conditions.
How far apart should you plant Blackgold cherry trees?
Blackgold cherry trees typically have a mature spread of around 10 feet, so it’s best to make sure they’re not planted much closer than that, to ensure the canopies have proper air circulation.
Are Blackgold cherry trees self-fruitful?
Yes. Blackgold cherry trees are self-fertile meaning that they will set up fruit all on their own, without the need for pollination by another plant.
Wrapping Up The Blackgold Cherry Tree
The Blackgold cherry tree is a fragrant sweet cherry tree which combines the best aspects of the Stella and Stark Gold varieties. It blooms late in the year, helping it avoid spring cold snaps and freezes, meaning it can be grown in colder climates than most cherry trees. It is also resistant to many of the common diseases that afflict cherry trees, such as powdery mildew and crown rot.
Blackgold cherry trees need full sun to thrive. Morning sun is usually considered best as it helps to dry the leaves of any moisture they’ve collected overnight. These trees do best in fertile, well-drained soil. Standing water is very hard on cherry trees, so do what you can to avoid it. If you’re concerned about keeping the soil moist, adding a 3-inch layer of organic mulch at least 6 inches from the trunk of the tree will help.
Not much pruning is required when dealing with Blackgold cherry trees. Basic maintenance pruning to rid the tree of dead, dying, or diseased branches is always a good idea, as is thinning out the canopy to promote good air circulation throughout the crown. Beyond this, the only pruning required is for shaping the tree to your liking.
Blackgold cherry trees produce dark red, nearly black fruit with firm, deep purple flesh, and a sweet, strong taste. The fruit takes well to freezing, and is ideal for being eaten straight off the branch. These cherries also take well to cooking, and their high sugar content makes them a good candidate for drying.
Being self-fruitful, you only need one tree to have a good harvest, but the Blackgold cherry tree can also serve as a great pollinator for other cherry trees, provided they’re blooming at the same time.
In the end, this hybrid is truly the best of both worlds with its late-season bloom and harvest time. It’s a cold-hardy variety which is less susceptible to common diseases than the average cherry tree, and it produces wonderfully edible fruit you can share with the whole family. Add this delicious addition to your yard today!