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The Tart and Tangy Early Richmond Cherry Tree

The Early Richmond Cherry Tree is one of the leading sour cherries on the market. Bright red berries and thin-skinned, the tart and tangy fruit is perfect for the classic, all-American cherry pie. Make your summer sweeter with these flavorful sour cherries.

Cherry Blossom
The perfect end of the day cherry blossom

The Early Richmond Cherry has a sassy personality with a bright flavor and juicy flesh. Perfectly piquant, the fruit may make you pucker a bit when eaten fresh, but cooks up into delicious goodness in preserves, is a star accompaniment to cocktails, and graces the dessert table in pies, cobblers, and other yummy summer baked goods. 

As an added bonus, sour cherries offer surprising health benefits and are packed with vitamins and nutrients.

The History Of The Early Richmond Cherry Tree

The Early Richmond Cherry is an antique variety and has been grown in England. It is widely known as the old Kentish Cherry. It was brought to America by early settlers for its excellent preserving and drying qualities, its vigorous growth characteristics, and the ability to thrive in a variety of growing conditions. The classic sour cherry, the Early Richmond is the standard varietal grown in most areas of the country.

All About The Early Richmond Cherry Tree

A beautiful bounty of white blossoms graces the Early Richmond Cherry Tree branches heralding the arrival of spring. The blossoms give way to a bounty of bright red fruit in early summer. The Richmond Cherry can be harvested in early summer, in some areas as early as June. 

A well-pruned tree should bear fruit in 3 to 4 years and produce a heavy crop thereafter. The Early Richmond Cherry is a hardy tree and is adaptable to a wide variety of climate and soil conditions.

As an added bonus, the tree makes a stunning edible ornamental tree in any home garden or as a focal point in your yard.

Planting Zones For Your Cherry Tree

The Early Richmond Cherry does best in USDA Zones 4 through 9. It is cold hardy to -25 degrees and requires 700 chill hours to set fruit. 

For cherry tree growing tips, visit How To Grow Cherry Trees to learn all about the dos and don’ts of growing healthy cherry trees.

Size and Spacing For The Richmond Cherry

With a mature maximum height of 25 feet, the Early Richmond is a giant beauty. You may want to keep your cherry tree pruned to a shorter size, around 12 to 15 feet, making it easier to harvest the zesty fruit.

Additionally, your Richmond Cherry Trees will have a spread between 18 and 25 feet. These cherry trees need room to branch out. The spreading canopy, when well pruned, will produce copious amounts of cherries.

Since they are self-pollinating, you can plant your fruit tree as an ornamental stand-alone or as part of a generously spaced orchard.

Early Richmond Cherry Tree
Ripe cherries hanging from a cherry tree branch.

Pollination Characteristics

The Early Richmond Cherry Tree is self-fertile, it does not need another sour cherry to cross-pollinate. It is a good pollination partner for other sour cherries and will be instrumental in increasing their yield. Moreover, if you plant a companion sour cherry variety, like the Meteor Sour Cherry you will increase your chances of both trees producing a healthy and heavy harvest. 

Cherry Tree Care 

  • Sunlight
    • Cherry trees require full sun to reach their potential.
  • Watering
    • The Early Richmond will tolerate soil conditions from moist to well-drained. This variety will survive in rainier environments. It will need consistent watering in dry climates. 
  • Pruning
    • To keep your cherry tree a manageable size, say 12 to 15 feet tall, prune annually in late July or early August. Keep the center of the tree as open as possible and the branch spread as wide and open as can be accomplished. This will help increase the fruit yield.
    • Prune in the winter to remove dead, damaged, and diseased branches.
    • Keep the center of the tree open to increased air circulation and allow good sunlight. 
    • Pruning Your Cherry Tree takes all the guesswork out of what to prune and when to prune,
  • Diseases & Care 
    • The birds love these cherries and will gobble them up as soon as they ripen. Netting the tree will keep the birds at bay, or you can simply share your crop with your winged friends, 
    • Net the tree as the fruit begins to set and is still unripe. After you have harvested all you desire, remove the net and the birds will happily clear off any remaining fruit. This helps to keep rotting fruit off the ground since they will pick the tree clean. 
    • Being prepared to tackle any potential diseases is an important piece of growing fruit trees. Cherry Tree Diseases And Care will guide you through the potential pitfalls of growing these hearty stone fruits. 
Early Richmond Cherries
Tart and Tangy Early Richmond Cherries

Cooking With Sour Cherries

The Early Richmond Cherry has a tart and tangy flavor profile. When eaten off the tree, the fruit offers a refreshing acidity that compliments hot summer days. The sour cherry is the mainstay for classic cherry pies, preserves, cobblers, and sauces.

The queen of twisting up a classic recipe into something new and fun, Martha Stewart, offers a Homemade Cocktail Cherries recipe that will keep you in Maraschino Cherries all year long. Simple to preserve, these cherries add a bright note to any cocktail. Just remember to plan ahead, they need to marinate for at least a week. Serve these homemade jewels in a gorgeous Manhattan or Old Fashion and reminisce about this year’s harvest as you sip. 

Nothing screams summer more than a cherry pie. The aroma of baking pie crust mingled with intoxicating spices and bubbling fruit harkens back to days of lazy picnics and sunny Sunday afternoons, Saveur offers up a Sour Cherry Pie that will transport you to hometown parades and backyard barbecues.

Of course, preserving these little beauties is the best way to enjoy their tart flavor all year round. Food In Jars has a Sour Cherry Jam Recipe that is quick and easy.

The options for cooking with these little gems are endless. Add them to savory sauces, bake them in buckles, and float them in fruity drinks; they are extremely versatile. 

Health Benefits Of Sour Cherries

Sour cherry juice, when not loaded with sugar, offers some surprising health benefits. According to Healthline, 8 ounces of cherry juice contains Vitamins A, C, and K along with Manganese, Potassium, and Copper. Additionally, sour cherry juice has been found to help you sleep better, improve arthritis symptoms, and promote brain health. Drinking cherry juice is a tasty and healthy way to start the day.

To learn more about the health benefits of this dark and mysterious fruit, check out The Health Benefits of Cherries.   

Purchasing Your Early Richmond Sour Cherry Trees

Growing your own cherry tree, either as an orchard or ornamental tree is fun and easy. Imagine kitchen baskets brimming with these red jewels. Nature Hills Nursery offers an exceptional Early Richmond Cherry Tree. When you purchase your fruit trees from a reputable and reliable source, you can be assured you are purchasing the healthiest tree for your landscape.

You don’t want to miss the showy white blossoms and the lush, dark green foliage that culminate in a crop of beautiful bright red berries.

Early Richmond Cherries on a Tree
Early Richmond Cherry Tree In Bloom

Buying Sour Cherries

While you are waiting for your own sour cherry tree to mature into fruit production, you may want to purchase some to test out a few of the yummy recipes. Sour cherries are available for a short season, only June and July. To purchase the freshest fruit, choose your local farmers market for the fresh-from-the-tree flavor and ripeness.

When purchasing these ruby red beauties select fruit that is plump, firm, and shiny. Avoid fruits that are soft and bruised as they will have an unpleasant taste and mouthfeel.

Store your unwashed cherries in the refrigerator for up to a week. Wash them just before using. Washing them ahead of time can cause the skin to split and the cherries to become soft. 

In Conclusion

Adding the attractive Early Richmond Cherry Tree to your home orchard will keep you well-stocked in sour cherries perfect for pies, preserves, and more. You will love the beauty and grace of this lovely tree when it blooms in early spring and enjoy a bumper harvest of gorgeous fruit that arrives a week before other cherry trees. 

Growing a cherry tree in your yard is as American as George Washington. Just don’t chop it down as he did, and you will enjoy the fruits of your labor for years. Excited for more cherry content? Then visit our cherry page for more planting tips, growing guides, recipe ideas, and more!