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The Tulare Cherry Tree

The Tulare cherry tree is a cousin to the Bing cherry tree, which is one of the most popular cherry trees in the world. Much like Bing cherries, Tulare cherries are widely prized for their sweet flavor, firm texture, and exceptional juiciness.

Another thing that makes the Tulare cherry tree so popular is that it grows well in orchards in the South.

Red cherry tree.
Red cherry tree.

With a low chilling requirement of only 400 hours, this cherry tree is incredibly well-suited to warmer climates. Here’s another bonus: The Tulare Cherry tree blooms about a week earlier than Bing, bringing gardeners a delicious early cherry harvest.

Let’s dive in and learn more about the Tulare cherry tree.

History of the Tulare Cherry Tree

The Tulare cherry tree was developed and patented by Bradford Genetics in 1988 and is particularly popular in Southern California. Discovered first as a chance seedling in a San Joaquin Valley, California Bing cherry orchard in 1974, the Tulare cherry tree was named for Tulare County, where it was discovered.

Because they ripen 10 days before Bing cherries ripen, the Tulare cherry tree was distinguished as a new variety.

All cherries are members of the Prunus family and descend from the Prunus avium, or wild cherry. Cherries are classified as stone fruits.

Incidentally, Bradford Farms also owns the patent for another popular cherry, Sequoia cherries.

Tulare Cherry Tree / Fruit Characteristics

Tulare cherries have occasional light magenta blushes, but typically have an outer skin that is deep red in color. The exterior is smooth and crack-resistant. These cherries have an arch and pointed crest that makes them almost look like little hearts.

Heart-shaped red cherries.
Heart-shaped red cherries.

When compared to the Bing cherry, Tulare cherries are soft. However, the flesh is actually quite firm.

Tulare cherries are ready to harvest in late spring to early summer.

Planting Zones

Tulare cherry trees perform beautifully in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8. The lowest temperature i9t can tolerate is -10° to 0°F (-23° to -18°C).

For more information on growing the Tulare cherry tree, visit our website: “How To Grow the Tulare Cherry Tree.”

Size and Spacing

Tulare cherry trees will reach heights between 10-20 feet, and their diameter will be between 10-15 feet.

If you plant more cherry trees, allow 35-50 feet between your trees. If they’re too close together, air circulation will become compromised, making your trees more susceptible to disease and pests.

Pollination

If you grow Tulare cherry trees, you need a nearby pollinator. Any of these cherry trees will work to pollinate your Tulare tree.

Tree Care

In the late fall or early spring, plant your Tulare tree when the soil is moist and soft. Like all varieties of cherry trees, Tulare cherry trees need well-drained, deep soil. Avoid planting your tree in locations that retain water and stay soggy after a rainfall.

Sunlight

To get the best blooms from your Tulare cherry tree, plant it in a spot that will allow it to receive minimally six hours of sunlight every day.

Watering

When you first plant your Tulare cherry tree, water deeply until the root ball is evenly moistened. Allow the water to drain, then, give your tree a second deep watering.

Tulare cherry trees need about one inch of water every week when they’re young. During dry periods, you may need to supplement rainfall, but don’t over-water your trees.

Watering at the base of the tree will give you the best results because if the foliage gets wet, your tree will be at greater risk of developing powdery mildew.

To help retain moisture, you can mulch with three inches of organic matter. This will also help to control temperature fluctuations that can lead to cherry splits. Mulch with any of the following, and be sure to keep a few inches of the area around the trunk mulch-free.

  • Leaf mold
  • Shredded bark
  • Compost

Pruning the Tulare Cherry Tree

For best results, prune your trees every year in late winter. To do this, remove any winter-damaged growth. Also, remove branches that rub against or cross other branches.

You can also improve your tree’s air circulation by thinning the center of the tree. Regular annual pruning helps to prevent fungal diseases like powdery mildew.

Diseases & Care

Following careful pruning every year will help keep your tree free of powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.

Common Uses For Tulare Cherries

You can use Tulare cherries as you would any sweet cherry, but the great news is that you’ll have them 10 days earlier than other varieties. Use them in pies, desserts, compotes, and as garnishes and main ingredients in savory sauces.

What Do Tulare Cherries Taste Like?

Tulare cherries are super sweet, much like their Bing cousin. Moreover, when you bite into these juicy cherries, they have a snappy texture. The inner pulp has all of the tangy and bright flavors we look for in a classic variety of sweet cherries.

Cooking

Like most sweet cherries, Tulare cherries pair beautifully with nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, hazelnut, peaches, almonds, white and dark chocolate, and cream. Tulare cherries are slightly tarter than some of the other sweet cherry varieties.

For savory pairings, try Tulare cherries with spicy peppers, arugula, cilantro, basil, duck, pork, grilled fish, scallops, and mild creamy cheeses like mascarpone and burrata.

Eating Raw

Cherries are one of the most delicious (and handy!) fruits to eat raw. In fact, it’s hard to resist eating them straight off the trees. More than one little helper has come back from the cherry orchard with cherry juice smeared all over their hands and faces.

However, when you eat cherries raw, be sure to remove the pits.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

Cherries from the Tulare cherry tree are one of the most versatile fruits to preserve. Be sure to remove the pits before preserving them.

Sweet red cherries, like the Bing cherry and the Tulare cherry, cut in half with pits.
Sweet red cherries.

Before using any method for preserving cherries, wash them well and dry them by patting gently with paper towels. You can also air-dry them if you have space to so do.

How to Freeze Cherries Whole

When the cherries are dry, put them on a cookie sheet spaced apart and flash-freeze them. Then, when they’re frozen, put them into a freezer bag. When you need cherries for a recipe, all you have to do is pop them out of the bag.

How to Freeze Cherries in Sugar Syrup

Another popular way to preserve Tulare cherries is to pack them in sugar syrup. Simply dissolve 1 ¼ cups of sugar in four cups of water. Add one cup of sugar syrup to every quart of prepared cherries. Freeze in freezer containers or freezer bags.

How to Dry Cherries in the Oven

You can dry cherries in a food dehydrator if you have one, but you can also use your oven to make delicious dried cherries. Dried cherries are portable, healthy, and tasty by themselves, and they’re also delicious added to trail mixes.

How to Can Cherries from the Tulare Cherry Tree

If you want to can your cherries or make cherry juice, carefully follow the instructions provided by agricultural extensions or a reputable canning book.

Tulare Cherries Recipes

Tulare cherry trees produce cherries that are incredibly versatile for dessert recipes. We love the idea of cherry ice cream, for example, and there’s no question that the classic Cherry Pie is always a hit.

Cherry Almond Cheesecake
Easy Cherry Almond Cheesecake (click for the recipe).

A decadent cherry syrup would be delightful in cocktails or for use in recipes, and if you want to avoid wasting your cherry pits, you can even make a potent cherry pit syrup.

Here are a few more delicious recipe ideas for Tulare cherries.

Another excellent way to enjoy cherries is to use them as a garnish in flutes of champagne. Drizzle in a little bit of Amaretto for pure decadence.

Health Benefits of Tulare Cherries

Like all edible cherries, Tulare cherries are nutrient-dense and offer numerous health benefits. In particular, Tulare cherries are rich in anthocyanin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory antioxidant that can reduce pain.

For athletes, cherries can play a role in exercise recovery, and they may offer relief from the symptoms of arthritis and gout. Cherries are also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese, and copper.

To learn more about the health benefits of Tulare cherries, check out our guide to “The Health Benefits of Tulare Cherries.”

Where To Buy Tulare Cherry Trees

If you’re thinking about adding cherry trees to your yard or orchard, check out the huge selection of flowering cherry trees at Nature Hills Nursery.

Where To Buy Tulare Cherries

You may have difficulty finding Tulare cherries at your favorite market, but if you do spot them, grab them while you can. They sell out quickly.

The best way to make sure you have a nice supply of cherries is to grow your own Tulare cherry trees. Alternatively, some areas have cherry-picking farms where you can go and pick your own cherries.

Wrapping up The Tulare Cherry Tree

If you want to harvest flavorful cherries early in the season, the Tulare cherry tree can give you a solid and bountiful harvest a full week before the Bing cherry tree produces fruit. These trees are wonderful to have in your orchard or garden, whether you’re looking for a gorgeous landscape tree or tasty cherries.