The Whitegold cherry tree is a rare and beautiful tree known for its bright red-yellow fruit and fragrant white blossoms. This cherry variety has almost orange skin and flesh, making it a striking sight during the growing season.
The Whitegold was crossbred from the Emperor Francis and Stella varieties. This careful cross resulted in a cherry that is resistant to cracking before harvest and a tree that resists common diseases. These include brown rot, black knot, and bacterial canker.
The fact that it is also self-pollinating is simply — pun intended — the cherry on top. Don’t pass up the chance to plant this one-of-a-kind tree in your garden!
History of the Whitegold Cherry Tree
The Whitegold cherry’s history is very short, as it has only been around since 2003. It was at this time that growers in Geneva, New York, cross-bred Emperor Francis and Stella cherries. Since then, it has become somewhat well-known as a unique and striking fruit tree, though it is not usually available commercially.
Tree / Fruit Characteristics
The Whitegold cherry tree has eye-catching flowers and fruit. In mid-spring, it bursts into bloom and is covered in fragrant white flowers. The fruit, which follows in mid-June, is a unique bright color that varies from gold to orange-red.
The tree can vary widely in size based on whether you have a dwarf, semi-dwarf, or standard. Unlike many cherry trees, it is highly resistant to disease and can tolerate colder climates. The fruit is resistant to cracking on the branches, a problem with which many growers are familiar.
The Whitegold cherry tree grows best in zones five through seven. It can tolerate occasional temperatures as low as 20 degrees below zero.
Size and Spacing
The Whitegold cherry tree can be found in standard, semi-dwarf, and dwarf varieties. The standard tree can reach as tall as 25 feet when fully grown.
The semi-dwarf will grow to about 80 percent the height of most cherry trees. This translates to between 12 and 15 feet at full maturity. Meanwhile, the dwarf variety usually maxes out at roughly eight feet.
Make sure to plant this tree at least 12 feet away from other trees or structures. There are a few important reasons for this. Firstly, cherry trees need to be able to spread their roots widely in order to gather the most nutrients from the soil.
Secondly, because sun is so vital to the growth of cherry trees, it is important that the canopy remain open and unblocked by other structures.
Unlike many cherry tree varieties, the Whitegold is self-fertile. This means that it does not need a pollination partner and will produce fruit entirely on its own. This is a desirable trait in cherry trees, since it means you are almost guaranteed a good crop of fruit each year (provided that your tree is healthy and in the right environment).
Whitegold cherry trees do not have complex care needs, especially since they are highly resistant to cold, common disease, and cracking. Providing basic watering, moderate pruning, good soil, and adequate sun will ensure a healthy tree. This variety may need to be staked while it is young.
The Whitegold cherry tree needs full sun to flourish, which means a minimum of six hours a day. Eight or more hours is also acceptable. To ensure that sun reaches the fruiting branches, thin the center of the tree through regular pruning.
Like most cherry trees, Whitegold cherries need to be planted in well-draining soil. This ensures that the ground will provide moisture without drowning the roots, which can cause bacteria to infect the tree. While you should water the tree regularly, avoid overwatering.
The most watering will occur while establishing the tree. During this time, make sure to keep the trunk moist. Once the tree is established, water once every week or two by feeling the soil. If it is dry to the touch several inches below the ground surface, it is time to water.
The best way to water cherry trees is through “deep watering.” Place a slowly trickling hose at the base of the roots and let it seep into the ground for about an hour. This will let water penetrate deeply through the root system without waterlogging the tree.
Unlike many other varieties of cherry tree — and most other fruit trees in general — the Whitegold cherry does not require extensive training. Prune the tree between the late winter and early spring.
During this time, shape the branches into an open figure to keep them open to the sun. Remove any dead limbs or branches that cross one another, as well as unhealthy growths and spots.
Common Uses For The Fruit
There are many ways to enjoy this unique, beautiful cherry. The average Whitegold produces up to 50 pounds of fruit each year, so you can prepare them in all these ways.
What Do Whitegold Cherries Taste Like?
Whitegold cherries are bright, sweet, and crisp, with a flavor as unique as their coloring. They are delicious raw, cooked, dried, or preserved.
Cherries are most often used in baking, both as fresh and dried fruit. But there are many ways to use them in savory dishes as well. They are a favorite for pairing with meat as sauce, chutney, or glaze.
Of course, cherry baked goods are a famous summer treat. Harvesting your Whitegolds in June means you have the perfect opportunity to bake cherry pie, cobbler, cake, and more.
Whitegold cherries are scrumptious on their own as a nutritious raw snack. However, there are many ways to add them to recipes without even cooking them. Add them to yogurt, fruit salad, salsa, juice, smoothies, oatmeal, salad dressing, or ice cream.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
There are many ways to preserve cherries. If you are a home canning enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to turn these into jarred jam, jelly, sauce, and syrup.
Cherries are also a favorite for freezing, as they keep for many months and can be used at your leisure, even throughout the winter months. And of course, there is nothing like homemade cherry ice cream as a fresh summer treat.
Dried cherries have a similar shelf life to other dried fruits like cranberries and raisins. They can be added to bread, muffins, oatmeal, trail mix, and much more.
Health Benefits of Whitegold Cherries
Whitegold cherries, like many other cherry varieties, are full of vitamins. These sweet, bright fruits are an excellent way to get important antioxidants and improve hydration.
Cherries are known to have positive health impacts on your skin, immune system, cholesterol, and digestive health. They contain vitamins that can help regulate blood pressure and promote good cholesterol.
These vitamin compounds also help fight inflammation associated with certain diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
Where To Buy Whitegold Cherries
Whitegold cherries are not usually grown commercially, so you may have a difficult time finding them in a store. However, you might have some luck finding them from a local grower. Check out nearby farmers’ markets, fruit stalls, or orchards.
You can buy all types of cherry trees online at Nature Hills Nursery.
How Much Fruit Can I Expect From My Whitegold Cherry Tree?
The Whitegold cherry is a prolific fruiting tree. Assuming that the tree is mature and in good health — which includes having nutrient-rich soil, full sun, and regular watering — you can expect a solid crop of at least 50 pounds of cherries.
How Long Does It Take This Tree To Bear Fruit?
In general, you can expect your Whitegold cherry tree to start producing fruit between two and three years after planting. Make sure you prune and treat the tree before it begins fruiting.
What Time Of Year Do Whitegold Cherries Produce Fruit?
Whitegold cherry trees blossom in April and start producing fruit in mid-June, early in the season. Fruit production may continue into early July.
Do I Need To Treat This Tree With Pesticides?
Although the Whitegold cherry is resistant to most diseases, you may still need to treat it with pesticide occasionally. There is a chance that it may develop some types of fungus. To reduce this risk, spray it with fungicide during dry spells in the autumn and winter.
Wrapping Up The Whitegold Cherry Tree
Whitegold cherries are not widely grown, but those who have tried them will never forget their bright taste and beautiful color. As a home grower, you will find many other things to love about this unique cherry variety, such as its hardiness and ease of care.