Today, I am going to write about one of my favorite flowering trees.
This plant has bright white Spring flowers, stays a nice compact size that fits almost any landscape. It also has an interesting bark color.
It is hardy in zones 4-8 so you can grow it almost everywhere in the US. Sorry Northern Minnesota and southern Florida, your left out of this one.
No, it’s not a crabapple. It’s not a redbud. It’s also not even any of the dogwoods.
It’s a North Star sour cherry.
North Star Cherry
The North Star cherry or Prunus cerasus ‘North Star’ if your speak Latin.
It’s best trait is one I have not mentioned yet, it’s edible fruit!
Hardy Cherry Tree
This is a very cold hardy variety of sour cherry that only grows to about 12 feet tall and wide. This is very good sized small fruit tree that fit into most yards that have a sunny spot for them. It is self pollinating, so no other tree is needed to pollinate it.
It is not a sweet cherry, which tend to be much harder to grow in my Zone 5 area of near Chicago. It also tolerates a wider variety of soil types than Sweet cherries (Prunus avium).
It’s native to Europe and parts of Asia but is not invasive. It is closely related to the sweet cherry, but it’s fruit is more acidic. It also has more nutritional benefits than sweet cherry.
I never sprayed my North Star Cherry for any insects or diseases. It did get a little bit on black knot on it’s rootstock one year, but it grew out of it and needed no action on my part. Birds will eat the fruit but once mine started producing, the birds didn’t even make a dent in the amount of fruit I got off of it. Besides, I don’t mind sharing. If you want all the fruit, this tree stays small enough that you can net it pretty easily and keep the birds away from it.
Sour cherries are also called “Pie” cherries as that are what they are most commonly used for. The best pies I have ever eaten was one my wife Jenny made from these and I have eaten a lot of pie! They are also very good in other desserts.
But don’t let the “Pie” part fool you, you can eat these fresh if you like a tart flavor and don’t mind spitting out the pit.
My favorite use (besides pies) was to dry them using my food dehydrator and eat them as a snack.
I did try both sweetened (by using soaking in sugar water) and unsweetened and actually found the unsweetened ones were plenty sweet.
They taste a bit between a dried cranberry and a dried sweet cherry.
Having Fruit trees, especially ones you don’t have to spray nasty chemical on, can be fun family entertainment.
If you are interested in planting a North Star Cherry, you can find them right now at some Big Box stores (I actually saw them at my local Walmart) or you can buy them bareroot from a nursery such as Stark Brothers.
My Favorite part of having fruit trees is the memories you can make. Here are three dorks (well four if you count the one taking the photo) picking cherries from another time.