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 The useless cherry tree 
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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:10 am
Posts: 99
Location: Corvallis
Post The useless cherry tree
Many years ago, with complete ignorance, a cherry pit was planted. The resulting seedling was re-planted in a spot which is probably not ideal for sweet cherries. Now there is a small, attractive, healthy tree of roughly 10 ft height, at least a decade old, which is entirely unproductive, and given its origin and location, may never be productive.

It would be nice to plant something productive there, but I am not comfortable with killing a healthy tree. Any ideas for finding this tree a new home?


Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:32 pm
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:28 pm
Posts: 498
Location: Willamette Valley near Scio
Post Re: The useless cherry tree
Seems like it would be possible, given its age, to stump it off belly high, then bark graft it over to a variety you approve of.

I have done this for people before, but you would need to come up with the exact scion wood, since I have no idea what you want in a cherry tree.

After this procedure, it would be about 6 or 7 years before you could not really tell that somebody took a chainsaw and stumped your tree off! I have apples I have done this with and, except for the change in bark characteristics, you cannot tell that it was ever chain-saw-stumped!

You are proposing to dig it out for give away?? That would be a big job -- and cherry rootstocks are a couple bucks apiece. Better to make use of all the live roots that already exist in your ground. :)


Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:09 pm
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Joined: Thu Dec 25, 2008 3:58 pm
Posts: 131
Location: Just east of Tacoma WA
Post Re: The useless cherry tree
Sometimes the effort and horsepower going into 'saving' a tree, far exceed the merits of the plant. Do not feel bad to get rid of it. From what you've said, I cannot see any redeeming purpose for the tree. A dwarf Cherry is far more manageable and will bear fruit a lot quicker than if you topwork a seedling.
If you read the works of guys like TV Munson and Luther Burbank, you will find that being a bit mercernary and willing to get rid of mediocre plants is the only way to go, unless you want to have a yard filled with worry and care.
I think most of us gardeners hate to take a plant out, but space is the usual limiting quantity, and that tree takes up valuable space.

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Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:22 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: The useless cherry tree
quokka,

I agree with the suggestions above. Regarding the ‘stumping’ and bark-grafting; I’d hack off it’s branches a foot or two beyond the trunk, allow it to send up suckers, then do whip & tongue grafts to those the following dormant season. Topworking, or anything near as brutal on cherry trees that age has a low percentage of success; and half a tree’s hardly better than what you’ve got...

The second suggestion is what I did with two (magnificent) cherry trees I’d simply tried to graft pollinators to at that age. While learning the advice above… I attempted a series of cleft grafts, none took. The trees were sadly removed – but quickly replaced by two Desert King figs, donated by a friend.

...so I’d recommend the second option. I know it’s tuff for Orchardist’s to cull what often feels like their offspring… Just assemble your tools, cut it to a 5 foot stump (for leverage) and start digging. It quickly becomes work … but as that hole appears ... your mind instantly begins pondering the possibilities :wink:

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Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:01 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1406
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: The useless cherry tree
Cherry makes outstanding wood for a fire or a barbecue. Just think. This summer, that would could be useful in cooking up some delights with friends and a fine beverage.
John S
PDX OR


Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:49 pm
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Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:41 pm
Posts: 14
Post Re: The useless cherry tree
Sometimes fruit production is not the only thing that gives a tree value.


Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:50 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: The useless cherry tree
“Cherry makes outstanding wood for a fire or a barbecue.”

It, and apple, can be used for smoking fish, too. Just make sure not to cut it up with a chainsaw – the auto-oiling feature leaves a lot of oily residue.

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Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:45 am
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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:10 am
Posts: 99
Location: Corvallis
Post Re: The useless cherry tree
So none of you want it? I'd even let you dig it out.

Seriously - thanks to all for the input.


Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:23 pm
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 9:18 am
Posts: 111
Location: Corvallis, Oregon USA
Post Re: The useless cherry tree
I'd agree about the many uses for fruit wood....for smoking! I've found homes for apple, cherry, plum & pear from our collection of massive burn piles before I torched them a few months ago - people wanted them for smoking uses; in fact have a guy begging for apple & cherry prunings right now!

And having taken out many seedling fruit trees in the last year, it's hard to feel all that bad about giving space to trees that either don't produce fruit or only inferior fruit - takes just as much care to get bad fruit as it does good fruit!
Dave


Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:42 pm
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