[NAFEX] Ernest's Evans cherries and seedlings, Evan's cold hardiness/copper deficiency update

Sarah Kehler Ewing skkewing at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 21 13:19:53 EDT 2010

Dr. Evan's himself says that seedlings from "his" cherry are garbage. He told me that they produce small amounts of fruit with very little flesh on the stones.  However, I know someone else who says that their seedlings are very similar to the Evan's cherry clones.

I will comment on the hardiness of the gallon or so of Evan's cherry seeds that I planted in 2008.  They sucked!  Almost all of them died back to within an inch or two of the ground.  Maybe the drought had something to do with that, I should have more comments next spring as we are definitely not having a drought anymore (see news stories on flooding!).

After all my comments on "why are your Evan's cherries dying back when mine are fine", I need to eat some humble pie.  Prior to this year I have never lost so much as a bud on my Evan's cherry trees (all the way back to 2005).  This spring I was out checking my trees and looked at my largest Evan's tree (maybe 10' tall).  The wood was nice and flexible, all the buds looked good: broke off a few and they were nice and green.  Then nothing happened: everything else leafed out and that tree just sat there.  Right around then my strawberry farmer friends found out their land is very copper deficient, the appearance of which looks like winter-kill in strawberries.  I did some net research and found that gummosis (of which this cherry tree had three spots) and leaves that looked like drought damage were symptoms of copper deficiency in trees.  Couldn't wait for my soil tests (which eventually came back fine for Cu and pH, by the way), so I mixed up some copper
 and some sulphur (I've heard that it "breaks' up clay soil) in some water and doused the tree.  It started breaking dormancy with green showing on the buds within 2 days!  I watched it for a week and it had maybe 4 branches with buds coming out... not good enough for me. 

I also had some apples trees that were leafing out, but were quite a bit behind the rest as well as two other late emerging cherries (Schattenmorello and North Star which were planted as 5 gallon nursery trees last fall).  So I mixed up another pail of copper and sulfur and doused all of those late trees.  The apples quickly caught up with the other trees.  The Schattenmorello and North Star cherries also look fine.  But the Evan's Cherry is the most interesting story: there are two distinct flushes of leaves on the tree, the emergence of each flush directly coincides with my having dumped copper/sulphur on them and watered well!  Bear in mind that I watered this particular tree well all last year and during early spring when it was dry (this tree is next to my ducks which get watered every day).  And we have had record rain fall for the rest of our spring before, during and after this so the trees being dry was never an issue this spring.  The apples
 and Evan's trees were planted 5 years ago and show no sign of pocket gophers so I can't see this being due to them having any kind of root damage.  Another piece of annecdotal evidence is that when I first got into fruit trees here 6 years ago, I asked my father-in-law what to do as he farms vary successfully and organically in the middle of B.C.'s orchard country.  One of the recommendations he had involved spraying copper once or twice a year which I faithfully followed for two years... until I realized that up here the cold takes care of many of our problems and none of my fellow fruit farmers up here sprays anything.  This isn't a double blind study with a control by any means, but I'm sure convinced by what I saw.  BTW: my Evan's cherries are all on their own roots, but none of my trees (unlike my friend's) have ever suckered.

zone 3
Edmonton, AB

--- On Mon, 6/21/10, Douglas Woodard <dwoodard at becon.org> wrote:

> From: Douglas Woodard <dwoodard at becon.org>
> Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Ernest's Evans cherries
> To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Received: Monday, June 21, 2010, 4:43 PM
> Dan, what you have heard does not
> agree with what I have heard from a 
> very well-informed person, which is that Evans does not
> come true from 
> seed and that Evans seedlings are not even cold-hardy at
> Edmonton. See
> <http://www.ibiblio.org/ecolandtech/NAFEX/message-archives/old/msg03690.html>
> What is the source of your information, and where are you?
> Growing sour cherries on their own roots is apparently not
> that easy, 
> and tissue culture is the favoured way. Evidently some
> nurseries prefer 
> to graft, perhaps to have the whole process under their own
> control.
> You may be interested in the articles linked at
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evans_Cherry
> Doug Woodard
> St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
> Dan Nave wrote:
> > Why would one bother to graft Evans since it it is
> hearty on it's own 
> > roots and supposedly grows true from seed?...
> > 
> > Dan
> > 
> > Douglas Woodard wrote:
> >> Ernest, grafted trees from commercial sources
> would probably be grafted 
> >> on Mazzard or Mahaleb. If I remember rightly you
> are in a particularly 
> >> cold area of northern Minnesota. I would expect
> your temperatures to 
> >> damage (in a warm winter unless with heavy snow
> cover) or kill either 
> >> Mazzard or Mahaleb. Mahaleb is fussy about good
> drainage, likes a coarse 
> >> subsoil. Any hardy rootstock readily available
> cheap to a comercial 
> >> nursery is likely to suffer from compatibility
> problems. The only 
> >> rootstock I can think of that *might* suit is
> Prunus X Dropmoreana, 
> >> Frank Skinner's creation. Forty years ago East
> Malling did some work 
> >> with it as a stock for sweet cherries, and from
> what I recall reading, 
> >> some clones of it were compatible with sweets and
> some were not.
> >>
> >> If your sources were what I would consider fully
> competent and 
> >> honourable, they would have told you what
> rootstock they were using - 
> >> unless maybe they were afraid their competition
> would find out about it.
> >> This kind of competitive pressure is one of the
> curses of the nursry 
> >> business. It's extremely hard to know if your
> supplier is understandably 
> >> secretive, or crooked or irresponsible.
> >>
> >> Doug Woodard
> >> St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
> >>
> >>
> >> Ernest Plutko wrote:
> >>   
> >>> "Before" means before I buried grafts.  I
> was not doing a research
> >>> study.  I was just trying to get trees to
> live through winters. I
> >>> bought trees from several sources. Local and
> mail-order. It is
> >>> possible burying graft is just protecting
> graft from winter cold. 
> >>> This fall I will probe around buried trunks to
> see if roots have
> >>> grown from Evans trunks.  I'll look up
> Evans own-root sources and let
> >>> you know.
> >>>
> >>> ---- Original Message ----
> >>> From: murphman108 at msn.com
> >>> To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
> >>> Subject: RE: [NAFEX] Ernest's Evans cherries
> >>> Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2010 03:14:46 +0000
> >>>
> >>>     
> >>>> Hello Ernest;
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> I am interested in your Evans story. The
> trees that you buried the
> >>>> graft union were better 'than before'.
> What does 'than before' mean?
> >>>> Did you plant some at the same time from
> the same batch without
> >>>> burying the graft? Same plant source? This
> is a decent finding on
> >>>> your part. Please elaborate. Also, who is
> the 'own root' Evans cherry
> >>>> tree source?
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> Murph
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