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  • From: "Dean Kreutzer" <>
  • To:
  • Subject: [NAFEX] U of S Cherries
  • Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 10:32:25 -0600

Hello all,

The obvious first question is: When do you think the top six will be
available down South in places like Minnesota, North Dakota and such?

In my discussions with the breeders at the U of S, there really needs to be someone or some organization to import the new cherries into quarantine in the U.S. This is a costly and time consuming process.

Also are the top six annual bearing? Standard size etc?

Yes, they are annual bearers, and they are dwarf size up to about 8' high; no need for dwarfing rootstocks. They generally bloom a little before the apples and pears, and ripen in August here.

All six have very similar female parents, which are superior mongolian cherry hybrids that have over 40 years of breeding history.

Only 1 of the 6 have been named, SK Carmine Jewel, which it's pollen parent is the U of MN release Northstar. Although the quality is not as high as the other 5, it is very dwarfing (6') and very early ripening, in the middle of July up here in Saskatchewan. It has a very small, round pit, about as big as a Nanking cherry pit, so it has an excellent fruit to pit ratio. Fruit size is around 3-4 grams, where I believe Northstar is around 4-5g. Like Northstar, it can hang on the tree for a couple of weeks, getting darker and sweeter with time. I have used it for a dwarfing rootstock for sweet cherries and after two years, show no signs of incompatibility.

The other 5 have not been named as they are still in a "semi state" of testing. They are available to be purchased by growers in groups of 5. There have been names floating around such as "big momma" and "sweetie", and even a nursery up here has given them their own names such as "Bob" and "Rick". Let me assure you that these are not going to be the final names. The only reason that they are in this "semi-released" state is because of the excitement surrounding their high quality and cold hardiness. In normal breeding circles, they would probably be tested for a couple more years in different areas of the province. This year will be an excellent test of hardiness however, as the U of S reached -49F in January, so if all survive without incident, we can feel fairly comfortable; but hardiness is a much more complicated system than just temperature. I am growing all 6 and we reached -43.6F, so I will have a good test of hardiness as well. I would say that most, if not all growers in the U.S. should have no hardiness problems at all, but again that would need to be tested.

This type of breeding success and other people's stories like Jim Walla with his peaches, and Elmer Swenson with his grapes is what drives me in my own breeding goals of Sweet cherries, apricots, pears, and peaches. There is proof it can be done, it just may take a few decades to fulfill and many hardships to overcome (grasshoppers agghhh!). Good thing I'm relatively young!

Dean Kreutzer
Regina, Saskatchewan Canada
USDA zone 3

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