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  • From: Nathan Torgerson <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] U of S Cherries
  • Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 18:34:45 -0800 (PST)

Has there ever been a joint effort with Canadian and United States breeding programs?
It would seem that, if, for example, the U of Saskatchewan and the U of Minnesota transported experimental trees between each of their breeding programs, both countries would be able to benefit with by getting their trees through "quarantine" earlier. This would allow all of us in zone 5 and colder to buy the trees earlier, regardless of what side of the border we are on, which would start their royalty revenue sooner and fund more research.  Are the politics too complicated to attempt such a venture?  I'll gladly do my part by pestering the U of Minnesota if that's what it takes to get it rolling.

Dean Kreutzer <> wrote:
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

Dean Kreutzer
Regina, Saskatchewan Canada
USDA zone 3

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