Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Nanking Cherries

The nanking cherry is both ornamental and edible.  It is beautiful and provides small bright red cherries that are great in pies, jams, syrups, and jellies.

The nanking cherry also know as the Manchu cherry, can be a twiggy shrub or pruned as a small tree.  It is useful in windbreaks and edible landscapes.

Very easy to grow, the nanking cherry is very hardy.  It is both cold tolerant Zone 2 and heat tolerant.  It tolerates winds and dryness.  If grown as a shrub it will be from 6-10 feet wide and tall.  It can be pruned into a small tree but does sucker a lot.

The white powder is kaolin clay or Surround that acts as a insect deterrent and is used in organic orchards

The fruit ripens in early summer here in zone 5.  It is densely packed on the branches and a beautiful bright red. It lacks a stem like pie or sweet cherries and grows along the lateral branches.  The fruit is marble sized so it is best used juiced and used in jellies and syrups.  Juicing is easy just wash and add a small amount of water to the bottom of a pot.  Simmer, mashing the cherries with a potato masher on occasion.  Then strain through a jelly bag and use in jelly or syrup.

This little ruby red fruit is so easy to harvest because it is so densely packed.  Just hold a bucket under the branch.   Birds love this cherry so make sure beat them to the harvest.  You can eat them fresh if you like a tart tangy cherry.  I prefer to use them in jellies and syrups.

They can have problems with aphids so be sure to use a dormant oil and then monitor for aphids. If aphids become a problem spray with Neem oil and a product with spinosad before the leaves begin to curl.

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