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Cherry Tree

Cherry Delight:
Growing Cherry Trees in a Mediterranean Food Forest

Cherry trees (Prunus avium) from the Rosaceae family are a beloved fruit tree in many Mediterranean countries. Not only do they produce delicious, sweet cherries but they also have many other uses in a food forest, including providing shade and attracting pollinators.

The Cherry Tree - How to Use it…

Essbar

The fruit of the cherry tree is the most well-known edible part. The fruit is sweet and juicy and is often eaten fresh or used in cooking and baking. 

Medicinal

The leaves of the cherry tree have been used to make a tea that is said to help with gout and arthritis. The bark has also been used to make a tea that can be used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.

Other Uses

Cherry trees can provide shade, food, and beauty in a Mediterranean food forest. The wood of the cherry tree is strong and can be used for furniture and other wooden items. The tree can also provide a windbreak, erosion control. The leaves can also be used as animal fodder.

Growing Cherry Trees...

Appearance

Cherry trees are deciduous trees that can grow up to 15-20 meters tall. They have a rounded shape and dark green leaves. The flowers are white or pink and are very showy. The fruit is a red, black or yellow drupe.

Habitat

Cherry trees are native to Europe and Asia but can be grown in Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. They require well-drained soil and prefer full sun.

Needs

Cherry trees are hardy and can tolerate drought once established. They require regular water during the first 2 years of growth. Pruning is necessary to maintain shape and size. While cherry trees do not require regular fertilizer, it’s important to ensure that the soil is healthy and rich in organic matter. This can be achieved through adding compost or other organic matter to the soil and through incorporating companion plants that will improve soil health.

Pollination

Cherry trees are self-fertile, meaning that they do not require a second tree for pollination. However, planting more than one cherry tree will increase the yield. They are also visited by bees and other pollinators.

Propagation

Cherry trees can be propagated by seed, but the most common method is by grafting. Grafting is done in the winter, when the tree is dormant. They can also be propagated by hardwood or softwood cuttings.

Potential Problems

Cherry trees can be affected by pests and diseases such as black knot, powdery mildew, and cherry leaf spot. They can also be affected by pests such as aphids, scale, and caterpillars.

Cherry Tree - Companion Planting

Other Trees and Herbs

Companion plants for cherry trees include other stone fruit trees such as plums, peaches, apricots and almonds, as well as herbs like basil, oregano. These plants are also well-suited to a Mediterranean climate.

Nitrogen Fixing Plants

Nitrogen fixing trees such as black locust or honey locust will help improve soil fertility and also provide a source of firewood..

Pollinator-Attracting Plants

Pollinator-attracting plants like wildflowers, borage, or lavender will help increase the number of pollinators visiting the cherry trees and improve fruit production.

Pest-Deterrent Plants

Pest-deterrent plants like chamomile, marigolds, or nasturtiums can help repel harmful insects and protect the cherry trees.

Ground Covers

Ground covers like creeping thyme, creeping rosemary, or clover can help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weeds.

Interesting Facts About Cherry Trees:

  • The Romans believed that cherry trees had the power to ward off evil spirits.
  • The cherry blossom is a symbol of spring and renewal in many cultures, with festivals dedicated to celebrating the blooming of cherry trees.
  • The wood of cherry trees is highly prized for its beautiful color and grain, and is often used for furniture and other woodworking projects.

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Jonathan