How are the heights measured?
All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.
What is a gallon container?
Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.
How does the delivery process work?
All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!
Why are some states excluded from shipping?
The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.
The Montmorency Cherry Tree is a top-rated sour cherry, and an heirloom variety of renown. It has bright red cherries that make the world’s best pies, baked goods and preserves, and can also be cooked in syrup for terrific desserts. A tree to 15 feet or more, it can also be effectively grown as an espalier on a wall or tall fence. It has heavy crops of over 50 pounds per tree, and is much easier to grow in colder areas than sweet cherries are. The handsome mahogany bark and pure-white spring blossoms make it attractive in any flower garden.
- The best sour cherry for baking and preserves
- bright red cherries in abundance
- Harvest in June
- Can be grown even in zone 4
- Entirely self-pollinating
Hardy in zone 4, the Montmorency Cherry Tree grows best in colder areas. It thrives in most well-drained soils, growing best in richer, moist soils, including slightly alkaline ones. It is relatively free of pests and diseases and easy to grow. Some pruning in late winter will help it give the biggest crops and control its size. Entirely self-pollinating, and can be grown without any other cherry trees around it. However it won’t pollinate sweet cherries.
- Plant Hardiness Zones 4-7
- Mature Width 15-18
- Mature Height 15-18
- Soil Conditions Moist, Well-Drained Soil
- Sunlight Full Sun
- Drought Tolerance Moderate Drought Tolerance
Sweet cherries are lovely to eat fresh, but when it comes to baking and preserves, nothing beats sour cherries. Their tang and high acidity make for lively, tasty, baked goods, and sparkling jams. Although some people love them fresh, sour cherries are too tart for most of us, but cooks swear by them. They have other advantages too. Unlike most sweet cherries, which need a second, different variety as a pollinizer, to get a crop, sour cherries are self-fertile – just one tree gives you a full harvest. As well, they grow best in cooler places, and thrive even in zone 4, where sweet cherries won’t grow. When it comes to taste and quality, European foods are widely recognized as the way to go, so when choosing a sour cherry, the ‘Montmorency’ Cherry too is definitely a superb pick. Named after an area outside Paris, France, but widely grown commercially in Michigan, it has become America’s sour cherry of choice. The bright red fruits look very different from the dark red of most sweet cherries, and they are packed with flavor and goodness. Flowering late to escape spring frosts, and ripening early, if you love cherry pie and cherry preserves, you simply must have this tree in your yard.
Growing the Montmorency Cherry Tree
Size and Appearance
The Montmorency Cherry Tree is a deciduous tree that grows in 10 years or so to 15 feet or more, perhaps eventually topping 20 feet. It has a similar spread, so allow enough room for it to grow. In a smaller garden it can be grown as an espalier, on a wall or trellis, where it will take up almost no room at all. With beautiful mahogany-red bark embellished with horizontal bands in lighter brown, it is a handsome tree, and the glossy leaves make it even more so. These are about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, with serrated edges. They are dark green, turning orange, pink and red in fall.
Flowering is in late April or May, later than with many cherries, so the risk of damage from late frost is reduced. The white flowers open in pairs or larger clusters along the bare stems, along with the first leaves. A tree in bloom is attractive in the garden. The fruit develops and ripens rapidly, and by June or early July you will be picking cherries and making those delicious pies. This variety is fully self-fertile, and will carry a full crop all by itself. Unfortunately, despite what is often said on the internet, a sour cherry cannot pollinate a sweet cherry. The cherries are medium-sized, round to heart-shaped, with bright red skin when ripe. The flesh is paler, but also bright red. You can expect 50 to 100 pounds of fruit from a mature, full-sized tree.
Using the Montmorency Cherry Tree in Your Garden
With its glowing white flowers, beautiful brown-purple bark, and attractive foliage, you can certainly grow the Montmorency Cherry Tree in an ornamental garden. In smaller spaces it is ideal for growing on a wall, spread out as a fan, or as a horizontal espalier. This way it takes up almost no room, provides a fascinating, ever changing backdrop to your shrubs and flowers, and is very easy to pick, providing you with a substantial crop of fruit. It can also be grown among other trees along a boundary, or of course in a home fruit orchard.
Much more hardy than sweet cherries, the Montmorency Cherry Tree can even be grown in sheltered spots or on a sunny wall in zone 4. It grows well through zone 7, but not so well in hotter zones.
Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions
Full sun, or no more than a couple of hours of shade, is best for the Montmorency Cherry Tree. It grows best in richer garden soils that are neutral or acidic, and tolerates slightly alkaline soil too. The soil should be well-drained, but not too dry, although established trees will take some normal summer dryness after harvest.
Maintenance and Pruning
Compared to many other fruit trees, cherry trees are relatively free of pests or diseases, and generally easy to grow. Early pruning to develop an open structure, with short side branches, is important, and will also keep the tree shorter, and so easier to pick. In late winter remove a few older branches each year, to encourage vigorous new growth, and shorten back long side shoots. Birds like cherries, and you should use scarers or nets during the harvest period. This is very easy if your tree is growing on a wall or fence.
History and Origin of the Montmorency Cherry Tree
The sour cherry, Prunus cerasus, is native to most of Europe and to southwest Asia, in countries like Turkey and Iran. It has played an important part in local diets for centuries, used in everything from soups to meat stews and alcoholic beers, wines and spirits. It was even once preserved in salt as the original maraschino cherry. The variety called ‘Montmorency’ is named after an area in France about 10 miles outside Paris, where it was first grown on a nobleman’s estate as early as the 13th century. When the French first came to North America, in the areas called New France, they brought with them many of their food crops, and that is how this variety ended in Michigan, arriving with French settlers around 1760. It thrived in the climate there, and for a long time Michigan was a major producer, providing cherries for the whole country’s pies and jams.
Buying the Montmorency Cherry Tree at the Tree Center
If you like your cherries baked or in preserves, you must have a sour cherry for the best results. The Montmorency Cherry Tree is considered one of the very best, and will give you prize-winning pies. Even in a small garden you can grow it on a wall or fence, so enjoy the best, and order now, while our limited supply remains available.