Royal Ann Cherry TreePrunus avium ‘Napoleon'
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Prunus avium ‘Napoleon'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Royal Ann Cherry Tree is a medium-sized tree that carries up to 50 pounds of delicious fruit each year. The sweet cherries are yellow and pink, with delicious flesh. This delicate variety is rarely available in stores, and it’s ideal for baking, canning and even for making maraschino cherries. In spring the tree has beautiful white blossoms on the bare stems, and bright fall colors of orange, red and pink. Grow it as a lawn tree, in a home orchard or save room by training it on a wall or fence.
Full sun is best for growing the Royal Ann Cherry Tree, and it does best in deep, rich soil that is not too dry, but is well-drained, not wet. Although some pests or diseases are possible, good culture will give a worthwhile crop with minimal effort. Some annual pruning is important during the early years to develop a good tree, but overall care is not great. Another sweet cherry variety is needed for a good crop of fruit to develop.
There are few simple pleasures as deliciously-simple as plucking a ripe cherry from a tree and popping it into your mouth- still warm from the sun. Doing this isn’t hard, it just takes you to decide to plant a couple of cherry trees. It makes lots of sense to choose a variety that is as useful as possible, giving you not only sweet eating cherries, but also ones for baking and even to make your own maraschino cherries (it’s easy). A superb variety of sweet cherry that will give you all that, right outside your door, is the Royal Ann Cherry Tree. This heirloom variety is of French origin, and like all things French it’s super delicious and perfect for home gardening. The cherries are yellow and pink, and deliciously sweet. They are fragile, so rarely available commercially, but they make gorgeous pies, desserts and preserves, so none of your harvest goes to waste. You haven’t tasted a great cherry until you bite into the juicy fruits of the Royal Ann Cherry Tree.
The Royal Ann Cherry Tree is a medium-sized deciduous tree with a central trunk and radiating branches. It is grown in roots that keep it smaller, so it grows between 14 and 18 feet tall and wide, so still relatively easy to harvest. It also makes a great dual-purpose shade tree, so you don’t need an orchard to grow your own cherries. The leaves are long ovals, around 5 inches long and 2½ inches wide, with serrated edges and a smooth, silky upper surface of dark green. The leaf stalks (petioles) are red. In fall the leaves turn handsome shades of orange, pink and red, making a decorative display in your garden.
In spring the tree flowers on the bare branches, with clusters of white flowers – another decorative highpoint for your garden. The flowers cannot self-pollinate – that is, you need a second, different variety of sweet cherry for your tree to set a crop. Maybe a neighbor already has one? If not, we recommend the varieties Van, Montmorency, Rainier, Stella, or Garden Bing – you only need one of these, which of course will also give you its cherries. Within 1 to 3 years you will be harvesting cherries, and within 8 years you can expect 50 pounds of fruit each summer.
This handsome tree, with its charming spring blossoms and fall colors, is a worthwhile decorative addition to any garden. With its fruit too it is super-valuable, and really worth planting. You will discover the pleasure and value of growing your own fruit and knowing exactly how it has been grown, and what treatments it has been given – keep your family safe and be in the know of what comes into your kitchen. If you don’t have a lot of room, consider growing your tree as an espalier, trained across a wall or spread out on a fence. You can also put up a simple framework and grow it spread out on that – a great garden feature and screen to give structure to your garden.
The Royal Ann Cherry Tree is hardy all the way from zone 5 into zone 8 – that’s across most of the country.
Grow the Royal Ann Cherry Tree in full sun for the best cropping and strongest growth. It will grow best in deep, rich soil that is well-drained but not too dry in summer. Avoid wet locations and shallow, sandy soils. This is not a difficult tree to grow and it will thrive in any average garden.
Although cherry trees can suffer from some pests or diseases, trees that have been cared for and treated correctly should have minimal problems. Some pruning is necessary for the best results. Do not prune in winter, as this can spread and encourage diseases. Prune in early to mid-summer, before hot weather comes and after most of the spring growth has happened. Begin with your young tree developing 3 or 4 main branches, radiating outwards and well-spaced apart, removing other branches. On young trees shorten back the shoots that grow from those branches by half, to develop a dense, branching crown that will bear a good crop. After a few years reduce pruning to removing any dead, damaged or over-crowded stems. Remove all buds or shoots that develop on the main trunk and branches, especially those that grow from low down, as these are the rootstock, not the tree you want.
The sweet cherry, Prunus avium, originally grew wild all over Europe and western Asia. It has been cultivated for centuries for its fruit, and many varieties have been developed. In France sweet cherries are called bigarreau, and a particular tree was recorded as being grown by a Baron Von Truchess in 1791, who had obtained it from Germany, from an arborist called Mr. Baars. Louis Parmentier, a Belgian botanist and rose-grower with a garden in Enghien, named it ‘Napoleon’ around 1820, in honor of the Emperor. 700 of these trees were brought to the Willamette Valley, Oregon in 1847, by Henderson Lewelling, to start a cherry orchard. When his brother Seth joined him in 1850, Seth renamed the tree ‘Royal Ann’, presumably after Queen Anne, the British Queen who died in 1714. Patriotism and hatred of the defeated Napoleon obviously played a part in the renaming – in the UK the tree is sometimes called ‘Wellington’ for the same reason. The official name remains ‘Napoleon’.
If you like cherries you are going to love the Royal Ann Cherry Tree. The sweet, delicious cherries are as good eaten fresh as they are in the kitchen, and these fragile fruits are rarely available in stores. Start growing your own fresh fruit with cherries, a relatively easy crop. Order your tree right now, as our stock is limited, and won’t last long.