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Cherry, Early Richmond Prunus cerasus

Cherry, Early Richmond - Prunus cerasus

Bright red, juicy, sour cherry that ripens early. Heavy yields. (Self-pollinating) (zones 4–8)

Pricing Information

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Zones 4 - 8 Zones 4 - 8
Hardiness Zones 4 - 8
The Early Richmond Cherry can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the zone map. View Map
Fruit Tree Fruit Tree
Type of tree
Fruit Trees
15' - 18' High 15' - 18' High
Mature Height
The Early Richmond Cherry grows to be 15' - 18' feet in height.
10' - 20' Spread 10' - 20' Spread
Mature Spread
The Early Richmond Cherry has a spread of about 10' - 20' at full maturity.
Medium Growth Medium Growth
Growth Rate
This tree grows at a medium growth rate. More about this.
Full Sun Full Sun
This cherry does well in full sun.
Various Soils Various Soils

This tree prefers well drained, sandy, loam soil.

Rounded Shape Rounded Shape
This cherry has rounded shape.

Early Richmond is a hardy, heavily producing tree with that ripens a week earlier than other pie cherries. The flavorful, tart, juicy cherries are used for pies and preserves. Our standard Early Richmond seedlings are budded to Prunus mahalb, while our dwarf seedlings grafted to Prunus besseyi (Sand Cherry).

Chill hours (CU) requirement: 700. (Chill hours are the average hours of air temperature between 32 and 45 degrees F in a typical winter season). For best fruit production, calculate the chill unit (CU) for your growing zone to be sure it aligns with the CU requirement of this tree.


A strong, upright, compact sour cherry tree. Spring white flowers are borne on long pedicels in clusters of 2–4. Sour cherries are less prone to frost, because they are the latest blooming of the stone fruits. The leathery leaves are dark green on top, pale green beneath. It is self fertile and bears without a pollinator in late June. Fruiting begins earlier for sour cherry trees and their productive life is shorter than sweet. A standard cherry tree will produce fruit in 3–5 years. Sour cherries are hardier in cold climates, resistant to drought, and more tolerant of humid rainy conditions than sweet. Prune in late winter or early spring. They are pruned more than sweet cherry trees to stimulate new shoot production. Selective limb thinning may be necessary to maintain adequate light and spur development inside the trees.

Wildlife Value

The fruit is eaten by many varieties of birds and mammals. The foliage is browsed. Flocks of birds are the greatest threat to the trees. They will eat the cherries at the first sign of ripeness. Nylon or cheesecloth netting draped over the trees as the fruits begin to ripen is an effective deterrent. This technique can be very practical if the trees are kept to a reasonable height by pruning.


The origin is unknown, but it was planted in England in the early 1500s. It was brought to the United States with the English settlers. The term tart or pie cherry is preferred over sour since this connotes bad flavor.

Height Variations

The standard grows to 18', and dwarf grows to 8' in height.

Spread Variations

Standard spread grows to 30' and dwarf grows to a 12'-15' spread.


This tree requires moist, well drained soil and has some resistance to drought.


Simple, alternate, elliptic with acute tips, double teeth on margins, smooth and dark green on top, about 3" long. Smaller than sweet cherries.

Flower Color


Bloom Time


Fruit Description

Bright red medium sized juicy fruit with a thin, light red skin. A generally smooth pit encloses a single seed.