Meet America’s most popular tart cherry for pies and preserves. The Montmorency cherry tree is a cold-hardy hybrid species that ripens early in the season. The medium-large, bright red fruit has a firm yellow flesh; clear juice; and a rich, tart flavor that bakers and jam makers love.
This tree is self-fertile, but planting two or more trees will ensure the best crop.
The montmorency cherry can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–7. View Map
The standard Montmorency cherry typically grows to a height of about 18' and a spread about 20' at maturity. The dwarf variety grows to a height of about 8' with a spread of about 10.
This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.
Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.
The Montmorency cherry prefers well-drained, sandy and loamy soil. It has some drought tolerance.
Produces bright red, medium-large fruit with firm yellow flesh; a rich, tart, tangy flavor; and clear juice--ideal for pies and preserves.
Is self-fertile, but planting 2 or more trees is recommended for a better crop.
Has a chill hours (CU) requirement of 700. (Chill hours are the average hours of air temperature between 32° and 45° F in a typical winter season.)
Features leathery, elliptic leaves with acute tips that are smooth and dark green on top, measure 3" long and are double-toothed on the margin.
Ripens in late June, just 2 months after the spring bloom.
Is a more dependable fruit producer than sweet cherries in cooler climates.
Grows in a rounded shape.
Should be staked (if dwarf variety) to ensure its ability to bear the weight of the fruit and protect against leaning.
Blooms late, with white flowers clustered on 2–4" long pedicels. Flowers appear on 1-year-old wood along with spurs.
Is available in standard and dwarf sizes. Our standard Montmorency seedlings are budded onto Prunus mahalb, and our dwarf seedlings are grafted to Prunus besseyi (sand cherry).
The fruit is eaten by many 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.
This cherry takes its name from the Montmorency Valley in France, where it was developed sometime before the 17th century. Its fame quickly spread to England. It has been cultivated under various names in the United States from at least the early 19th century. It accounts for 95% of all production of sour cherries.