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Bing CherryPrunus avium 'Bing'

  • Bing Cherry - Prunus avium
  • Bing Cherry Prunus avium
  • Bing Cherry Prunus avium
A large tree with a spreading canopy. Standard trees may reach up to 70' tall, but normally will be 20' -35' tall with equal spread. The foliage is dark green and smooth. The smooth, glossy, reddish bark is studded with short, horizontal, corky stripes. Fragrant, white flowers, 1-1 1/2" in diameter are borne in clusters of 2-5 on short, woody spurs. The large, heart-shaped fruit has firm, meaty, purple-red flesh with a semi-free stone. Bing cherry is especially sensitive to local site conditions. The best growth is in light, sandy soil that is well drained, but receives adequate rain or irrigation through dry periods. At least 6-8 hours of daily sunlight are needed. The fruit is somewhat susceptible to cracking. Sweet cherry culture is most successful in cooler, drier climates where the danger of late frost is limited, and rain does not fall during harvest. Plant early in the season, because leaf buds open early and the roots are slower than those in many trees to get established. Successful pollination is necessary for a good crop. This requires a compatible variety that blossoms at the same time as the Bing cherry. Suggested cultivars are Black Republican, Sam, Black Tartarian, Schmidt, Cavalier, Stella, Gold, Van, Heidelfingen, Vega, Montmorency, Vista, Ranier, and Windsor. Standard trees will produce fruit in 5-6 years, and a mature tree will provide up to 50-100 pounds of cherries per year. Dead, weak or unnecessary branches can be pruned annually in late winter or early spring. Otherwise, little or no pruning is needed. (zones 5-8)

Hardiness Zones

The bing cherry can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–8. View Map

Tree Type

Mature Size

The standard Bing cherry typically grows to a height of about 35' and a spread about 25' at maturity. The dwarf variety grows to a height of 12–15' with a spread of about 12–15'.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Bing cherry prefers well-drained, sandy soil. It is not drought-tolerant.

Attributes

This tree:
  • Produces large, heart-shaped fruit with a firm, meaty, purplish-red flesh and a semi-free stone--ideal for fresh eating and preserves.
  • Provides up to 50–100 lbs. of cherries per year when mature (standard tree).
  • Blooms in early spring, with clusters of white flowers that have a delightful fragrance.
  • Is available in standard and dwarf sizes. Our standard Bing seedlings are budded onto Prunus avium mazzard or sweet cherry, and our dwarf seedlings are grafted to Prunus besseyi (sand cherry).
  • Yields uniformly ripe fruit sometime in mid-June or mid-summer.
  • Needs regular watering through dry periods.
  • Requires cross-pollination with a compatible variety with the same bloom time that is growing within 100' for standard trees (20' for dwarf trees). We suggest Black Republican, Sam, Black Tartarian, Schmidt, Cavalier, Stella, Gold, Van, Heidelfingen, Vega, Montmorency, Vista, Ranier and Windsor.
  • Has a chill hours (CU) requirement of 700–800. (Chill hours are the average hours of air temperature between 32° and 45° F in a typical winter season.)
  • Begins to bear fruit in 5–6 years (standard tree).
  • Features simple leaves that are dark green, measure 3–6" long and have blunt teeth on the margin.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Develops smooth, glossy, reddish bark studded with short, horizontal, corky stripes.
  • Should be planted early in the season because leaf buds open early and the roots are slower to establish.

Wildlife Value

A variety of birds and mammals relish the cherries. The foliage is browsed.

History/Lore

The exact details of the Bing cherry's origin are not clear, but it was named in honor of a Chinese man named Ah Bing. He was a co-worker and nursery foreman for Seth Lewelling, the man who developed the Bing variety into America’s #1 cherry. Some believe that it was Bing who developed the new cultivar and should receive more credit. The first tree came from the seed of another new variety, Republican, in 1875. Today there are over 1000 varieties of sweet cherries, and Bing still tops the list both in popularity and production. It is the cherry against which all others are compared.