mazzard cherry flowers

Craig’s Crimson Cherry Planting, Care, & Harvesting Guide.

Welcome to the world of cherry tree cultivation! In this article, we will delve into the fascinating realm of growing Craig’s Crimson Cherry trees, a delightful variety known for its vibrant red fruit and exceptional flavor. Whether you are an experienced gardener or a novice enthusiast, this comprehensive guide will equip you with all the necessary knowledge and techniques to successfully cultivate and care for your very own Craig’s Crimson Cherry tree.

From selecting the ideal planting location to understanding the tree’s specific requirements, we will explore every aspect of this remarkable fruit-bearing tree, ensuring that you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of these delectable cherries for years to come. So, let’s embark on this horticultural journey and discover the secrets to growing Craig’s Crimson Cherry trees with confidence and expertise.

What is Craig’s Crimson Cherry?

Craig’s Crimson Cherry is a popular variety of cherry tree known for its stunning deep red fruit. It is a self-pollinating tree, meaning it does not require another cherry tree for cross-pollination. The fruit is medium-sized, firm, and has a sweet-tart flavor that is perfect for eating fresh or using in various culinary applications.

The tree itself is vigorous and has an upright growth habit, reaching a height of about 15-20 feet. It is also known for its beautiful spring blossoms, which are white and attract pollinators. Craig’s Crimson Cherry is a great choice for home gardeners looking to add a delicious and visually appealing cherry tree to their landscape.

What does Craig’s Crimson Cherry taste like?

Craig’s Crimson Cherry is known for its exceptional flavor profile. The cherries have a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness, creating a delightful taste experience. The initial burst of sweetness is followed by a subtle tanginess that adds depth to the flavor. The fruit has a rich and complex taste, with notes of cherry and hints of plum and raspberry. Its juiciness and succulent texture make it a pleasure to eat. The flavor of Craig’s Crimson Cherry is often described as intense and vibrant, making it a favorite among cherry enthusiasts.

How to start Craig’s Crimson Cherry from seed

Starting Craig’s Crimson Cherry from seed can be a bit challenging as cherry trees typically do not come true from seed. However, if you are determined to try, here is a guide to help you get started:

  1. Seed Selection: Obtain fresh seeds from a reliable source or collect them from a mature Craig’s Crimson Cherry tree. Keep in mind that the resulting tree may not have the exact characteristics of the parent tree.
  2. Stratification: Cherry seeds require a period of cold stratification to break dormancy and improve germination rates. Place the seeds in a damp paper towel or sphagnum moss and seal them in a plastic bag. Keep the bag in the refrigerator for about 10-12 weeks. Check regularly to ensure the medium remains moist but not wet.
  3. Germination: After the stratification period, sow the seeds in individual pots or seed trays filled with well-draining potting soil. Plant the seeds about 1 inch deep and cover them lightly with soil. Water gently to ensure the soil is evenly moist.
  4. Temperature and Light: Place the pots or trays in a warm location with temperatures around 70-75°F (21-24°C). Provide bright indirect light or use fluorescent grow lights to ensure proper seedling development.
  5. Watering and Care: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot. Mist the seedlings regularly to maintain humidity levels.
  6. Transplanting: Once the seedlings have developed a few sets of true leaves and are strong enough to handle, transplant them into larger pots or containers. Use a well-draining soil mix and ensure each seedling has enough space to grow.
  7. Hardening Off: When the weather warms up and there is no longer a risk of frost, gradually acclimate the seedlings to outdoor conditions. Start by placing them in a sheltered location for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the time over a week or two.
  8. Planting in the Ground: Select a sunny location with well-draining soil for planting your Craig’s Crimson Cherry tree. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the seedling. Place the tree in the hole, ensuring that the graft union (if present) is above the soil level. Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots. Water thoroughly after planting.
  9. Care and Maintenance: Provide regular watering, especially during dry periods, to establish the tree. Mulch around the base of the tree to conserve moisture and suppress weed growth. Prune the tree as needed to maintain its shape and remove any dead or diseased branches.

Keep in mind that growing cherry trees from seed can be a lengthy process, and the resulting tree may not exhibit the same characteristics as the parent tree. For more reliable results and to ensure you get a true Craig’s Crimson Cherry tree, it is recommended to obtain a grafted tree from a reputable nursery.

When to plant Craig’s Crimson Cherry outdoors

The ideal time to plant Craig’s Crimson Cherry tree is in the early spring, after the last frost has passed and the soil has started to warm up. This typically falls between March and April, depending on your specific location. Planting during this time allows the tree to establish its roots before the hot summer months, which promotes healthy growth and fruit production.

Growing & care guide

Caring for Craig’s Crimson Cherry trees requires attention to several key aspects, including proper planting, watering, fertilizing, pruning, and pest control. Here are some best practices to ensure the health and productivity of your cherry tree:

  • Choose a location with full sun exposure and well-draining soil. Cherry trees prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8.
  • Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the tree’s root system. Ensure that the graft union (the swollen area where the tree was grafted onto the rootstock) is above the soil line.
  • Backfill the hole with a mixture of native soil and organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil fertility and drainage.
  • Water the newly planted tree thoroughly and apply a layer of mulch around the base to conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.
  • Provide regular and consistent watering, especially during dry spells. Cherry trees require about 1-2 inches of water per week, either from rainfall or supplemental irrigation.
  • Water deeply, ensuring the moisture reaches the root zone. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot and other diseases. Monitor the soil moisture level and adjust watering accordingly.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 formulation, in early spring before new growth begins. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application rates.
  • Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization, as it can promote excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production.
  • Consider conducting a soil test to determine specific nutrient deficiencies and adjust fertilization accordingly.
  • Prune your Craig’s Crimson Cherry tree during the dormant season, typically in late winter or early spring before bud break. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches.
  • Thin out crowded branches to improve air circulation and sunlight penetration, which helps prevent diseases and promotes fruit development.
  • Maintain an open center or modified central leader shape to allow sunlight to reach the inner branches.
  • Avoid heavy pruning during the growing season, as it can stress the tree and reduce fruit production.
  • Monitor your cherry tree regularly for signs of pests, such as aphids, cherry fruit flies, or cherry leaf spot.
  • Use organic or chemical insecticides as necessary, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Consider using integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, such as introducing beneficial insects or using pheromone traps, to control pests.
  • Practice good sanitation by removing fallen leaves and fruit, as they can harbor pests and diseases.

Remember, each cherry tree is unique, and specific care requirements may vary. Regular observation and adjustment of care practices based on the tree’s response will help ensure its overall health and productivity.

Harvesting guide

Craig’s Crimson Cherry is a popular variety of cherry tree known for its deep red, juicy, and sweet fruit. To ensure the best flavor and quality, it’s important to harvest the cherries at the right time and using proper techniques. Here’s a guide on when and how to harvest Craig’s Crimson Cherries:

  1. Timing: The timing of cherry harvest is crucial. Craig’s Crimson Cherries are typically ready for harvest in late spring or early summer, depending on your specific climate and location. The cherries should be fully ripe, which means they have reached their maximum size, developed their characteristic deep red color, and have a slightly soft texture.
  2. Color and firmness: Before harvesting, inspect the cherries for their color and firmness. Craig’s Crimson Cherries should have a rich, dark red color, indicating their maturity. Gently squeeze a few cherries to check their firmness. They should be slightly soft but not mushy.
  3. Taste test: To ensure optimal sweetness and flavor, it’s always a good idea to taste a few cherries before harvesting the entire crop. If they are sweet, juicy, and have a well-developed cherry flavor, it’s a sign that they are ready for harvest.
  4. Harvesting technique: To harvest Craig’s Crimson Cherries, use a pair of sharp pruning shears or scissors. Carefully cut the cherries from the tree, leaving a short stem attached to each fruit. Avoid pulling or twisting the cherries, as this can damage the tree or cause the cherries to split.
  5. Harvesting process: Start by harvesting the cherries from the lower branches and work your way up. This will prevent any damage to the cherries that could occur from dropping them onto lower branches. Place the harvested cherries gently into a clean, shallow container or basket to avoid bruising.
  6. Storage: If you’re not consuming the cherries immediately, store them in a cool place, ideally in the refrigerator. Craig’s Crimson Cherries can stay fresh for up to a week when properly stored. Avoid washing the cherries until you’re ready to eat them, as excess moisture can cause them to spoil faster.

Remember, cherry trees can produce a large number of cherries, so it’s essential to monitor the tree regularly during the ripening period to ensure you harvest the cherries at their peak. Enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor!

Cody Medina
Small Scale Farmer
Hi there! I'm Cody, a staff writer here at The Garden Magazine and a small-scale farmer living in Oregon. I've been gardening most of my life and now live on a quarter-acre farmstead with chickens, ducks, and a big garden.