Prunus avium ‘Bing’ is a beautiful tree that can be used as an ornamental rather than a fruit-producing tree, without the worry of having to put in the effort of raising a species to cross-pollinate.
How to Plant a Bing Cherry Tree
The biggest thing to remember when planting a Bing cherry tree is purpose. If you are planting for fruit production, you are planting two trees. You will need to research the needs and care for Bing cherry trees and the cross-pollinator. A great choice for a cross is the ‘Black Tartarian,’ but ‘Ranier’ and ‘Van’ are also good choices.
The cultivar is extremely susceptible to the climatic conditions it is planted in and does not transplant well at all. To achieve the best results, follow the few plant tips the Bing cherry listed below.
Selecting a Planting Site
To ensure your Bing cherry tree stays happy, healthy, alive, and producing as long as possible, you will want to spend a good amount of time reviewing the possible sites for planting your trees. Consider a spot with a neutral pH with sandy and well-draining soil that does not receive high winds. If it ever has or can be a location accumulating standing water, look elsewhere, as this will kill your tree quickly. Finally, look for a spot that receives six to eight hours of sunlight daily. Again, remember you are looking to plan for planting two distinctly different trees, so your Bing site must be compatible with the requirements of your chosen cross-pollinator.
Spacing, Depth, and Support
Planting the Bing cherry will be similar to planting other trees once you select a suitable location. The Bing cherry tree will require a hole twice as wide as the container or burlap ball. Planting shallower is always better than planting too deep. Backfill the hole with soil, tamp down, and properly place a stake to ensure your newly planted tree grows straight and can resist any winds while developing roots.
You must plant your cross-pollinator further than 100 feet away, but the closer, the better. In most home landscapes, 100 feet is not doable, so just outside the spread of the Bing cherry is perfect, 20-25 feet.
Bing Cherry Tree Care
Something so delicious will not come easily. Because of that, it takes a lot of effort to care for the Bing cherry tree; most of this comes from giving it the right conditions. If you follow these few steps, you will be moving in the right direction:
Provide your Bing cherry tree with full sun.
Plant Bing cherry trees only in climates with dry summers.
Water well in spring during blooming months.
Test your soil to determine if fertilizer is required.
The amount of sunlight you provide will help determine the yield you receive when you harvest your cherries and ensure your tree keeps its vigor. To guarantee the best chances of a plentiful harvest and a long life for your cherry tree, plant it in a place that receives full sun. Getting full sun will also guard it from cooler temperatures and allow it to dry off if it gets unexpectedly wet. The same benefit can be detrimental and make your tree get too hot.
A Bing cherry tree is not incredibly adaptable when it comes to soil conditions, especially in regard to moisture. The biggest concern you will need to consider is moisture retention. Your soil should be well draining but be able to hold some moisture. The ideal soil should be a neutral sandy soil, with some organics.
Bing cherry trees are complicated as they need ample water during the spring when they are preparing to bloom. However, as the fruit develops, abundant watering will harm the tree’s drupes and cause the delicate fruit’s skin to crack. This finicky temperament is why location and zone are so important.
Temperature and Humidity
Stressing that a Bing cherry tree’s health relies on climate cannot be overstated. Not only will the tree’s production be destroyed by wet weather at the wrong time, or a bad cold snap late in spring but a cold winter or extremely hot summer will kill the tree. Sticking to the USDA-recommended zones and imagining the climates of the Northwest will give you a good guide to help you consider if this is the right plant for you.
The Bing Cherry tree is an extremely slow feeder and does not usually require supplemental fertilizer. Supposing you want to boost production or blooms: you should first test your soil for deficiencies and see if there is a need. Adding a fertilizer formulated for cherry trees (usually meant for ornamental ones) may upset the perfect nutrient balance for producing fruit. Take a little time and do a home test so you can be sure you can enjoy as many of those delicious cherries as possible.
The Bing cherry does not self-pollinate so you will need to plant a pollinizer within 100 feet of your tree. Some good examples of cross-pollinators are Black Tartarian, Sam, Montmorency, Rainier, Stella, Garden Bing, and Van.
Types of Bing Cherry Trees
Prunus avium ‘Bing’ is a cultivar of the species Prunus avium. There are no other types of bing cherry trees, except for the dwarf form that is achieved by using a cherry rootstock that stunts the cultivar’s growth. This form is often used for ornamental horticultural purposes as it is considerably less hardy.
Harvesting Bing Cherries
Your first harvest will appear depending on the source of your tree, typically three to four years after planting. The Bing cherry produces ripe fruit ready to harvest upon maturity, every summer between June and the beginning of August. Once the fruit is picked, it no longer ripens, so it should be allowed to ripen fully on the tree.
Pruning the Bing Cherry Tree
Pruning of your Bing cherry tree should be done primarily for function. You’ll want to prune your cherry tree yearly in the early winter when the tree is dormant. Your main goal is to create a main leader and a pathway for easy harvest by giving the tree a uniform open canopy. You will want to remove all dead, dying, all damaged branches. The main objective is to create a tree that can get plenty of sun, airflow, and water in the spring and allow you to inspect and harvest the fruit when it is ready.
Propagating Bing Cherry Tree
Propagating the Bing cherry is not recommended for several reasons. Specimens bought at a nursery are specially grafted and can deliver fruit in as little as one to three years. A cutting taken from a mature plant will produce in three to four and will not be as hearty as it is not on proven rootstock selected for certain qualities.
Growing from seed will deliver unreliable results that are not genetically identical to the mother plant and may take up to ten years to produce fruit. The time and effort to propagate is not worth the results.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
The pests and diseases that harm the Bing cherry are often the same culprits that plague other plants in the genus Prunus. Cherry aphids, western cherry fruit flies, and the spider mite will bother the tree. These will not cause serious harm, except the western cherry fruit fly will make the harvest inedible through larval infection.
Diseases infecting the trees are similar but often more serious, especially root rot. The Bing cherry tree’s biggest downfall is standing water, resulting in root rot. Once rot sets in; the tree can not be salvaged, so much care needs to be put into the location and soil conditions ensuring the water retention and moisture conditions are just right.