High Density Tart Cherry Rootstock/Systems Trial

Project goal: To evaluate the performance of tart cherries grown on dwarfing and standard rootstocks and two pruning systems in a high-density planting.

Project description:  A high density tart cherry orchard was planted in spring 2010.  This planting has 65 trees on each of five rootstock genotypes: own-rooted Montmorency, Gisela 3, Gisela 5, Gisela 6, and Mahaleb.  The different rootstocks are in five-tree replications of 11 rows.  The spacing for the orchard is 4.9ft between the trees and 13ft between the rows. We have two training systems in the orchard:  central leader and bush.  In addition to evaluating the rootstocks and the training systems, we collected data on the amount of time to fill hedgerow space, time to reach mature yields, the precocity of initial yields as well as the annual yield and fruit size, the yield decline once hedgerow is filled, hedging/pruning vs. development/pruning, and fruit quality.  We are investigating the amount of water needed on these dwarfing rootstocks, and we are also fertigating the block.  Lastly, the trees are set up to accommodate testing different mechanical harvesting systems.  There is 22.75 ft. between each replication to ensure adequate maneuvering of diverse harvesters.

Results: High Density Tart Cherry Results 2019

Project lead/collaborators: Nikki Rothwell

Funding sources: Michigan Cherry Committee

Start year: 2010

End year: 2019