Columnar cherry Delight belongs to the group of dwarf plants. This variety was bred by Dutch breeders quite recently, in 2015, and in a very short period of time has become quite popular not only among amateur gardeners, but also among owners of farms that grow cherries on an industrial scale. This happened due to the undoubted advantages of the Delight cherry variety - high yield, large and tasty berries, as well as due to the compact size of the tree, which is important for owners of small backyard plots.
When choosing fruit trees for your garden, you cannot be guided only by the taste of fruits and yield, you should carefully study all the characteristics of a particular variety, find out all the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the ability to grow a tree and get a harvest in the climatic conditions of your region. In this article, we will tell you in more detail about the Columnar Cherry Delight, perhaps this information will help you make the right decision.
Cherry Delight: variety description and characteristics
Columnar varieties, as a rule, take root quickly and adapt perfectly to the climate of the middle zone. The external difference between the columnar tree is that the berries do not grow on the branches of the tree, but on the main trunk on fruit cuttings. Due to this arrangement, the fruits receive nutrients faster and in greater volume, therefore, their taste is significantly sweeter and richer than that of ordinary cherries.
Like all columnar varieties, Delight cherry grows up to one and a half or two meters. It is due to its low growth and not very spreading crown (its diameter is usually no more than a meter) that it is recommended to grow it not only in open ground, but also in tubs or flowerpots (this method will not allow the tree to be insulated for the winter, but simply brought it indoors). The growth of the tree and the size of its crown make it easier to care for the tree and harvest.
The bloom of the columnar cherry variety Delight comes in May - the tree is covered with white and very fragrant flowers. Since the Delight cherry variety is only partially self-fertile, one or two more cherries should be planted nearby, which will be companion-pollinators and will bloom in the same period of time. As a companion for "Rapture", "Ashinsky hybrid" is perfect - it is also a fairly compact plant that does not take up much space and is characterized by a high yield.
The bright deep burgundy berries of Delight cherries are large in size. Juicy and sweet pulp is bright red, the stone separates well, when the stalk is torn off, a dry trace remains (this is important if you plan to store or transport the crop for some time). But overripe berries begin to crumble from the tree, so it is very important to harvest on time.
The variety of columnar cherry Delight is classified as mid-season - fruiting occurs in the second or third year after planting the seedling. As we have already said, the tree blooms in May (and withstands return frosts with dignity), and already in mid-July the harvest time begins. In a good summer, with the presence of pollinators and good care, up to thirty kilograms of berries can be harvested from a ten-year-old tree. Harvesting should be done in dry and sunny weather, putting the berries in pre-prepared boxes. In a cool room (cellar or basement), the harvested crop can be stored for up to a week.
From a culinary point of view, Delight cherries are versatile due to their large size and excellent dessert taste. They are used to prepare compotes, jams and preserves, fillings for pies and dumplings, dried or frozen for use in winter.
When planning to purchase Delight cherry for your garden, it is very important to remember that this plant is not winter-hardy. Therefore, if you are planting a tree not in a container, but in open ground, then take care of preparing the tree for winter. The surface of the trunk circle should be mulched, and the tree itself should be overlaid with spruce branches and wrapped in geotextiles.
It is also necessary to take care of cherries in dry summers - the roots of the tree are located close to the soil surface, therefore, in the absence of precipitation, the cherry must be watered regularly. You will need at least ten liters of water to water, and the frequency of watering depends on the weather and the rate of drying of the topsoil.
Cherry Delight: advantages and disadvantages
When making any decision, you weigh everything in advance, carefully examining all the pros and cons. This also applies to the purchase of seedlings - you should first carefully familiarize yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of each variety.
To the merits Columnar Cherry Delight can be attributed to the following qualities:
- High and stable yield.
- The small size of the tree, allowing it to be placed even in the smallest area.
- Decorative appearance.
- Unpretentious care.
- Excellent dessert taste of berries and their universal culinary purpose.
- Good immunity to most fungal diseases.
In addition to the advantages, you should pay attention to limitations cherry varieties Delight:
- Only partial self-fertility. Therefore, without pollinators, the yield will be half what it would be if there were such. That is, to achieve the result declared in the description of the variety, you will need to plant one or two more trees.
- Low drought tolerance and the need for regular watering.
- Low frost resistance and the need to insulate the tree for the winter.
If you think about it, then it is quite possible to put up with the shortcomings, since you will have to take care of the fruit trees in any case, and the taste qualities of the Delight cherry fruits are worth a little work.
Cherry Delight: planting varieties
You can praise the immunity of the tree and its high yield as much as you like, but if you chose low-quality planting material and did the wrong planting, then a good result is extremely unlikely.
Always purchase Delight cherry seedlings from trusted sellers with a good reputation, be it a garden center, nursery or private trader. Examine the plant carefully for rot, signs of drying, bark cracking, and make sure the root system is in good condition.
Like other fruit trees, cherry seedlings can be planted in the spring or fall. Still, autumn planting is more appropriate in the southern regions, but gardeners in the middle lane should give preference to spring planting. During the summer, the seedling takes root and adapts perfectly, and therefore will be better prepared for winter.
Choose a sunny place for your Delight cherries, preferably sheltered from the north wind. Make sure the groundwater is deep enough. Despite the fact that the columnar cherry Delight does not like drought, it (like all fruit trees) has an even more negative attitude to waterlogging. The soil at the planting site should be loose enough, it is good to let air and moisture pass through.
To plant a tree, prepare a hole, the depth and diameter of which will be about 60 cm. Lay a drainage layer at the bottom of the planting hole. As a drainage, you can use construction residues (fragments of bricks or gravel), or purchase expanded clay specifically for this purpose.Also, a pole can be installed in the bottom of the pit, which at first will serve as a support for the seedling, until it finally takes root.
Then mix fertile soil (topsoil) with compost and potassium-phosphorus fertilizers, pour some of the mixture into the hole and place the seedling on it, making sure that the root collar is located above the soil level. Fill the hole with the remnants of the nutrient mixture, compact the soil a little and water it abundantly. Attach the seedling to the support (loosely so as not to damage the bark), and mulch the surface of the trunk circle so that the moisture evaporates more slowly. If you are planting several trees at the same time, do not forget that despite their compact size, they need enough space and power, which means they need to be located at a distance of at least 2.5-3 meters from each other.
Cherry Delight: variety care
Columnar cherry Delight: photo of the variety
Cherry Delight is a rather unpretentious plant, but this does not mean at all that the tree does not need to be looked after.
We have already said that the roots of the Columnar Cherry Delight are located close to the soil surface, and therefore, in the absence of precipitation, the tree will not be able to receive moisture from the bowels of the earth.
At first, after planting, the seedlings are watered once a week, then once every two weeks. If the summer is hot and without rain, then return to weekly watering using at least one bucket of water (ten liters). After the cherry grows and gets stronger, follow the following watering schedule:
- The first watering is carried out during the flowering period.
- The second watering is carried out when the ovaries begin to form.
- The plant is then watered after harvest.
- And the last watering is carried out closer to the middle of autumn, but before the onset of "sub-zero" temperatures.
It is important to be flexible and adjust this schedule based on weather conditions and precipitation.
The first couple of years after planting the tree of the cherry variety Delight can not be fed, since it will have enough food from the planting pit. But then it is recommended to annually apply fertilizers containing nitrogen at the beginning of the season, and during flowering and after harvesting, it is necessary to feed the cherry with potassium-phosphorus fertilizers.
Another advantage of columnar varieties is that they do not require crown formation, therefore, annual pruning is exclusively sanitary or cosmetic in nature: damaged, broken or frozen twigs are removed. All procedures should be performed with sharpened garden tools, which are disinfected immediately before work is performed. Places of cuts must be immediately processed with garden varnish, which can be purchased in a store or prepared on your own.
We have already mentioned that the Columnar Cherry Rapture does not tolerate winter very well, so prepare the tree carefully for winter. After the last fall watering, cover the tree circle with a thick layer of dry fallen leaves, straw or compost. Follow the weather forecast and about 5-7 days before frost, overlay the tree trunk with spruce branches and wrap its crown with geotextile. In addition, under the spruce branches, you can wrap the tree trunk with a fine metal mesh, this precaution will protect the tree from rodents.
Diseases and harmful insects
Cherry Delight has good immunity and is resistant to fungal diseases. If we talk about infectious diseases, then you may encounter "perforated spot". This disease affects the buds, berries and young foliage. First, dark spots appear, then they dry and fall out, leaving holes in the leaf plate. Infection can be avoided by carrying out preventive treatments of the tree with colloidal sulfur or Bordeaux liquid (this must be done before flowering, and then after leaf fall).
Among the most common "cherry" pests are aphids and cherry weevils. If the tree is slightly damaged by pests, you can try to cope with them with the help of adhesive belts and spraying with infusions prepared according to folk recipes. But with a plentiful defeat, you still have to use insecticides, but you just need to do this either before flowering or after harvesting.
Considering that the Columnar cherry variety Delight was bred quite recently, you will not find a lot of gardener reviews on the Internet. But those few who have already harvested the first harvest and tried these large berries will confirm that they are really extremely sweet and tasty. Therefore, if you are looking for a suitable cherry variety for your garden, then you should take a closer look at the compact, unpretentious and high-yielding variety of Delight cherry. Yes, it has some drawbacks, but still, against the background of the advantages, they do not look very significant. By paying attention to the garden and caring for the fruit trees, you can harvest a good harvest every year and enjoy the taste of the wonderful berries.