Another cherry tree option for those looking for an early ripening cultivar during Bing season is the Sunburst cherry tree. Cherry ‘Sunburst’ matures in mid-season with large, sweet, dark-red to black fruit that resists splitting better than many other cultivars. Interested in growing Sunburst cherry trees? The following article contains information on how to grow a Sunburst cherry. Soon you can be harvesting Sunburst cherries of your very own.

About Sunburst Cherry Trees

Cherry ‘Sunburst’ trees were developed at the Summerland Research Station in Canada and introduced in 1965. They mature in mid-season, a day after Van cherries, and 11 days prior to LaPins. They are primarily sold in the United Kingdom and out of Australia. Sunburst is suitable for growing in containers. It is self-fertile, which means it does not need another cherry to set fruit, but it is also an excellent pollinator for other cultivars. It has a medium length stem and a softer texture than most other commercial cultivars, which makes it best consumed soon after picking. Sunburst is a consistently high yielder and is an excellent choice for areas where frost and cold temperatures result in poor pollination on other cherry cultivars. It requires 800 to 1,000 chill hours for best production.

How to Grow a Sunburst Cherry

The height of Sunburst cherry trees depends upon the rootstock but, generally, it will grow to around 11 feet (3.5 m.) in height at maturity, which is at seven years of age. It responds well to pruning if the grower wants to restrict the height to a more manageable 7 feet (2 m.). Select a site that is in full sun when growing Sunburst cherries. Plan to plant Sunburst in late fall to early winter. Plant the tree at the same depth as it was in the pot, making sure to keep the graft line above the soil. Spread 3 inches (8 cm.) of mulch in a 3 foot (1 m.) circle around the base of the tree, making sure to keep the mulch 6 inches (15 cm.) away from the tree’s trunk. The mulch will help retain moisture and retard weeds. Water the tree in well after planting. Keep the tree consistently watered for the first year and thereafter provide the tree with a good deep watering once a week during the growing season. Stake the tree for the first couple of years if it is on Colt rootstock. If it is grown on Gisela rootstock, the tree will need staking for the entirety of its life. The grower should begin harvesting Sunburst cherries in the second to third week of July for about a week.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.