What Size of Fruit Tree Should I Plant?

Four years ago, in the summer of 2007, I planted a "Cupid" cherry in our backyard. It was quite small when we bought it, maybe in its second year of growth, and cost $20. It is now in full bloom, almost six feet tall, carefully pruned into a tree form, and we are hoping to finally get some cherries from it this year.

Last week, in the spring of 2011, my parents planted a "Romeo" cherry in their backyard. Their tree, when they purchased it, was in full bloom, almost six feet tall, pruned into a tree form, and it cost $99. Transplant shock might affect their harvest this year, but they will almost certainly get a full harvest next year.

So who got a better deal on their tree? I saved $79, but lost out on four years of harvesting cherries. These plants are supposed to produce, when mature, twenty to thirty pounds of cherries per year. If I had planted a mature tree, it probably would have produced around eighty pounds of cherries over those four years. Even if I only valued the cherries at a dollar per pound (which is probably unreasonably cheap), I probably would have had enough cherries to at least pay for the increased price tag on a larger tree, and likely more.

Now, when I bought my tree, it was a new release, and not available in tree form. I also didn't have a hundred dollars to spend, but I was planning on staying in the house where I planted it for at least another five years, so I felt that I had more time than money. But if I ever have to buy a cherry tree again, I will consider spending more for a more mature specimen. When I look at how much fruit I had to forfeit to save $79, it doesn't really look like I saved anything after all.


  1. Nice way to justify buying a bigger tree! I think I will use your logic on my husband and get that 7 year old $89 dollar apple tree after all.

  2. If you are only considering one or two of the new hybrid cherries, then I would go with the more mature and expensive 'trees'. Depending on soil and sun, small trees can do well, and if you plant Evans cherry, I think small will do, but for the new U Sask hybrids, I'd go with the larger trees.

    In 2005, I put in a Prunus 'Carmen Jewel' (fruticosa x cerasus) and still have not seen fruit (and few blooms - don't try to grow them in the shade). In 2008, I put in a Prunus x kerrasis 'Juliet' in a sunnier spot and had the first blooms and a couple fruit last year. Not many blooms this year, so at most a handful of fruit is expected. However, the Prunus x kerrasis 'Romeo' that I put in a sunny spot last year is covered in blooms at the moment, so perhaps we will get one dessert from it.

    In 2004, we put in 3 Evans Cherry (dwarf, non-suckering form) and one additional more robust tree in 2005. In 2008, I harvested 2.7 kg of Evans cherries, in 2009 27 kg, and last year I gave up trying to keep track.

  3. I was hoping for an updated picture (you should also link from this post to your other one on the cherry tree)


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