This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
AT the June meeting of the Michigan State Pomological Society, Mr. H. S. Chubb read a paper on cherries, in which we find the following items of interest to Michigan fruit growers:
Of the twenty varieties of cherries mentioned in the appendix to the report of the Michigan State Pomological Society Of 1871, only four or fire have been proved profitable for market purposes in Western Michigan, so far as my observation and experience extend. While I would not recommend the extensive planting of varieties that have not been proved profitable, it is not amiss to have a few of the choice kinds for experiment. It is, however, with cherries as with strawberries and some other fruits; the strong acid varieties are most prolific, the surest bearers for market and domestic purposes, the most profitable.
The choice, sweet cherries, although very desirable as table fruit, are not, in my experience, a very sure crop, and being subject to the depredations of the birds are seldom profitable, while the acid varieties are regularly good bearers, and being almost free from the attacks of birds and boys, generally remain on the trees until gathered. When thoroughly ripe they are of a very rich flavor.
The Early Purple Guigne appears to have become the variety in the southern portion of the Michigan fruit region, and its regular bearing and its good flavor render it an excellent and profitable variety. Of the sweet cherries, I presume it is the best that can be cultivated profitably in this region of the State, so far as ascertained.
The Early White Heart is a small sweet cherry, valuable for its earliness, but not desirable for extensive planting on account of its smallness.
Kirtland's Morello is a short-stalked variety, but I have failed to discover any superiority in it over the common Morello. In fact I did not find it a sure bearer. One objection to it is the smallness of its leaves, a serious defect in a climate subject to early scorching sun. The fruit forms before the leaves protect it and the sun scorches the fruit, stunting its growth and causing a loss of a large portion of the crop. One advantage of the Morello cherry over all others, I think, is its adaptability to a northern aspect. It will flourish in almost perpetual shade, and can be planted on the north side of a wall, house or barn with decided advantage.
Mr. F. R. Elliott, of Cleveland, in the report of the Department of Agriculture 'for 1867, describes several varieties of cherries not mentioned in the list of our society just referred to. Of these the Kirtland just mentioned is one, and the Archduke, another. The latter he describes as the best of the Duke cherries. I presume the late Duke mentioned in the society's list, may be the same variety, but Mr. Elliott claims that is incorrect, and it bears early in July, and cannot be called a late variety. The Archduke is described as "large, round, heart-shaped, compressed, dark, shining red; stem, long and slender; flesh light red, slightly adhering to the pit; tree vigorous, healthy upright grower, with long, broad, oval, dark, rich green foliage, slightly serrated, and the petioles a little bronzed. In sections where the more tender class of sweet cherries fails to succeed, this variety supplies a want and offers superior claims to cultivation. The true variety is somewhat rare, as the common Late Duke is often sold for it." From this description I think the Archduke would be a very desirable variety for this region of country.
Its dense foliage would aid very much in securing the perfection of the fruit in our usually dry June season.
The Ohio Beauty is another variety spoken of by Mr. Elliott, not mentioned in the society's lists. It is described as 'large, round, obtuse, heart-shaped; suture, slight; color yellow light ground, mostly overspread and somewhat marbled with dark rich and pale reds; stem rather long and slender, and set in a deep open basin; flesh yellowish white, tender, juicy, delicate, sweet, with a rich, fine sprightly flavor, pit small, oval; season, last of June. Tree healthy, hardy, vigorous, rather a short jointed grower, forming a round, open-headed tree, comes very early into bearing and produces abundantly. Originated by Mr. V. P. Kirtland, of Ohio, in 1843." Mr. Elliott states that as far as he could learn, it has proved superior to the claim made for it by its originator. In no place that he could learn of, has it ever shown any sign of disease, and it is reported as being grown successfully where the Black Tartarian and Elton have failed. I should judge from the description that the Ohio Beauty would be a valuable acquisition to the varieties of the Michigan Lake Shore region, and recommend its trial.
It is so large that it would, as a light colored cherry, be greatly preferred to the White Heart, and its leaf, although not so large as desirable, is perhaps sufficiently large for all necessary protection.
The light sandy soil of our Lake Shore region appears to be peculiarly adapted to the cherry tree, and the cool climate of the Lake Shore is peculiarly a cherry atmosphere. I should prefer shade and protection from too much sun as a general thing for producing perfect cherries, as the slower in arriving at maturity the larger and better is the fruit.
The planting, pruning and cultivation of the cherry differ but little from those of the peach, and no special directions are needed to a society composed of peach-growers. The cherry is so much at home in Michigan that nothing but ordinary care and culture are necessary, and no tree perhaps suffers so little from neglect as the cherry. It will grow on the roadside, on the lawn surrounded by grass, or anywhere where an ordinary maple tree will grow, and thrive as well.