Cherry-bird cherry hybrids did not appear by themselves, by random pollination, but by the work of the golden hands and inquisitive mind of Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin, who crossed the steppe cherry (Prunus fruticosa syn. Cerasus fruticosa) cultivar Ideal and Japanese bird cherry Maaka (Prunus maackii, syn. Padus maackii).
It was in this combination that viable plants were obtained. Pollination was of two types. In the initial version, Michurin applied bird cherry pollen to the cherry pistil, therefore, the cherry was the mother plant here, so the resulting plant was named cerapadus(Cerapadus). And in the second case, Michurin applied cherry pollen to the bird cherry pistil and, since the mother plant here was already bird cherry, he called the resulting plants padocerus(Padocerus).
Characteristics of cherry-bird cherry hybrids
These hybrids turned out to be not particularly in demand, the reason was commonplace - the plants did not combine all the characteristics characteristic of mother crops. So, for example, they had rather strong roots, were resistant to frost, were not afraid of coccomycosis, did not have the gum flow characteristic of cherries, did not undergo a number of other diseases, and had the shape of a brush bearing from a couple to three pairs of fruits. However, these very fruits turned out to be a stumbling block: the taste was, we can safely say, unpleasant, it was characterized as cinchona-bitter, and Michurin himself called it bitter almonds with a strong smell of hydrocyanic acid.
Cerapadus had about twice as many fruits, but their sizes were very modest, and Michurin recommended using such plants only as a rootstock for sweet cherries, plums and cherries.
But Michurin did not give up hope, and he managed to get a cultivar Cerapadus Sweet, he had fruits very pleasant to taste, large and black, rather strong roots and good frost resistance.
In addition, the cultivar played the role of just an ideal rootstock for cherries and cherries, significantly increasing their winter hardiness. Thus, Cerapadus allowed both cultures to take a wide step towards the northern borders of the country.
Later, other varieties of Cerapadus appeared, and a little later, varieties of Padocerus.
The most famous varieties of cerapadus are:
- Novella - This is a 3-meter tree with powerful roots, self-fertile and high winter hardiness, with large, black fruits, with a characteristic shine;
- Rusinka - rather, a bush that does not exceed a height of 2 m, which also has self-fertility and resistance to frost, forms medium-weight fruits of blue-black color and sweet-sour taste;
- In memory of Lewandowski - also more a bush than a tree, which necessarily needs a pollinator (for which you can plant varieties of cherries Lyubskaya or Turgenevka), the fruits of the variety are sweet and sour, medium.
Padocerus fruits are tastier, their varieties:
- Firebird - fruits are medium, dark coral, sweet, but there is astringency from bird cherry, yields are annual, frost resistance is average;
- Crown - the fruit gives a pleasant taste, although the sourness is felt, the yield is regular, the plant almost does not get sick;
- Long awaited - has strong roots, has a sparse oval crown and forms very tasty fruits of dark cherry color with tender, juicy, dark pulp and rather dense skin. It bears fruit every year and gives a good harvest, the stone is perfectly separated from the pulp.
How to grow cherry-bird cherry hybrids
To begin with, we advise you to purchase such plants only in specialized nurseries, because in the market or from a private nursery breeder you can be sold anything. You can start planting cherry-bird cherry hybrids in September or April.
Plants have powerful roots, therefore they are especially undemanding to the soil, the main thing is that it is moderately fertile and neutral.
When planting cherry-bird cherry hybrids, try to find an open and well-lit area, however, if on the north side it is protected by a house wall or a fence, it will be fine. As for the planting scheme, you need to leave three meters of free soil between plants of other species, and if you plant several rows, then make the row spacing 3.5 meters wide.
Planting holes are usually prepared large, because the roots are powerful. It is better to dig them after buying a seedling, making a hole such that there is enough space for the roots both in width and depth and they are located in the hole without creases and bends. At the bottom of the hole, pour a couple of centimeters of expanded clay for drainage and put a bucket of a nutrient mixture of humus, river sand and fertile soil in equal proportions. Lower the roots, straighten, sprinkle with soil, compact, then pour a bucket of water and mulch with a layer of humus a couple of centimeters.
Do not forget about buying a pollinator variety if the desired cultivar is not self-fertile.
In the first couple of years after planting, plants develop, as a rule, slowly, there is nothing to worry about, this is their biological feature. You will have to periodically water the soil, preventing it from drying out, loosen it, fight weeds and carry out three top dressing per season.
The first is best done in early spring, adding nitroammofoska under a tree, after loosening and watering the soil. The second - during flowering, 10-12 g of potassium sulfate and 8-10 g of superphosphate, the third - after harvest, covering the near-trunk strip with wood ash (350-400 g for each plant).
After two years of adaptation, cherry-bird cherry hybrids begin to grow actively and the dose of fertilizers can be increased by a third, but no more.
Of the maintenance work, in addition to watering and fertilizing, one can name the removal of root shoots, which sometimes happens to be quite a lot, and sanitary pruning with the removal of dry shoots, broken ones and those that grow deeper into the crown, leading to its thickening.
Many are afraid to grow cherry-bird cherry hybrids next to apple trees, but this is in vain. On the contrary, they are not competitors, and cherry-bird cherry hybrids can even protect the apple tree from a number of pests, and the excretion of the roots strengthen the apple tree's immunity.
The fruits of cherry-bird cherry hybrids always ripen before the onset of cold weather, so there are no problems with collecting, they can be eaten fresh and used for a number of processing with the obligatory extraction of the stone.
In general, cherry-bird cherry hybrids deserve attention and can be planted in the plots of both amateurs and professional gardeners.
Photo by the author