|Evans Cherry (Prunus sp.)|
Cherry trees produce a fruit that is either sweet (like the well known Bing) or sour (aka pie cherry). Sweet cherries can be grown only as far north as Zone 5 and are not an option for northern gardeners. Sour cherries are more tolerant and have long been known to grow in Zone 4, but the re-discovery of the Evan's Cherry brought cherry cultivation into Zone 3 and maybe even Zone 2!
The Evan's Cherry was re-discovered by a University of Saskatchewan horticulturist (Dr Evans) in the 1970's on a farm near Edmonton Alberta (Canada). He found that the tree would readily propagate and was a tolerant, durable tree. Initially the nursery market resisted the idea that cherry trees could survive in the northern prairies, but Evans was persistent and the tree now has a wide market in both the US and Canada. In the US, the Evans Cherry is often marketed as the Bahli or Bahli Evans Cherry and grafted onto a non-suckering root stock.
The Evans Cherry is self pollinating and produces an approximately one inch diameter, red skinned and yellow fleshed fruit mid - late summer. It is considered a sour cherry but can be fairly sweet if allowed to fully ripen on the tree. Considered a natural dwarf, the tree grows to about 15 feet tall. Annual growth can be very vigorous under the right conditions, with the tree putting on 3 or 4 feet of new growth in one season. Winter dormancy is stimulated by a dry period so it is important to not water the trees in the fall.
If you are interested in an Evans Cherry Pie recipe, check out my post from a couple of weeks ago. We thought it was delicious! :D