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Black Tartarian CherryPrunus avium

  • Black Tartarian Cherry - Prunus avium
  • Black Tartarian Cherry - Prunus avium
  • Black Tartarian Cherry - Prunus avium
A very popular species of sweet cherry, the black Tartarian makes a great choice for home orchards. It produces large, purplish-black fruit with a sweet, rich, full-bodied flavor that is great for fresh eating and preserves. This cultivar is also the best pollinator for other dark sweet cherries.

If you’re looking to start or add to your orchard, the black Tartarian cherry may be a good option.

Hardiness Zones

The black tartarian cherry can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–8. View Map

Tree Type

Mature Size

The standard black Tartarian cherry typically grows to a height of about 30' and a spread about 30' at maturity. The dwarf variety grows to a height of 12–15' with a spread of about 12–15'.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The black Tartarian cherry prefers light, sandy soil but grows in moist, well-drained soil. It is not drought-tolerant.

Attributes

This tree:
  • Produces heart-shaped fruit about 1" in diameter that are usually purplish black (occasionally red, depending on site). The flesh is dark red, thick, tender, juicy and sweet with a smooth stone that separates easily--ideal for fresh eating and preserves.
  • Yields uniformly ripe fruit from mid-June to early July, depending on location. Cherries should be left on the tree until mature.
  • Begins to bear fruit 3–4 years after planting and will bear long into old age. Eventually, one tree may produce up to 3–4 bushels of cherries.
  • Blooms early, with clusters of white flowers.
  • Is available in standard and dwarf sizes. Our standard black Tartarian seedlings are budded onto Prunus avium mazzard or sweet cherry, and our dwarf seedlings are grafted to Prunus besseyi (sand cherry).
  • Needs regular watering through dry periods.
  • Requires cross-pollination with a compatible variety that blooms at the same time and is growing within 100' for standard trees, within 20' for dwarf trees. We suggest Black Republican, Sam, Bing, Schmidt, Cavalier, Stella, Gold, Van, Heidelfingen, Vega, Montmorency, Vista, Ranier and Windsor.
  • Is the best pollinator for other dark, sweet cherries.
  • Has a chill hours (CU) requirement of 700–800. (Chill hours are the average hours of air temperature between 32° and 45° F in a typical winter season.)
  • Features simple leaves that are often obvate with a sharp tip, are a waxy dark green color, measure 5½" long and have sharp teeth on the margin.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape

Wildlife Value

The cherries are eaten by a variety of birds and mammals. The leaves and branches are browsed.

History/Lore

This species was brought from Russia to England in 1794 by Hugh Ronalds and named Ronald's Large Black Heart. It came to the United States in the early 1800s and has been popular ever since.