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ANSWERED on Mon 28 May 2007 - 9:57 pm UTC by Toby Lee Spiegel

Question: Cherry tree in Northern California

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 27 May 2007 22:31 UTCSun 27 May 2007 - 10:31 pm UTC 

How tall is a three-year-old cherry tree?  Assume a sunny location at an elevation well above sea level in northern California, in fertile but mountainous terrain near the coast.

Approximately how tall might the same tree be at nine years old?

When will it first bear fruit?

You may choose the variety of cherry.  I just want to know what it is.  It must have fruit that is sweet and very red.  Two such varieties that I know are Bing and Royal Anne.

When you've selected the variety, I want to know what color the blossoms are.

Thank you,


Toby Lee Spiegel 


 28 May 2007 16:01 UTCMon 28 May 2007 - 4:01 pm UTC 

Hi Tryx,

Last night I worked for a long time on your question, however I haven't posted an answer for the following reasons.

The area:  If you could narrow that down it would be extremely helpful because I'll need to search for Cherry Trees only in that USDA Zone Hardiness Map.  As you know, California is made up of many micro-climates within it's macro-climate.  Otherwise, just picking a kind of cherry tree isn't going to make sense due it not being able to grow there.

In addition, you specify sweet and very red.  There are varieties that range from fruit being light colored to almost black.  Red is in the middle range, such as you mentioned Bing. 

I asked 2 California residents who I know very well, where is there an area that is an elevation well above sea level in northern California, in fertile but mountainous terrain near the coast. 

What do you consider near the coast in miles?  30, 300? 
How far north?

I'm fairly certain I can answer your question regarding all the tree information.  I've worked on many gardening questions in the past. But the biggie is the area and matching up a tree for that area.

I look forward to your clarification.

Best regards,




 28 May 2007 20:50 UTCMon 28 May 2007 - 8:50 pm UTC 

Hi, TL.  Thank you very much for taking on my question.

The answer does not have to be scientifically validated.  It just has to be plausible.  This is fiction.  (I know I didn't explain that in my question, but you are no stranger to my questions.)

Santa Cruz mountains.  And the specific area I am writing about does not actually exist (not in the way that I am describing it), so I can give it any characteristics I want as long as they sound authentic.  Authentic does not mean that a local can drive to the spot and identify it.  Authentic means that there are no jarring clashes with known realities.  I don't mind being a little bit elastic with the possibilities:  I would not introduce a snowstorm, and I would not plant rice or bananas there, but I can stretch a bit for a cherry tree.

And the cherry tree doesn't necessarily have to be native to the habitat.  It just has to be able to grow there.  We have or have had Bing and Royal Anne in our San Jose back yard, and the fact that they grow well here, about 35 miles away, is basically good enough for me.  But I don't want to limit myself to those two choices just because I know them.

"Very red" means not yellow, not pink, not pale, not white, but something I can describe with juicy red adjectives.

What I am looking for here is the ability to say in a fictional context that the particular cherry tree, which grew in place from a pit (i.e., it was not hothouse grown or transplanted as a seedling from a nursery or some other source), was x inches tall after three years and y after nine and that it bore its first (very red, juicy) fruit in its zth year.  And that in February when its blossoms were in full bloom, they were <this> color.  (I can describe Bing and Royal Anne blossoms, so I need this detail only for some other variety.)  X, y, and z can be ranges.



Toby Lee Spiegel 


 28 May 2007 21:10 UTCMon 28 May 2007 - 9:10 pm UTC 

Hi Tryx,

Thank you!  Will have an answer for you shortly.

Thank you,


Toby Lee Spiegel 


 28 May 2007 21:57 UTCMon 28 May 2007 - 9:57 pm UTC 

Hi Tryx,

Thank you for an interesting question.

We'll go with the Bing Cherry Tree, botanical name Prunus avium

The National Arbor Day Foundation - Cherry, Bing

"A large tree with a spreading canopy. Standard trees may reach up to 70' tall, but normally will be 20' -35' tall with equal spread. The foliage is dark green and smooth. The smooth, glossy, reddish bark is studded with short, horizontal, corky stripes. Fragrant, white flowers, 1-1 1/2" in diameter are borne in clusters of 2-5 on short, woody spurs. The large, heart-shaped fruit has firm, meaty, purple-red flesh with a semi-free stone."        

Growth Rate:
This tree grows at a medium growth rate.

["medium refers to 13 to 24” of growth per year"]

At 3 years height is slightly over 3 to 6 feet

At 9 years height is slightly over 9 to 18 feet

Shape: This cherry has rounded shape.

Leaves: Simple, alternate, 3"-6" long with small, blunt teeth on the margin, dark green, smooth upper surface, light green lower surface with slight amounts of pubescence or fuzz.

Flower Color:  White

Bloom Time:  Early

Fruit Description: Very large, about 1" in diameter, heart-shaped, skin is bright red when immature becoming dark red or deep maroon. The flesh is purple-red, sweet, juicy, and firm with a stone that is easily removed.

Bears fruit:

To avoid becoming discouraged just remember that it will take your tree about 3-5 year before it will mature and begin producing fruit.


"Bing Cherries are the most common cherries on the market.  They are big, firm and round with a deep inviting mahogany red to almost black color and a sweet rich flavor.  The color is rich inside too.  These will last about a week in your refrigerator, if you can control yourself that long."
"Cherry trees normally have 7000 cherries, enough to make 28 pies!
The Bing Cherry was named after one of the Chinese workmen on a farm in Oregon in the 1800s."

Best regards,




 29 May 2007 03:21 UTCTue 29 May 2007 - 3:21 am UTC 

Just what I needed, TL.  Thanks very much.  I appreciate your extra effort.





 29 May 2007 03:24 UTCTue 29 May 2007 - 3:24 am UTC 

Just so you'll know:  this is going to have to be my last question for a while.  I can't afford to keep it up at this rate.  Great answers, great service, but too rich for my budget.

Also, I sorely miss the chorus of regular commenters such as Myoarin who added so much to the value of answers on GA by contributing their insights and special knowledge.  Uclue is not yet spacious enough, I'm afraid, to entertain quite so much participation.



Toby Lee Spiegel 


 29 May 2007 03:45 UTCTue 29 May 2007 - 3:45 am UTC 

Hi Tryx,

Thank you for the rating and generous tip.  I love working on your questions, so I'm sad to read you won't be back for a while.  I'll look forward to working with you again, when you are able.

Best regards always,


Roger Browne 


 29 May 2007 12:45 UTCTue 29 May 2007 - 12:45 pm UTC 

Hi Tryx,

Thanks for your questions, your comments, your interest in the launch of Uclue, and the valuable suggestions that you submitted to us.




 30 May 2007 14:06 UTCWed 30 May 2007 - 2:06 pm UTC 

It is kind of hard to be a chorus of one,
Especially when all has been said and done,
But if Tryx really wants me to,
I will only blush, but not eschew.
Just pick a tune,
And I will croon.



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