R. Trefois
Sweet cherry (Prunus avium) cultivation is declining in Belgium. The reasons for this decline are bound up with the vigorous growth of trees grafted on a rootstock which is either a seedling of Prunus avium or, more recently, F.12/1. (Prunus mahaleb is not used in Belgium because of its poor compatibility with the sweet fruit varieties.)

These trees take a long time to establish themselves and to bear the first fruit and are, in addition, expensive to pick and difficult to prune and treat against diseases. They are therefore no longer profitable and are not being renewed. Their cultivation as bushes on the same rootstocks solves none of their problems.

For sweet cherry production to survive, the trees must be cultivated in intensive orchards which are early-yielding and cheap to prune and pick.

The cultivation of sour cherries, coming botanically from Prunus cerasus, is not regressing in the way just described for the trees are naturally smaller and can often be picked by shakers, a fact which reduces the need for dwarfing. None the less it would be desirable to obtain rootstocks which make less growth in order to accelerate cropping and intensify plant densities.

Trefois, R. (1981). NEW DWARFING ROOTSTOCKS FOR CHERRY TREES. Acta Hortic. 114, 208-217
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1981.114.30

Acta Horticulturae