Testing of sweet cherry cultivars in Belgium

J. Vercammen, A. Gomand
The accelerated introduction of new high quality sweet cherry cultivars in the 1980s and the early 1990s has given the Belgian cherry industry a brighter future. The four main cultivars grown in Belgium at present are 'Kordia', 'Lapins', 'Regina' and 'Sweetheart'. However, these also have some disadvantages. 'Kordia' is susceptible to frost, with 'Regina' the fruit set is not really easy, 'Lapins' is susceptible to cracking and 'Sweetheart' has a tendency to crack and rot and has a small harvest window. In addition to these 4 cultivars 'Schneiders Späte Knörpelkirsche', 'Summit', 'Karina' and 'Sylvia' also are grown in Belgium. This assortment is best completed with a self-fertile cultivar that is not susceptible to frost or cracking. The ideal cultivar should be productive, early or late ripening, low in vigour and have a good fruit quality (firm and large) and a good flavour. It should be grafted on 'Gisela 5' rootstock, which is more productive and less susceptible to frost than 'Colt' or Prunus avium. In the first screening 3 trees per cultivar grafted on 'Gisela 5' are planted, with 'Kordia' as the standard. These cultivars are assessed for at least 4 production years. The best cultivars from the first screening are planted at a larger scale (second screening), with the intention of finding solutions to their negative qualities. From the cultivars planted in the first screening since 1999, 'Skeena', 'Hertford', 'Samba', 'Satin', 'Korvik' and 'Grace Star' have been planted in the second screening at present. With the exception of 'Skeena' these cultivars all ripen in the 3rd to 6th week of the harvest season. Thus, there still is a need for cultivars that ripen very early or very late. Other interesting cultivars in the first screening are 'Vanda', 'Poisdel', 'Rubin' and 'Penny'.
Vercammen, J. and Gomand, A. (2017). Testing of sweet cherry cultivars in Belgium. Acta Hortic. 1161, 249-254
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1161.40
cultivar, testing, production, fruit weight, picking time, crack and rot sensitivity and firmness

Acta Horticulturae