Cross Pollinating Rainier and Bing Cherry Trees

Asked June 20, 2016, 11:36 AM EDT

I had planted one of each of these trees (for pollination) and when they had been in the ground 2 months a neighbor's huge tree fell across them. One survived and the other broke off at the ground. Unfortunately I did not mark which tree was which so now am wondering which tree I need to replace. How do I make the distinction? Thank you for any help.

Kennebec County Maine

4 Responses

I am sorry but I am not aware of any vegetative characteristics of the stems, leaves or bark that you could use to determine which tree survived. Bing is in pollination group 3 and Rainier in group 9. I would suggest you not plant a tree from either group to ensure cross pollination.

Thank you for your quick response, Mark. I was told when I bought the rainier that it was not a self-pollinator and bing was one of the choices to assist with pollination. So now I have either a bing by itself or a rainier by itself. Don't I need one of each?

Unfortunately it is not a simple as just planting another Cherry tree to cross pollinate the trees. Sweet cherries are pretty complex in that there are 4 major genes that regulate pollination. There are I think 11 groups. Essentially, all the trees in a group will not pollinate each other. Bing and Rainer are very popular cherries in two different groups so that is what you got. You still need another tree to cross pollinate the unknown survivor so you need to avoid those 2 groups.
You can search the internet for 'cherry pollination chart" and find many nurseries posting which cherries will cross pollinate. You just need to avoid those cherries which will not cross pollinate either Bing or Rainer,(you have to exclude both) to be sure you can cross pollinate them both. There are some self fruitful cherries such as Stella and Lapins which might cross pollinate with either Bing or Rainer

I understand now. Thank you SO much, Mark!