Cherries in the Southeastern U.S.

Cultivar List
Sweets

'Black Tartarian'
Craig's Crimson
'Emperor Francis'
'Hedelfingen'
'Lyons'
'Merton Bigarreau'
'Nugent'
'Starkrimson'
'Van'
'Yellow Sweet Spanish'

Explaining sweet cherry pollen incompatibility groups: "The ability of cherry pollen to grow down the flower style is controlled by the S locus. Each cultivar has two S-alleles and each pollen grain carries one of these. Flowers cannot be pollinated by pollen from any source that carries either of those two alleles, including its own. Due to inbreeding in the narrow genepool of North America, many pairs of cultivars share the same two S-alleles (same S-genotypes) and thus are cross-incompatible. The exception is the S4’ allele, which confers self-fertility. Effectively, S4’ acts as “stealth pollen” that can pollinate anything including flowers of the cultivar it came from."
from: RosBreed. Cherry Cross Compatibility. Pie cherries (aka "Sour cherries) and Dukes
'AlmadenDuke'
'Balaton'
'Belle Magnifique'
'Carmine Jewel'
'Meteor'
'Montmorency' and 'Starkspur® Montmorency'
'North Star'
'Romeo'
'Surefire'


Sweets

Black Tartarian
Breeder(s): Unknown.
History: see entry in The Cherries of New York; and entry in The Cherries of Utah
Type: Sweet
Rootstocks used: Mazzard
Orchards grown in: Coal Mountain, Georgia.
Notes:
Fruit quality: No fruit from my trees.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: no fruit from my trees, see Reference.
Harvest season: Early.
Bloom season: Early; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Needs a pollinizer. Provides good pollen for most other sweet cherries.
Diseases: Resists bacterial canker. Susceptible to cherry leafspot.
Precocity: Not precocious; My oldest tree was xxx years old, yet still had only bloomed a bit, with no fruit production.
Productivity: Unknown.
Growth habit: Average vigor for a sweet cherry (which tend to be quite vigorous); crotch angles wide; dwarfing rootstock recommended
Chilling requirement:
Bottom line: Not recommended unless you are willing to spray fungicide regularly to combat the leafspot.
References other than my own experience:
Hedrick, U.P. 1915. The Cherries of New York. Black Tartarian


Craig's Crimson
Breeder(s): Floyd Zaiger, California. This guy is a living legend. I was privileged enough to speak with him once by phone.
History: Originated from a 'Garden Bing' X (offspring of 'Stella') made in Modesto, California. Patent issued in 1990.
Type: Sweet
Rootstocks used: Mazzard
Orchards grown in: Apex, NC.
Notes:
Fruit quality: No fruit from my trees.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: no fruit from my trees, but said to be dark-red, almost black.
Harvest season: Early.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing.
Diseases: Insufficient evaluation to be sure, but in the few years I grew the tree before we moved, it had no disease problems.
Precocity: Not precocious; My oldest tree was xxx years old, yet still had only bloomed a bit, with no fruit production.
Productivity: Unknown.
Growth habit: Natural semi-dwarf; crotch angles wide
Chilling requirement: 500-600 hours.
Bottom line: Insufficient experience to recommend for or against.
References other than my own experience:
Dave Wilson Nursery. Craig's Crimson
United States Plant Patent #7320 (expired)

Emperor Francis
Breeder(s): Unknown.
History: see entry in The Cherries of New York; and entry in The Cherries of Utah
Type: Sweet
Rootstocks used: Mazzard
Orchards grown in: Coal Mountain, Georgia.
Notes:
Fruit quality: No fruit from my trees.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: no fruit from my trees, see Reference.
Harvest season: Late according to literature.
Bloom season: Died before blooming
Pollination: Needs a pollinizer. Compatible with 'Stella', 'Nugent' and 'BlushingGoldT'. Incompatible with Napoleon, Ulster, Kristin, Somerset, Bing, and Lambert.
Diseases: Very susceptible to bacterial canker, which is what killed my tree quickly. Susceptible to cherry leafspot.
Precocity: no first-hand experience.
Productivity: Unknown.
Growth habit: Average vigor for a sweet cherry (which tend to be quite vigorous); crotch angles wide; dwarfing rootstock recommended
Chilling requirement:
Bottom line: Not recommended.
References other than my own experience:
Hedrick, U.P. 1915. The Cherries of New York. Emperor Francis
Bob Andersen. 2004. Cornell University. "Sweet Cherry Varieties for Eastern U.S."

Hedelfingen
Breeder(s): Unknown.
History: see entry in The Cherries of New York; and entry in The Cherries of Utah
Type: Sweet
Rootstocks used: Mazzard
Orchards grown in: Coal Mountain, Georgia.
Notes:
Fruit quality: No fruit from my trees.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: no fruit from my trees, see Reference.
Harvest season: Late according to literature.
Bloom season: Died before blooming
Pollination: Needs a pollinizer. Compatible with 'Stella', 'Nugent' and 'BlushingGoldT'. Incompatible with Napoleon, Ulster, Kristin, Somerset, Bing, and Lambert.
Diseases: Very susceptible to bacterial canker, which is what killed my tree quickly. Susceptible to cherry leafspot.
Precocity: no first-hand experience.
Productivity: Unknown.
Growth habit: Average vigor for a sweet cherry (which tend to be quite vigorous); crotch angles wide; dwarfing rootstock recommended
Chilling requirement:
Bottom line: Not recommended.
References other than my own experience:
Hedrick, U.P. 1915. The Cherries of New York. Hedelfingen
Bob Andersen. 2004. Cornell University. "Sweet Cherry Varieties for Eastern U.S."

Lyons
Breeder(s): A.J. Mann, Summerland Research Station, British Columbia, Canada.
History: see entry in The Cherries of New York and the one in The Cherries of Utah.
Type: Sweet
Rootstocks used: Krymsk 5
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, NC.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Excellent sprightly sweet, juicy, tender. It was consistently my family's favorite sweet cherry.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: Light pinkish-red.
Harvest season: Early.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Needs a compatible pollinizer. Pollen incompatibility group S6S9. Compatible with 'Bing', 'Lambert' and 'Royal Ann' ('Napolean')
Diseases: Susceptible to cherry leafspot; I had no problems with bacterial canker.
Precocity: Precocious; First fruit was when the tree was *** years old.
Productivity: A shy bearer.
Growth habit: Vigorous; crotch angles wide
Chilling requirement: x00 hours.
Bottom line: Not recommended in general, but might be a consideration for the connoisseur willing to pamper a tree.
References other than my own experience:
Snyder. Pollination of Tree Fruits and Nuts. Washington State University Extension Bulletin #342.
Marti et al., 2012. Frontiers in Plant Science. 3:Article 116. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00116.

Merton Bigarreau
Breeder(s): John Innes Horticultural Institute, England.
History: Originated from a 'Knight's Early Black' X 'Napolean' cross and was released in 1924. Because Knight's Early Black is a Duke cherry ('May Duke') backcrossed to the sweet cherry 'Yellow Spanish', 'Merton Bigarreau' is 1/8th pie cherry.
Type: Sweet
Rootstocks used: Krymsk 5
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, NC.
Notes:
Fruit quality: No first-hand experience, though they are said to be one of the best-tasting cherries ever, which is why I got the scionwood.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: No fruit on my trees; supposedly dark mahogany red.
Harvest season: No first-hand experience.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Needs a compatible pollinizer. Pollen incompatibility group S1S3. Compatible with 'Nugent' and any other sweet cherry lacking both S1 and S3 in their incompatibility group.
Diseases: Susceptible to cherry leafspot and bacterial canker. Bacterial canker was the likely cause of death of my trees.
Precocity: Not Precocious;
Productivity: Unknown.
Growth habit: Very vigorous; crotch angles wide
Chilling requirement: x00 hours. Sometimes showed symptoms of insufficient chilling, which likely also contributed to its death.
Bottom line: Not recommended, insufficient chilling hours in the South.
References other than my own experience:
Marti et al., 2012. Frontiers in Plant Science. 3:Article 116. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00116.
Ashridge Trees
Fogle et al., 1973. USDA Agricultural Handbook #442

Nugent
Breeder(s): Bob Andersen and Susan Brown, Cornell University.
History: Originated from a 'Germersdorfer' X O.P. cross made in 1986; selected 1994; introduced in 2006. quite resistant to rain-induced splitting. Tested as NY 518.
Type: Sweet
Rootstocks used: Mazzard
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, NC.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Good sweet, low acid, juicy.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: Waxy yellow, occasionally with a touch of red blush.
Harvest season: About a week earlier than 'Van'.
Bloom season: Mid-early; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Needs a compatible pollinizer. In self-incompatibility group S1S6. Incompatible with 'Van'. Compatible with at least one of my other Pittsboro cherries because it produced.
Diseases: Susceptible to cherry leafspot caused by Blumeriella jaapi, but not as bad as some. Said to be tolerant of bacterial canker (Pseudomonas syringae) and rain-induced cracking. I had little problem with these latter two diseases on this tree, though I got more cracked cherries with this one than with 'Van'.
Precocity: Precocious; First fruit was when the tree was *** years old.
Productivity: Productive.
Growth habit: Vigorous; crotch angles wide; branches often drooping. Cold-hardy according to originators.
Chilling requirement: x00 hours.
Bottom line: Recommended for limited trial, though one must a) provide a good pollinizer and b) maintain a good fungicide spray program all season. It is less bothered by birds than most cherries because of its light color. However, despite what the catalogs say, the birds eventually figure out that they are yummy when yellow and eat them accordingly.
References other than my own experience:
Greg Lang. Register of New Fruit and Nut Cultivars List 44. HortScience August 2008 vol. 43(5):1321-1343.

Starkrimson
Breeder(s): Summerland Research Station, British Columbia, Canada.
History: Released in 1994.
Type: Sweet
Rootstocks used: Mazzard
Orchards grown in: Coal Mountain, Georgia.
Notes:
Fruit quality: No fruit from my trees.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: no fruit from my trees.
Harvest season: Early.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing. Provides good pollen for most other sweet cherries.
Diseases: Susceptible to bacterial canker and cherry leafspot. I tried a couple of times to get this tree to produce because it just seemed so promising. It just couldn't survive our climate. Perhaps if you were willing to spray conventionally, it would survive long enough to produce a few crops, but sprays won't help much against bacterial canker (copper might help, but won't prevent the inevitable.)
Precocity: Not precocious; My oldest tree was xxx years old, yet still had only bloomed a bit, with no fruit production.
Productivity: Unknown.
Growth habit: Very easy to maintain; crotch angles wide; a natural semi-dwarf.
Chilling requirement:
Bottom line: Not recommended. Try 'Stella' instead. Although I never planted 'Stella', I've heard positive reports from other Southern growers in the Atlanta area.
References other than my own experience:
Stark Bros. Nursery


Van
Breeder(s): A.J. Mann, Summerland Research Station, British Columbia, Canada.
History: Originated from an 'Empress Eugenie' X o.p. P. avium cross and was released in 1942. It should be noted that 'Empress Eugenie' is a Duke cherry, so 'Van' is actually 1/4 pie cherry.
Type: Sweet
Rootstocks used: Mazzard
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, NC.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Very good sweet, meaty, firm.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: Bright red.
Harvest season: ***.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Needs a compatible pollinizer. Incompatible with 'Nugent' and 'Regina'. Self-incompatibility group S1S3. Compatible with 'Merton Biggareau' and apparently at least one of my other Pittsboro cherries because it continued producing after my 'Merton Biggareau' tree died.
Diseases: Was the last sweet cherry to be defoliated by cherry leafspot, but eventually, it also was consistently defoliated. Said to be susceptible to bacterial canker, but I had no problems with this disease and 'Van'.
Precocity: Precocious; First fruit was when the tree was *** years old, but would have been at least a year sooner, if I had a pollinizer. I actually bought 'Ranier' pollen and hand-pollinated the tree to get the first crop because I realized that the 'Nugent' next to it was not compatible. In subsequent years, other sweets began blooming and relieved me of my bee duty.
Productivity: Very productive.
Growth habit: Vigorous; crotch angles wide
Chilling requirement: 700 hours.
Bottom line: Recommended, though one must a) provide a good pollinizer and b) maintain a good fungicide spray program all season.
References other than my own experience:
Stark Bros. Nursery
Dave Wilson Nursery
Fogle et al., 1973. USDA Agricultural Handbook #442

Yellow Sweet Spanish
Breeder(s): Unknown. An ancient heritage cultivar that was cultivated in Roman times.
History: see entry in The Cherries of New York and the one in The Cherries of Utah.
Type: Sweet; tetraploid
Rootstocks used: Krymsk 5
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, NC.
Notes:
Fruit quality: I got exactly one incompletely-ripe fruit from my tree. It was sweet, but not super delicious.
Juice color: clear
Fruit appearance: Small, yellow with deep orange/red blush, rather like a small version of 'Ranier'.
Harvest season: ***.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Has good pollen that can even be used to cross with pie cherries (P. cerasus) because it is a tetraploid. Needs a pollinizer. Incompatibility group S3S4.
Diseases: Very susceptible to brown rot, the worst in my experience. Most of the fruit rotted before ripening, even with a decent fungicide coverage. Susceptible to leaf spot as well.
Precocity: Not precocious; first fruit on Krymsk 5 rootstock was in its *** year.
Productivity: Low, in my experience due to the massive brown rot loss and just general low fruit set- maybe poor pollination(?). Others have reported very high yields.
Growth habit: Very vigorous tree, perhaps the most vigorous sweet cherry; crotch angles wide, beautiful shape. With a good fungicide spray program to keep the large beautiful leaves on the tree, it would make a great ornamental, particularly if you have some room to let it grow (but then you will have trouble spraying the massive tree). Dwarfing rootstock highly recommended for anyone wanting to get fruit.
Chilling requirement: *** hours. I never saw signs of insufficient chilling in my climate.
Bottom line: Not recommended.
References other than my own experience:


Pie cherries (aka "Sour cherries) and Dukes

Almaden Duke
Breeder(s): unknown, appears to be a chance seedling.
History: Found in San Jose, California.
Type: Marketed as a Duke cherry (tetraploid Sweet X Pie), but I have my doubts, seems like a full sweet cherry to me. The lore only says that it is a Mazzard seedling and Mazzard is just a seedling sweet cherry used for rootstock (and so often sour, because they aren't selected for fruit quality). Maybe people thought it was part sour cherry because its fruit is said to be quite sour.
Rootstocks used: Gisela 5?
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, North Carolina.
Notes:
Fruit quality: No fruit, the unhealthy tree died before fruiting.
Juice color: Colorless.
Fruit appearance: Red.
Harvest season: Unknown in North Carolina.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing.
Diseases: It grew well for a couple of years, but then died suddenly with symptoms like bacterial canker.
Precocity: Slow to come into production; tree died before fruiting.
Productivity: ***.
Growth habit: Vigorous; crotch angles wide; grows like a sweet cherry.
Chilling requirement: xx hours.
Bottom line: Not recommended.
References other than my own experience:
Washington State University

Balaton®
Breeder(s): Unknown.
History: Originates from Újfehértói, Hungary, introduced to the U.S. circa 1998.
Type: Pie (sour)
Rootstocks used: ***
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, North Carolina.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Flavor is sour and astringent. Poor.
Juice color: ***.
Fruit appearance: Red, round.
Harvest season: A few days *** 'North Star'.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing.
Diseases: Resists bacterial canker and cherry leafspot, but not as resistant to either as 'North Star'.
Precocity: ***; first fruit set in *** year on *** rootstock.
Productivity: ***.
Growth habit: Vigor more than 'North Star' or 'Carmine Jewel', but less than 'Montmorency'; crotch angles wide; easy to maintain.
Chilling requirement: Unknown; In my opinion, it is not suitable for the Deep South, but others have said it will grow as far south as Zone 8. (I was in the northern part of Zone 8 and my tree showed signs of insufficient chilling that eventually led to its death.)
Bottom line: Not recommended.
References other than my own experience:
Stark Bros Nursery- Balaton®

Belle Magnifique
Breeder(s): University of Minnesota.
History: See entry in The Cherries of New York.
Type: Duke (Pie X Sweet)
Rootstocks used: Krymsk 5
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, NC.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Flavor is mildly tart, sweeter than pie cherries, but not richly sweet like a sweet cherry. Has a unique sprightly taste that I cannot describe.
Juice color: Colorless.
Fruit appearance: Pale pink.
Harvest season: Ripens over a long period; mid-harvest is xtimex before 'North Star'.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Needs a pollinizer; will fertilize tetraploid sweet cherries and pie cherries.
Diseases: Resists bacterial canker; susceptible to cherry leafspot and brown rot.
Precocity: ***; first fruit set in *** year on Krymsk 5 rootstock.
Productivity: Moderate productivity and annual bearer.
Growth habit: Very vigorous and upright with narrow crotch angles, especially when the trees are young; limbs must be spread early because crotches tend to become brittle.
Chilling requirement: Unknown, but my trees showed little sign of insufficient chilling.
Bottom line: Recommended for the connoisseur with patience and a good spray program (and bird control!).
References other than my own experience:

Carmine Jewel
Breeder(s): Dr. Cecil Stushnoff and Rick Sawatsky, University of Saskatchewan.
History: A 1999 release from the University of Saskatchewan's cherry breeding program, resulting from a P. eminems (P. fruticosa X P. cerasus) X P. cerasus) X 'North Star'. These trees are propagated commercially by tissue culture, which means they grown on their own roots.
Type: Pie (sour); technically not a morello because of its heritage, but from a culinary perspective, its a morello
Rootstocks used: own
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, NC orchards A & B.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Flavor is richly tart, reminded me of 'North Star', but maybe a tad sweeter. Makes fantastic pies and dried cherries.
Juice color: Red.
Fruit appearance: Deep red, round, deep red flesh. Be sure to wait to pick them when they are deep red, almost black. If you pick them earlier, they haven't gotten their sweetness yet and just taste bland and sour.
Harvest season: A few days after 'North Star'.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing.
Diseases: Resists bacterial canker and cherry leafspot. I was worried during the first cropping year that this cherry was super-sensitive to brown rot, as the fruit all rotted during that wet year, whereas the 'North Star' right next to it only lost a few fruit to brown rot. However, after that unusually wet year, I got good crops with almost no brown rot in both locations.
Precocity: Precocious if given full sunlight. I was worried that a Canadian cherry wouldn't like our hot climate, so I planted my first 'Carmine Jewel' on a north slope in partial shade. This was a mistake because it delayed fruiting and my later trees planted in full sunlight were very happy. Growers in Canada report they typically get their first fruit in the 3rd or 4th year after planting. My first fruit set in *** year on its own roots.
Productivity: Very productive once mature. Canadian growers report 25 pounds per bush is average, but some homeowners who pamper their bushes have gotten 75 pounds on a single bush!
Growth habit: Spreading bush reaching a height of 7-8 feet without pruning; crotch angles wide after the tree matures; twiggy and tangled growth when young, but easy to maintain once they mature. Is said to sucker little, but it does sucker, so you end up with a cherry thicket instead of a single bush.
Chilling requirement: Must be low, because it was happy in Zone 8.
Bottom line: Recommended.
References other than my own experience:
University of Saskatchewan. Sour Cherries
DNA Gardens
Bors, Bob and Rick Sawatzky. Dwarf Sour Cherries for the Prairies.
Bors, Bob. Carmine Jewel Notes.
University of Saskatchewan. 2009. ADF final report

Meteor
Breeder(s): University of Minnesota.
History: A 1952 release from the University of Minnesota's cherry breeding program originating from a 'Montmorency' X 'Vladimir' cross. Tested as Minn. 66.
Type: Pie (sour); morello
Rootstocks used: Mahaleb
Orchards grown in: Coal Mountain, Georgia.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Flavor is mildly tart, reminded me of 'Montmorency'.
Juice color: Colorless.
Fruit appearance: Red, round.
Harvest season: A few days after 'North Star'.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing.
Diseases: Resists bacterial canker and cherry leafspot, but not as resistant to either as 'North Star'.
Precocity: Slow to come into production; first fruit set in *** year on mahaleb rootstock.
Productivity: ***.
Growth habit: Vigor more than 'North Star' or 'Carmine Jewel', but less than 'Montmorency'; crotch angles wide; easy to maintain.
Chilling requirement: 800 hours; not suitable for the Deep South.
Bottom line: Recommended for trial, but less likely to succeed than some others. The relatively high chilling requirement makes it better for the mountains, but it may struggle to get sufficient chilling in Piedmont North Carolina and warmer regions.
References other than my own experience:
University of Minnesota Extension. link
Dave Wilson Nursery- Meteor
University of Minnesota conservancy

Montmorency and Starkspur® sport
Breeder(s): Unknown.
History: Originated somewhere in the Montmorency valley, France, probably in the early 1700's. see entry in The Cherries of New York and the one in The Cherries of Utah. 80% of the U.S. pie cherry crop is 'Montmorency'.
Type: Pie (sour); amarelle
Rootstocks used: Mahaleb
Orchards grown in: Coal Mountain, Georgia.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Flavor is mildly tart. The classic for pies.
Juice color: Colorless.
Fruit appearance: Light red, round. Yellow flesh.
Harvest season: A few days *** 'North Star'.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing.
Diseases: Resists bacterial canker; mildly susceptible to cherry leafspot, but not as resistant as 'North Star'.
Precocity: Precocious; first fruit set in *** year on mahaleb rootstock.
Productivity: Productive; when we kept the birds at bay with nets, we filled our freezer with frozen, pitted cherries for pies all year. Starkspur® Montmorency is even more productive.
Growth habit: Vigorous; makes a larger tree than any other pie cherry that I describe. Crotch angles wide; easy to maintain. Starkspur® Montmorency is more compact and is slightly less vigorous.
Chilling requirement: 500 hours.
Bottom line: Recommended for trial, but some of the morello cherries taste just as good and make more colorful pies and juices and contain more healthful antioxidants, as well as being healthier themselves in our Southeastern climate.
References other than my own experience:
Dave Wilson Nursery

North Star
Breeder(s): University of Minnesota.
History: A 1950 release from the University of Minnesota's cherry breeding program originating from an 'English Morello' X 'Serbian Pie No. 1' cross. Tested as Minn. 58
Type: Pie (sour); morello
Rootstocks used: Mahaleb
Orchards grown in: Coal Mountain, Georgia; Apex, NC; Pittsboro, NC orchards A & B.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Flavor is sprightly tart, but if you are fortunate enough to have dry weather during the ripening period and can protect the trees from birds, it is worth letting some hang on the trees until they are black and just beginning to shrivel. At this point, they are sweet, but still with a lip-smacking tart balance that make them a unique treat. Also makes fantastic pies and dried cherries.
Juice color: Red.
Fruit appearance: Deep red, roundish-heart-shaped, with a faint suture and deep red flesh.
Harvest season: A few days *** 'Montmorency'.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'Montmorency'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing.
Diseases: Resists bacterial canker and cherry leafspot. These trees have been one of the most carefree, but rewarding trees I've planted. They ripen so early, that I have no problem with curculios, which plaque most stone fruits in the Southeast. Really the only pest of any consequence is birds and if one nets the small trees, that problem is also eliminated.
Precocity: Precocious First fruit set in *** year on mahaleb roots.
Productivity: Very productive.
Growth habit: Spreading bush reaching a height of 5-7 feet without pruning; crotch angles wide; easy to maintain once they mature.
Chilling requirement: 500 hours.
Bottom line: Recommended. Anyone in the upper Southeast who loves cherry products and has some sunny yard space, should have one of these trees. They are not only delicious fresh (if you like tart flavors) and make fantastic pies, juice, and dried cherries for cookies, salads or whatever, but they are also lovely ornamentals that dress up any sunny landscape. From the cloud of fragrant blossoms in the Spring to the bright red cherries in the Summer and the year-round appeal of the beautiful cherry bark trunk, they add beauty as well as food.
References other than my own experience:
University of Minnesota
Dave Wilson Nursery

Romeo
Breeder(s): University of Saskatchewan.
History: A 1999 release from the University of Saskatchewan's cherry breeding program. These trees are propagated commercially by tissue culture, which means they grown on their own roots.
Type: Pie (sour); technically not a morello because of its heritage (some P. fruticosa in its background), but from a culinary perspective, its a morello
Rootstocks used: own
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, NC orchard B (in a large pot).
Notes:
Fruit quality: Though it bloomed profusely for two years, I never got a fruit to set.
Juice color: Red.
Fruit appearance: Deep red, round, deep red flesh.
Harvest season: A few days after 'North Star'.
Bloom season: ***; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing.
Diseases: Resists bacterial canker, but was consistently defoliated by cherry leafspot.
Precocity: Precocious if given full sunlight, based on bloom time. It likely would perform better if planted in the ground instead of a pot.
Productivity: Not productive under my conditions.
Growth habit: Small spreading bush reaching a height of 4-5 feet without pruning; crotch angles wide after the tree matures; easy to maintain.
Chilling requirement: Must be low, because it didn't show signs of insufficient chilling in Zone 8.
Bottom line: Worth trying in the ground. My experience is based on a single tree in a pot. I've seen other trees that didn't fare well in pots do much better when planted in the ground. 'Carmine Jewel' is so good and is from the same breeding program, so they have earned a second look for the entire "Romance" series of cherries, of which 'Romeo' is one.
References other than my own experience:
University of Saskatchewan. Sour Cherries
University of Saskatchewan. 2009. ADF final report.

Surefire
Breeder(s): Bob Andersen, Cornell University.
History: A 1999 release from the Cornell University's cherry breeding program and the only release from them in 125 years! It originated from a 'Borchert Black Sour' X NY 6935 ('Richmorency' X 'Schattenmorelle')cross made in 1975. It was tested as NY 12716
Type: Pie (sour); morello
Rootstocks used: mahaleb?
Orchards grown in: Pittsboro, NC orchard B.
Notes:
Fruit quality: Flavor is tart with similar sweet/tart balance to 'Montmorency', in my opinion. Makes very good pies.
Juice color: pink.
Fruit appearance: Bright red, round, light, bright red flesh.
Harvest season: A few days *** 'North Star'.
Bloom season: Late; a few days *** vs 'North Star'
Pollination: Self-pollinizing.
Diseases: Resists cherry leafspot.
Precocity: Very precocious First fruit set in *** year on its own roots.
Productivity: Very productive.
Growth habit: Spreading small tree reaching a height of 10-12 feet without pruning; crotch angles wide.
Chilling requirement: High; my tree showed classic signs of insufficient chilling followed by its eventual death.
Bottom line: Not recommended except in mountainous or more northerly regions of the South. In the Raleigh-Durham area of the North Carolina Piedmont, 'Surefire' just doesn't get enough chill hours.
References other than my own experience:
United States Plant Patent #PP11108.