The Q&A Archives: Cherry Cross-pollination

Question: I understand that sweet cherries need cross-pollination but tart cherries do not. Can a tart cherry cross-pollinate a sweet cherry; for example, can a Montmorency cross-pollinate with a Tartarian Black Cherry?

Answer: Sour cherries can't be counted on to pollinate sweet cherries, in part because they often bloom at slightly different times. Though there are a few exceptions to this rule, I would not count on 'Montmorency' to pollinate 'Black Tartarian'. Consider planting another sweet cherry variety--'Stella' would be a good choice, since it is a mid-season bloomer like 'Black Tartarian', and is a universal pollenizer. (There are some sweet cherries that are incompatible and won't pollinate other sweet cherry varieties, so you need to choose your varieties carefully.)

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