Bob Bors – University of Saskatchewan Project Leader Domestic Fruit Program
To demonstrate varieties of fruits being developed by the University of Saskatchewan
A new bird netting setup enabled much higher yield results in the Sour Cherries for 2019. Unfortunately the haskaps came into fruit before the structure was complete, so yields for them were almost zero. A comparative chart below shows successive yields since 2016.
Dwarf sour cherries are not a native crop to the Canadian Prairies. They are the product of a number of crosses were initially begun by Dr. Les Kerr of the University of Saskatchewan by crossing a cold hardy cherry from Siberia, Prunus fruiticosa, with a sour cherry originating in Europe (brought over by settlers) by the name of Prunus cerasus. Since then the development has continued by incorporations of other cherries and by the use of dwarfing root stalks. The advantage of the dwarfing root stalk is that it forces earlier fruiting from the plant and it also creates a more workable tree when harvesting, for both manual and mechanical pickers. Dwarf sour cherries constitute the very typical “cherry pie filling” cherry.
The Haskap berry was introduced to Canada around 1967 and now grows across the country, thanks to new varieties developed by the University of Saskatchewan. Fruit growers should consider planting Haskap berries in their orchards because they attract fewer pests and require little maintenance. Manitoba and the rest of the Canadian prairies are a natural fit for Haskap because of its cold craving nature. Haskap is also the first berry to ripen and pickers can enjoy the berry beginning in the mid-June. Haskaps have a sort of blueberry/raspberry feel to them – tart, but perfect for baking.
Birds are of course a problem for both of the above fruits and appropriate measures must be taken to prevent the loss of berries.
Entire findings are available by downloading the report PDF.