Eubanks Fabulous Cherry
This is a tribute to a new fabulous tart cherry that originated in Wisconsin and also a tribute to an old friend, Bill Eubank. I was introduced to Mr. Eubank roughly 23 years ago after hearing about a splendid new tart cherry he had in his yard. Bill and I shared some good times together after that first encounter and went ice fishing, camping and even fished out of his boat on the Mississippi river below Red Wing, MN. Happy times indeed. Bill shared many of the same interests I had in the great outdoors and also a love for plants. I was sad to hear that he met an untimely demise in an auto accident in 2013. He will be missed.
One of the great legacies he left behind is a new tart cherry variety now named Sweet Cherry Pie™. This new variety originated off an old tart cherry tree that was in the family’s home orchard. The original cherry tree was not in great shape when I first viewed it. It was very old and seemed to be dying out, loaded with dead branches.
In its old age, numerous suckers arose from the base of this tree. The suckers were very prolific and bore heavy crops of cherries at a young age. Some were only 3’ tall and were covered with fruit! The fruit on these suckers did not resemble the fruit off the original tree and were far superior in yield and quality!
Some of the suckers were dug up and lined out in the orchard. They transplanted well, grew fast and provided exceptional yields of dark fleshed tart cherries. A few were planted at another friend’s commercial orchard were many different tart cherry varieties are grown. The Eubank cherry was found to out yield all the commercial varieties he grew. I am very happy that this excellent cherry finally got introduced in the nursery trade as Sweet Cherry Pie™ (Prunus cerasus ‘Eubank’) and is now available for all to plant and enjoy. Here at Johnson’s Nursery we will have a limited quantity of this new Wisconsin cherry available in #5 containers for 2014. Like all tart cherries it is self-pollinating and should be winter hardy thru zone 4. Thank you to the Eubank family for your wonderful contribution to the tart cherry industry.
Paul Schwabe is a salesman in our Contractor Sales division. He holds a degree in horticulture and will be writing about some of his favorite and underused plants.