Choose the Right Spot for Your Che Tree
Choosing the right spot is critical to successfully growing a che tree. Select an area with plenty of sunlight and well-drained, fertile soil. Che trees require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day to produce fruit. The soil should be loose, airy and have a slightly acidic pH between 5 and 6. Che trees can reach up to 30 feet tall at maturity, so choose a spot with enough space for the tree to grow.
Test your soil to determine if there are any deficiencies, as che trees need a precise balance of nutrients to thrive. According to the University of Florida,che trees require “extremely well-drained soil and do not tolerate flooding or poor drainage”. Till the soil to a depth of 2 to 3 feet before planting to allow for adequate root growth. Mix in compost or other organic matter to provide nutrients for your che tree. Choose a location that is sheltered from strong winds, as this can damage flowers and fruit.
With the right conditions, your che tree will produce fruit for 15-20 years or more. Paying attention to details such as sunlight, soil quality and proper planting will ensure your che tree is healthy, productive and adds beauty to your landscape for years to come.
Prepare the Soil for Planting Che
Preparing the soil before planting a che tree is one of the most important steps to ensure its health and productivity. Che trees require nutrient-rich, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH between 5 and http://6.To|6.To prepare the soil, first test it to determine the pH and check for any nutrient deficiencies. The three major nutrients for che tree growth are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. According to the University of Florida, “che trees should be fertilized regularly for best growth and production”.
Till the soil to a depth of at least 2 to 3 feet to allow for adequate root growth.The soil should be loose and airy, so if needed add compost, peat moss or perlite to improve drainage and aeration. An ideal soil for che trees is sandy loam – a mixture of sand, silt and clay with good drainage and aeration.
Table 1: Nutrient deficiencies in che trees and correction methods
|Nitrogen||Slow growth, yellowing leaves||Apply nitrogen-rich fertilizer or compost|
|Phosphorus||Reduced flowering and fruiting, purplish leaves||Add bone meal or rock phosphate|
|Potassium||Reduced flowering and fruiting, leaf margin scorching||Add potassium sulfate or composted manure|
- Apply compost or rotted manure: This will provide a natural balance of nutrients for your che tree. Aim for 2 to 3 inches of compost or manure and till into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil.
- Add lime (if needed): For slightly acidic soil, add 2 to 3 pounds of lime per 100 square feet of space. This will balance the pH.
- Consider Mychorrhizae: These are beneficial fungi that help the roots absorb water and nutrients. They can be applied directly to the root ball at planting.
- Fertilize the che tree: 1 to 2 months after planting, apply a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Follow instructions and do not overfertilize.
- Mulch around the base of the tree: A 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch will help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weeds. Pull mulch a few inches away from the trunk.
With ideal soil conditions and preparations, your che tree will thrive and produce an abundance of fruit for years to come. Take the time to properly prepare the soil before planting, and your efforts will be well rewarded.
Plant and Care for Your Che Tree
Once you have chosen a spot with suitable conditions and prepared the soil, you can plant your che tree. Che trees should be planted in early spring after the chance of frost has passed. When planting:
- Dig a hole at least 2 to 3 times the width of the root ball. The sides of the hole should be sloping outward.
- Remove the tree from its container and loosen the root ball. Place it in the hole and check that the top of the root ball is even with the surrounding soil. Do not bury the trunk.
- Backfill the hole with soil, compost and any fertilizer as needed. Water thoroughly to remove any air pockets.
- Once planted, add a layer of organic mulch 3 to 4 inches deep around the base of the tree but not touching the trunk. This helps retain moisture in the soil and prevents weeds.
- Stake the tree to provide support if needed. Remove stakes after the first year.
- Prune the che tree to maintain its shape and size. Remove any dead or crossing branches. Pruning will also improve air circulation and sunlight exposure.
- Water the che tree regularly, especially in hot or dry weather. Aim for about 1 to 2 inches of water per week. The first year is critical, so water daily for the first few weeks after planting.
- Fertilize the che tree in early spring before bud break. Use a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Follow the directions on the product packaging.
- Watch for common pests and disease such as aphids, mealybugs, scale, mites and fungal leaf spot. Treat with horticultural oil, insecticidal spray or fungicide if needed.
- Consider netting the fruit to protect against birds and other wildlife. Protect the fruit for the final few weeks before harvest.
- Che trees can produce fruit for 15-20 years or more with proper care and pruning. Follow all the recommended planting and care steps to give your che tree the best chance at being a prolific and long-lasting part of your garden.
With the right planting technique and ongoing maintenance, your che tree will thrive and produce fruit for many years. Pay attention to details like soil moisture, pruning, fertilizing and pest control. A well cared for che tree will reward you with its beauty and bounty of delicious fruit. Spend time with your tree and learn its seasonal needs – it will become a valuable part of your garden.
Harvesting and Storing Che Fruit
Once your che tree is mature and begins producing fruit, it’s time for harvesting. Che fruit usually ripens in late summer or early fall. The fruit is ready to pick when it is fully red and slightly soft.
- Check the fruit for ripeness by gently squeezing it. It should have a slight give but still feel firm.
- Pick the fruit by gently grasping it and twisting or cutting it from the branch with pruning shears. Do not pull the fruit off, as this can damage the tree.
- Collect the fruit in shallow containers and avoid stacking too deeply, as this can cause compression damage.
- Sort and wash the harvested fruit. Remove any damaged or diseased fruit. Ripe che can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Alternatively, che can be juiced, made into jams or alcoholic beverages, or dried for longer term storage. According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, “Fully ripe cherries can be juiced or used in jams, jellies, sherbets, yogurt or daiquiris.”
- Che is high in vitamin C, containing 30 times more than oranges. Because of their high acidity, che cherries work well in preserves, chutneys and savory sauces to serve with meats like duck or game.
Table 2: Nutritional value per 100 grams of che
|Nutrient||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin C||1670 mg||2778%|
- To maximize nutrition, use fully ripe che fruit soon after harvesting. Or preserve the fruit through freezing, drying or juicing.
- Sugar content increases as che ripens, so taste the fruit to gauge sweetness. The brighter red and softer the fruit, the higher the sugar.
- Che fruit leather, jelly and juice concentrate well and have a tangy, tart flavor. They are great for boosting nutrition during winter.
- Consider netting bushes to protect ripening fruit from birds. But note that che has a short harvest period, usually only 1 to 2 weeks. So time netting carefully.
With regular harvesting and care, your che tree will produce fruit for many years. Che fruit is highly nutritious and useful, though the harvest window is short. So enjoy your flavorful bounty and consider preserving some fruit for out-of-season nutrition.