The best way to Plant, Develop, and Take care of ‘Black Tartarian’ Cherry Bushes

This variety is one of the first cherries to flower and then fruit, and it is one of the easiest to grow in a home garden. ‘Black Tartarian’ grows big and strong and produces abundant fruit with a lovely sweet taste during cherry season.

It’s also a beautiful ornamental tree that features a neat pyramid shape with dark green leaves that turn vibrant red and orange in the fall. This tree requires another to pollinate, so prepare for an abundant cherry season. Here, I’ll share what you need to know to grow a healthy and high-yielding ‘Black Tartarian’ cherry tree.

‘Black Tartarian’ Cherry Tree

‘Black Tartarian’ Cherry Trees:

  • produce superbly-flavored, dark-colored cherries
  • are drought-tolerant once established
  • have high yields of summer fruit
  • need little maintenance

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A close-up captures the intricate network of branches belonging to a 'Black Tartarian' cherry tree, adorned with lush green leaves. Among the foliage, vibrant clusters of deep red cherries peek out, promising a bountiful harvest.

The ‘Black Tartarian’ cherry tree belongs to the Prunus genus and species Prunus avium.


Prunus avium ‘Black Tartarian’

Native Area

Russia, Circassia region

Height and Spread

12-30 feet high x 12-30 feet wide


Aphids, cherry fruit flies, leaf-mining moths, winter moth caterpillars


Bacterial canker, cherry leaf spot, brown rot, silver leaf, and blossom wilt

Soil Type

Loamy, well-draining


Pollinators when in flower

What Is It?

Prunus avium ‘Black Tartarian’ is an heirloom cultivar from Russia that came to England in the 1700s. It was originally called ‘Ronald’s Large Black Heart’ after Hugh Ronalds, who was instrumental in bringing the tree to England. In the 1800s, it came to America, where it became a popular commercial choice for its vigorous growth and abundant yields of dark red to black cherries.

Native Area

A close-up reveals the vibrant hue of  cherries, their deep red skins glistening under the light. Adjacent, white leaves showcase intricate veins, creating a delicate contrast against the bold richness of the cherries.The ‘Black Tartarian’ cherry originated from Circassia in the Caucasus region.

This heirloom cherry originates from Circassia, a region named Caucasus after the mountain range of the same name. This region is now part of Russia.

Prunus avium, also known as wild cherry, sweet cherry, or bird cherry, originated in Europe, Asia, and North Africa and became naturalized in North America. These are the varieties we know as sweet cherries, as opposed to the sour cherry varieties, Prunus cerasus.


A slender cherry tree branch adorned with fresh leaves and clusters of delicate white flowers. In the background, lush green foliage creates a beautiful blur, enhancing the serenity of the scene.The plant features dark green leaves transitioning to red and orange in fall.

‘Black Tartarian’ is an excellent pollinator variety for other cherries, but it also needs pollinating itself to produce fruit. The best trees to plant with this variety include ‘Bing’, ‘Lapins’, ‘Van’ or ’Stella’, ‘Coral’, ‘Napolean’, and ‘Rainer’.

This popular variety has dark green leaves that turn red and orange in the fall, fragrant white flowers in the spring, and beautiful dark fruits in clusters in the summer.


An emerging cherry sapling proudly rises against a soft, unfocused backdrop, its slender form reaching for the sky. Its delicate foliage dances in the gentle breeze, vibrant green leaves poised to embrace the sunlight and nurture growth.Plant cherry trees in autumn for winter settling and spring bloom.

Get the planting right, and you will be halfway to a bumper harvest of juicy cherries in the summer. Plant in autumn to settle the trees in the ground over winter and spring into bloom, or plant in spring for harvesting the next season.

Make sure you have enough space for a ‘Black Tartarian’ and another variety of cherry tree for pollination. This is a large tree that needs at least 30 feet to grow to maturity. Before you begin, make sure there are no other plants or structures that will impede its growth. Also, ensure it’s in the full sun most of the day. The sun needs to get into the tree for it to set fruit.

Dig a hole at least twice the width and at the same depth as the root ball. Add the tree and make sure it’s straight before backfilling. Plant the tree so the graft union is two to three inches above the soil. As you add the soil, tamp down to remove any air pockets. This prevents any infections from getting to the roots.

Make a basin around the tree to help direct water to the roots and give the tree a good watering. Add a layer of mulch to the whole area, at least three inches away from the trunk.

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A gardener wearing a brown plaid shirt and black gloves carefully transplants a young cherry sapling into the soil, ensuring its proper placement. The lush greenery of surrounding grasses and shrubs creates a vivid backdrop for the gardening activity.Choose a suitable location when transplanting a cherry tree.

If you have chosen a good position, there is no reason to move it. But if you have to move it, make sure to move it in warmer weather. Dig widely around the roots to avoid damaging them as much as possible.

Prepare the new hole with added compost before moving the tree. Once you plant it and water it in well, prune the tree back. This will direct energy to the roots, which will stabilize and get the tree ready for the next season.

Growing from Seed

A close-up of a cluster of black pots arranged tightly, showcasing cherry seedlings nestled within rich, mulched soil. The pots, arranged closely, create a captivating scene of growth and nurture, promising a future blossoming with vibrant cherry blossoms.Growing cherry trees from seed takes years to bear fruit.

It is possible to grow a cherry tree from seed, but it will take several years to bear fruit. The best way to get cherries into the garden is to buy already established trees from a reputable nursery or buy them online.

How to Grow

Take note of this cherry’s basic requirements for the best chance of a bumper harvest. Once you have given it what it needs, it will be a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and hardy tree in the garden that will provide a lovely crop of cherries in the summertime.


A close-up of 'Black Tartarian' cherries, revealing their rich, dark hue and glossy surfaces, promising succulent sweetness. Sunlight delicately filters through the surrounding leaves, casting a warm glow on the luscious fruits.Plant in a location in full sun with 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.

Grow ‘Black Tartarian’ in a full sun position with at least 6-8 hours of sun daily. Less sun will stunt the development of those delicious cherries.


A close-up of ripe cherries, glistening with moisture, highlighting their deep, almost black coloration and smooth, reflective skin. Suspended gracefully from slender stems, the cherries evoke a sense of freshness and temptation.Establishing cherry trees requires consistent weekly watering of 12-15 gallons.

To establish the trees, they must be watered well every week, which works out to 12-15 gallons per week from May until September. The amount of water depends on your region’s rainfall, but more will be required in hot and dry times.

After the first one to two years, these trees will be drought-tolerant and able to survive with just rainfall. ‘Black Tartarian’ are considered average water users.


A hand, with finger pointing toward a mound of rich, loamy soil. The warm afternoon sunlight illuminates the scene, casting soft shadows across the textured earth and the hand's contours.Provide well-draining soil.

‘Black Tartarian’ prefers loamy soils but will tolerate a range of soils as long as they are well-draining. A compost mulch will add nutrients to the soil and support a healthy soil texture.


A close-up capturing the glistening surface of freshly washed cherries, showcasing their vibrant crimson hue. Droplets of water cling delicately to the smooth skin, enhancing the allure of these succulent fruits.This cultivar requires 700-800 chill hours below 45°F to bear fruit.

To set fruit, these cherry trees need at least 700-800 chill hours at a temperature of 45°F (7°C) or below. They will do best at temperatures between 65-80°F (18-29°C), will cope with the occasional hot temperature up to 95°F (35°C), and are hardy down to 15°F (-9°C).


A close-up of a drooping branch from a cherry tree, adorned with lush leaves that gracefully frame clusters of ripe, dark fruits. The branch's curvature invites admiration, showcasing nature's artistry in this bountiful display of foliage and fruit.The sweet cherry varieties struggle in high humidity conditions.

Any of the sweet cherry varieties like this one do not do well in high humidity. Highly humid conditions can lead to fungal diseases that cause severe problems.


A gardener wearing pink gloves holds bright yellow fertilizer granules, ready to nurture a young cherry sapling. A green tub brimming with additional fertilizer granules sits nearby, awaiting their turn to enhance the garden's fertility. Apply balanced fertilizer for cherry trees annually in early spring around the root zone.

Fertilize annually for the best growth and performance. This should be done in early spring, just before new growth appears. Use a balanced fertilizer like 10:10:10 and apply it around the root zone, keeping it at least six inches away from the trunk.


A close-up of a bunch of 'Black Tartarian' cherries, ripe and vibrant, nestled among green leaves. In the backdrop, a blur of more cherries and foliage adds to the sense of abundance and natural beauty.‘Black Tartarian’ trees require only annual feeding and pruning for maintenance once established.

Once established, ‘Black Tartarian’ trees are low maintenance. It will just take an annual feeding and pruning to keep it in tip-top shape.


A hand holding green pruning shears, carefully trimming a cherry tree branch, creating a meticulous garden. Sunlight illuminates the tranquil scene, highlighting the lush greenery, enhancing the beauty of nature's delicate balance.Trimming cherry trees to form a vase-like shape necessitates the use of accurate equipment.

Pruning a cherry tree is done to keep the tree compact, remove any damaged, diseased, or crossing branches, and get light into the center of the tree so that fruit can form. It is a simple process, and it can be done by looking at all the possible angles at which sunlight falls through the tree. For lots of fruit, each branch that has the potential to flower needs the maximum amount of sunlight daily.

Clearing out the center of the tree to form a vase shape is sometimes the best way to achieve this goal. Use a sharp pair of pruners, loppers, or tree saws and cut the branches at an angle. Make sure to clean the tools well before moving to another tree to prevent the spread of potential diseases and viruses.


A series of black trays filled with plump 'Black Tartarian' cherries stretches out, their deep hue contrasting sharply against the containers. In the backdrop, rows of cherry trees fade into a soft blur, hinting at the lush orchard surroundings.Determining cherry ripeness involves observing their color change and conducting a taste test.

In early summer, you will see the beginning of red cherries turning darker and becoming ready for picking. Cherries will not ripen off the tree so it’s important to ensure they are fully ripe before harvesting.

A taste test is often the best way to make sure, and it is fun, too. Twist the stems, and if they come off easily, they are ready.

Common Problems

If all the basic requirements for growing this cherry variety are met, it’s unlikely to suffer any problems. Most pests and diseases occur when a tree is stressed because of limited water, overwatering, over-fertilizing, or poor air circulation from not pruning. For the sake of completeness, we have mentioned some potential pests and diseases that may occur for this variety of cherry trees. The only other problem may be to fight off the birds and other animals from eating the ripened fruit. Bird netting will help solve that problem.


Look out for pests like cherry aphids, cherry fruit flies, leaf-mining moths, winter moth caterpillars, and borers.

Cherry Aphids

A close-up reveals cherry leaves covered in cherry aphids, tiny pests infesting the foliage. The aphids, small and black, cluster together, extracting nutrients from the leaves, evident through their dark presence against the green backdrop.These pests are identifiable by their black color and found under leaves.

Cherry aphids are easy to see as they are black and attach themselves to the underside of leaves. They will suck the sap from the leaves and cause them to die off quite quickly. If they are not destroyed, it can also encourage black sooty mold.

Beneficial insect predators are helpful in controlling aphids, and a jet of water may dislodge them. Only use insecticides as a last resort on anything edible.

Cherry Fruit Flies

A bright yellow sticky fly paper hangs from a cherry branch, attracting numerous cherry fruit flies. The tree boasts green leaves and ripe red cherries, forming a picturesque scene of nature's bounty and insect capture.Immediate chemical control measures are employed to combat infestations of cherry fruit flies.

Cherry fruit flies attack ripening fruit and can infect your whole harvest. The larvae burrow into the fruit, causing huge damage and making it inedible. Action must be taken at the first indication of a fruit fly infestation. Chemical control is required in most cases, and follow-ups are essential as the eggs hatch in stages.

Two types of borer are known to attack cherry trees, the peach tree borer and shothole borer. These pests eat wood, which affects the tree’s trunk and branches, which can be seen by the holes they punch into the wood. Sometimes, a sticky substance is released. They tunnel through the trunk, upsetting the natural flow of water and nutrients throughout the tree and ultimately causing it to die.

It is a difficult pest to control, so the best management solution is to take care of water and nutrients to avoid such pests taking hold. Sometimes, a preventative spray can be used, but it must be applied at the right time to be helpful. It’s best to consult an expert in severe cases.


Various moths lay their eggs on cherry trees, and their larvae can cause issues. However, if you catch them early, you can stop any damage that can occur. Leaf miners leave trails through leaf tissue. When you see trails through leaves, remove them and throw them away. Do not compost them, as this will exacerbate the problem.

Winter moths cause problems with fruit development, as larvae hatch from the inner bark of the tree, and climb to feed on buds just as they open. To prevent these, use horticultural oil in late winter or early spring as temperatures remain above 45°F (7°C). This smothers them. Bt and spinosad can be used at bud break to treat any visible caterpillars. However, this can affect pollinators as well. The best treatment is prevention through removal of fallen leaves where moths overwinter.


Certain diseases to look out for are cherry leaf spot, brown rot, and bacterial canker that tend to attack cherry trees.

Cherry Leaf Spot

A close-up of a green leaf with distinct cherry leaf spots scattered across its surface, showcasing signs of disease. In the background, a soft blur reveals an array of other leaves, adding depth to the image's composition.Ensure proper air circulation in plants to prevent cherry leaf spots.

Cherry leaf spot can be seen in the purple spots on the leaves’ upper side. As the infected leaves fall off, they carry the fungus with them and will survive a winter in the pile. The fallen leaves then infect other trees.

As a preventative measure, ensure the tree has proper air circulation and enough sunlight. The fallen leaves must be collected and burnt, and the tree must be treated with a suitable fungicide.

Brown Rot

A sunlit cherry branch stretches out, adorned with vibrant green leaves. However, a few leaves display hints of brown, indicating the presence of brown rot disease. In the background, a blur of lush greenery adds to the natural ambiance.The brown rot is caused by fungal infection due to spring rainfall.

Brown rot is a condition that results from continued heavy rainfall during spring, high humidity, and high temperatures. This fungal infection attacks the buds of the flowers and then moves onto the leaves and twigs next to them. A suitable fungicide is recommended for the treatment of this disease.

Bacterial Canker

A close-up of a cherry tree's trunk and branches reveals a rich, dark brown hue, highlighting the intricate textures of the bark. However, the presence of bacterial canker is evident, with visible lesions, indicating the tree's distress and compromised health.The bacterial canker causes dark areas to form at the bud bases of cherry trees.

Bacterial canker is a disease that often affects cherry trees in particular. It affects the branches, buds, leaves, and fruit by forming dark areas at the base of buds with a sticky substance. This disease is more active in spring and fall. Leaves and buds wilt and die.

Treatment should include an appropriate copper-based product. Preventative measures included making sure damaged tree limbs are removed and that the tree is not waterlogged in soils with poor drainage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Experts agree that ‘Stella’ is the best tree to add to your collection as a pollinator for this variety.

A position with full sun is essential; this variety does not tolerate shade. Soil should be fertile or well-draining, and it is best if it is north and east-facing.

With their rich, nearly black color and sweet fruit taste, these cherries are best eaten fresh but can also be preserved for pie and cake fillings.

Final Thoughts

The color alone of ‘Black Tartarian’ cherries makes me want to plant one. They are vibrant and colorful and make excellent garden specimens. Cherry blossoms in spring and rich, sweet fruit in summer, what’s not to like?

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