A black cherry tree can be easily harvested by following a few simple tips. The black cherry has a sharp taste that is less sweet than some of its cousins, but no less tasty. The tartness makes it perfect for baking. Follow these tips to ensure the best harvest.
1. Harvest Timing
You will know when the cherries are ready to harvest because they will reach about 1 cm in diameter and after turning from green to red, they will finally ripen to nearly black.
2. Leave Some Stem
To ensure that your cherries stay good for as long as possible, leave some stem on them when harvesting. A black cherry on its stem will stay fresh for about a week as opposed to only a couple days without the stem.
3. Not Too Much Stem
Do not take too much stem. Connected to the stem is a thicker fruit spur that produces the fruit the next year. If damaged, it could take two years for the fruit to return in that spot if at all.
Be patient with your harvest. As with all fruit trees, the fruit will not ripen all at once. You will need to pick the ripe cherries once every two days for about two weeks.
5. No Leaves
Avoid placing leaves in with your cherries. As black cherry tree leaves wilt, they produce cyanogenic glycosides which convert to hydrogen cyanide if eaten by animals or people. In small amounts, this will make a person ill but can be potentially fatal.