Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What Fertilizers and Sprays Should I Use?
__Fertilizer Answer: The fertilizer you use should depend on the soil conditions in your orchard. Conditions can vary considerably. Cherry trees like an alkaline and well drained soil. If you want to provide the best environment for your trees, you should perform a soil sample test, so the fertilizer you ultimately use provides the best conditions and adjusts for any deficiencies uncovered in the test. Many of the commercial companies selling fertilizers to farms and orchards can perform this test for you when you bring them soil samples taken from different places around your orchard. They can help interpret the test results and suggest a proper fertilizer mix to adjust your soil to an acceptable "ph" level for cherry trees. Many local universities and testing labs can perform this same service.
__Spray Answer: The sprays you should use will depend on what harmful cherry tree pests live in your area. If you have commercial orchards in your area, you might ask one of the owners what pests they must control and what chemicals they use. If you don't have this option, you should go to your local fruit tree nursery and ask them what known local pests should be controlled. They can suggest chemicals and sprays that will control the pests and the spraying intervals and best application times.
NOTE: Always read and follow carefully the chemical's label for proper handling and application since many of these chemicals can be very toxic when applied incorrectly.
Question: How Much Should I Prune Off My Trees Each Year?
__Answer: The art of pruning depends upon the age of your tree, how much new wood your tree produces that year, and the type system you decide to train your tree to use, "Central Leader" or "Open Vase Type". These are very common systems. Most cherry growers prefer to prune the tree in the winter when the tree is dormant and the temperature is above 20 degrees farenheit. Removing some of the oldest wood, and a good amount of the new wood, each year encourages the tree to continue to produce new wood each year. Wood that is 2 years old usually starts producing fruit. Limbs must be open enough for sunlight to reach most of the leaves. Wood pointing down towards the ground should be removed. The art of pruning is probably the biggest contributor to growing large, beautiful fruit. If you want a printed source that covers just about everything from A-Z on planting, fertilizing, watering, pruning, spraying and caring for cherry trees, you might consider the following publication. Your local bookstore, if it does not have it on the shelf, should be able to order it for you if you provide them the following information.
__Title: Cherries: "Crop Physiology, Production and Uses"
__Editors: A.D. Webster & N.E. Looney
__Publisher: CAB International
__ISBN #: 0 85198 936 5
Question: Can You Help Me Plan My Wedding In An Orchard During Bloom?
__Answer: Our organization does not offer this service. You will have to contact individual orchards to see if they have the ability to provide this service to you.
However: since full bloom cannot be accurately determined to an exact day because of Mother Nature, your wedding might not happen on the most suitable and beautiful day.
Also: weather conditions are not predictable, so an outdoor wedding in an orchard might be spoiled by rain or cold weather.
And Most Importantly: During bloom there are BEES in the orchards helping pollinate the cherry blossoms and your guests might not appreciate the possibility of being stung before, during or after the ceremony.
Our Suggestion: -----BEE AWARE!!----TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK!!
Question: Do You Sell Dried Or Frozen Cherries?
__Answer The Flathead Lake Cherry Grower's Co-Op does not dry or freeze cherries. Some of the roadside stands may have them from time to time or check out the Mission Mountain Market in Ronan, Montana.
Question: Where Can I Buy Pie (Tart) Cherries?
__Answer: Some of our Sweet Cherry Growers also have a few Pie (Tart) Cherry trees. If they do, you will find these available at the roadside stands, or possibly with some of our growers you can contact by "clicking" on Retail Sellars on our main menu, where you will see a list you might call to see if they have Pie (Tart) Cherries available.
Question: Where Are The Roadside Stands Around Flathead Lake?
___Driving south out of Bigfork, Montana or north out of Polson, Montana on MT Hwy 35 you will see roadside stands and signs for Flathead Cherries.
___Driving south out of Kalispell, or North out of Polson on MT Hwy 93 you will also see signs and roadside stands for Flathead Cherries.
___To get exact driving instructions, look at the list of FLCG growers offering "small order sales" and/or roadside stands by clicking on the website's Menu item called "Retail Sellers". Their phone numbers and general location can be found there and you can call one of them in the area you prefer for driving instructions to their orchards and stands.
Question: Where Can I Find Blue Cherries?
__Answer: We assume you are trying to color-coordinate cherries for a special event, like a Wedding. While we know of no blue variety of cherries, our suggestion would be to melt white chocolate, color it blue, dip the cherries in the melted chocolate and allow the chocolate to set-up again. Keep them well refrigerated until serving so they do not spoil.
Question: Can I buy Small Quantities of Flathead Cherries?
__Answer: If you wish to buy small quantities for personal use, you can visit any of the many road stands around Flathead Lake during harvest season.
if you wish to purchase small amounts and have them shipped to you or friends, you can "click" on "Retail Sellers" on our website's main menu and it will give you a list of our growers and their phone numbers who have indicated they would be happy to try to accomodate your order.
Question: How Can I buy Large Quanties of Flathead Cherries?
__Answer: If you want to buy large quantities of Montana Flathead Cherries for your store or other commercial venture, you can contact DOMEX, our sales agency, at 509-966-1814.
Question: When Are The Cherries Harvested?
__Answer: Flathead Cherries usually harvest from about the 2nd week in July through the 2nd week in August depending upon the variety and orchard location around Flathead Lake.
Question: When Do Cherry Blossoms Bloom In The Flathead?
__Answer: Cherry Trees in the Flathead usually bloom anytime from early to mid May. Because of the different weather patterns around the lake, bloom usually starts earlier at the south end of Flathead Lake and moves north.
Question: How can I purchase Flathead Cherry Trees?
__Answer: "Flathead" is not a variety of cherry tree. Flathead refers to the region around Montana's famous Flathead Lake where many varieties of cherries are grown. Some of those varieties include Lapin, Sweetheart, Rainier, Van, Stella, Lambert and Skeena. Go to you local tree nursery and make sure any variety you may have interest in planting is a variety that is suitable and proven to grow well in your local soil and climate conditions. Your local University or State Department of Agriculture websites can be a good source where you can usually find information regarding tree variety, planting, fertilizing, pruning, controlling flies and bugs that can harm your trees and fruit, and other information that will help you best care for your cherry trees.