Montmorency is an old tart cherry variety that originated in Europe (supposedly France) and was brought to the U.S. in the 19th century. It has become the #1 tart cherry variety commercially grown in the U.S. and Canada. Noted for its very high yields of light colored red fruits that are yellow fleshed with a mild cherry flavor.
Relished by birds and raccoons.
This cherry variety does grow a little taller (18′) than most other tart cherry varieties (12′-15′). Not an issue commercially but for the home grower who wants to easily net the tree for bird protection it is a problem. While most cherry trees are grown with a central leader, this variety is perhaps best vase pruned for the home grower to provide better height control and easier picking.
Birds are the major issue. Netting the tree or using any other bird scare tactics (hanging shiny metal strips in trees) may be necessary in order to get a good crop.
This variety is also somewhat prone to cherry leaf spot which can defoliate the trees by late summer. Preventative fungicide sprays can be applied to prevent or slow the spread of this fungal issue.
Montmorency is the most common tart cherry variety grown in the U.S. The state of Michigan and also Door County, Wisconsin are some of the major production areas of tart cherries in the U.S. It is no longer the only tart cherry variety grown in Door County but it still is the variety grown the most by volume. Montmorency is a ‘amarelle’ type cherry which has a lighter skin color and yellow flesh. It has a milder flavor than “morello’ type cherry varieties which have a darker flesh and very strong cherry flavor (preferred by the European market).
Montmorency is self-pollinating.