Sweet cherry trees (Prunus avium) are attractive and productive fruit trees in a home or commercial orchard. Since they are less tolerant of bitter winter cold, too warm winters and summer heat, they are a bit more finicky to grow than sour or tart cherry trees. Grow New Star in full sun in a deep, fertile soil that is moist but has good drainage of irrigation and rain water. It grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5 through 8 and in Sunset climate zones 2, 6 though 9 and 14 and 15.
Developed in 1988 at the Summerland Research Station in British Columbia, Canada, New Star is a variety of sweet cherry. It was bred and selected as a seedling with a genetic lineage to variety Stella, which is the first self-fertile sweet cherry developed in 1970 according to the authors of "Fruit Breeding: Tree and Tropical Fruits."
Typically, sweet cherry cultivars are not self-fertile, meaning they produce fruits without the need for other compatible varieties of sweet cherry trees to promote good cross-pollination. Stella was further genetically manipulated and bred to yield a collection of many self-fertile sweet cherry trees that are on the market today. Examples include Lapins, Starkrimson and Sunburst as well as New Star.
New Star is a deciduous fruit tree that is often grown grafted upon a dwarfing rootstock. It produces its flowers in early spring before the leaves have fully emerged, and pollinated blossoms develop into firm, red cherries ready for harvest in early to mid-season. Based on comments from web site of fruit tree nurseries in both Argentina and Italy, the fruits of New Star are ready to harvest about three weeks before the summer solstice. The fruit is spicy sweet with a dark red flesh.
While planting a lone New Star cherry tree does not ensure a good fruit set, the fact this variety is self-fertile makes home orchard development easier. Rather than having to research compatible sweet cherry trees to ensure bees facilitate a timely pollination, gardeners merely have to plant a small grove of only 'New Star' cherries to produce a satisfactory fruit crop.
Sweet cherry trees need minimal pruning maintenance, only to maintain a good branching structure and overall canopy shape. Netting over the canopy as the immature fruits develop deters hungry birds from destroying yields. Depending on your climate, monitor for fungal diseases, particularly on foliage as well on bare twigs in fall and spring to prevent brown rot and blossom blight according to the "Sunset Western Garden Book." New Star cherry blooms very early in spring and often the blossoms can be damaged or fully destroyed by untimely seasonal frosts. Also site trees out of winds.