The Stella is a medium-sized dark, sweet cherry and the tree is hardy and vigorous, according to Purdue University. Most cherry trees are not self-fruitful, meaning they require a second tree in their vicinity in order for their flowers to become pollinated and produce fruit. However, the Stella cherry is considered self-fertile, which makes it easier for gardeners with smaller yards to have success growing cherries. Proper fertilizer will result in the largest harvest.
Cherries are even more popular in the Middle East and Europe than they are in the United States. Wild trees still grow in the areas surrounding the Black and Caspian Seas, according to Virginia Tech University, and they have been cultivated in countries such as Greece since 300 B.C. Early American colonists brought cherry seeds with them to New England. The Stella cherry is a cross between two cherry varieties known as Lambert and John Innes Seeding. The Canadian Department of Agriculture Research Station introduced the Stella to British Columbia in 1968.
Along with the other varieties of sweet cherries, the Stella provides a healthy dose of vitamin A, calcium and phosphorus. One pound of Stella cherries contains 2815 I.U. of vitamin A, which is nearly the recommended daily amount for men over the age of 19 and over the recommended daily amount for women, according to the National Institutes of Health website. Other nutrients that sweet cherries contain include iron, thiamine, ascorbic acid, niacin, riboflavin and protein.
Not only is the Stella cherry normally productive, with abundant sweet fruit, it is also relatively easy to grow. If your soil contains organic matter such as compost, the tree will need only one application of a high-nitrogen fertilizer each year. Unlike other types of cherries, the Stella was the first variety developed that does not require a second tree to pollinate its flowers. It will be easy to convince children to eat the nutritious fruit because it is sweet and juicy.
Soil Fertility and pH
Soils high in organic matter will provide the Stella cherry tree with most of the nutrients needed to grow strong and healthy and produce the maximum amount of fruit. Purdue University advises growers to conduct a soil test to determine exactly what type (or types) of fertilizer will benefit their trees. Soil pH between 6.2 and 6.8 is best for Stella cherry trees, according to Virginia Tech University.
If your soil is healthy, the only fertilizer your Stella cherry tree will need is a nitrogen plant food. Purdue University reports that it is difficult to advise Stella cherry growers exactly how much fertilizer to use because of the tree's growth pattern, climate and differing types of soils and soil fertility. In general, the recommendation is to give each Stella tree 0.1 lbs. of actual nitrogen per year for each year of the tree's age, with the maximum recommended amount being 1 lb. per year. Stella cherry trees can also benefit from potassium. A balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 12-12-12 will give the tree the nitrogen and potassium it needs.