Most people know that cherry trees are beautiful flowering trees that are often planted in gardens. What many people don’t know is that cherry trees also have thorns. And it’s a question that still gets asked today because there are some trees with thorns and others without.
In this article, we will examine the question, do cherry trees have thorns? Well, not all cherry trees do but many do and then will explore the reasons why some cherry trees do and others don’t.
The Explanation of Do Cherry Trees Have Thorns
Cherry trees do have thorns. However, not all cherry trees have them, and those that do often vary greatly among themselves. The first thing you’ll need to know about a thorn is what it is. A thorn is a sharp outgrowth from the stem or leaf of a plant. They’re also known as spines.
Different Types of Cherry Trees and Their Thorns
There are different types of cherry trees, both wild and cultivated varieties that have thorns, such as:
The Bitter Cherry Tree
This is one of the most common types of cherry trees with thorns. However, it only has them on its stems and branches. Its cherries are edible.
The Chokecherry Tree
A similar type of cherry tree has thorns, though only on its stems and branches. Its cherries are also edible but should be cooked before eating to avoid any discomfort in the throat.
The European Cornel Cherry Tree
The European Cornel Cherry Tree is another one of the more popular types of cherry trees. It has thorns, but only on its branches. Its cherries are also edible and have a sweet taste.
The American Plum Tree
It’s not like the European Cornel or Bitter Cherries. It has thorns on its stems, branches, and trunk. Its cherries are edible as well but have a sour taste if eaten raw.
The Wild Cherry Tree
This is another commonly cultivated variety of cherry trees that has thorns. However, like chokecherry, its thorns only grow on stems and branches. Its cherries are also edible with a sweet taste to them.
Why Do Cherry Trees Have Thorns?
There are several reasons why cherry trees, both wild and cultivated varieties, have thorns. The following list covers the most common:
To Protect Themselves
The primary reason that a cherry tree would have thorns is for protection against predators such as deer, squirrels, and other animals who want to eat its fruit or chew on its stems. The sharp thorns are an effective deterrent because they’re extremely uncomfortable to get caught on the skin, mouth, etc.
To Protect Their Surroundings
Another reason why many types of cherry trees have thorns is to protect their surrounding environment. For example, the cherry plum often grows in coastal areas where its habitat would be destroyed if it didn’t have thorns.
The same goes for the European Cornel cherry tree, which often grows on farms and is cultivated to keep away wildlife that wants to eat their crops.
To Protect Their Fruit
Some types of cherry trees have sharp thorns around their fruit because they want to protect their fruit from other animals that might eat it. The chokecherry tree has this type of protection because its cherries are very tasty and popular in the wild, so it must keep them away from hungry predators.
Thorns Are Genetic
Sometimes a thorny cherry tree is simply the result of genetics because like human beings, trees inherit some characteristics from their parents. That’s why there are some types of cherry trees with thorns and others without them even within the same family.
How to Identify a Tree with Thorns?
It is difficult at first glance to distinguish a tree that has thorns from one that doesn’t have them. There are some simple steps you can follow to identify a tree with thorns:
- Check the stem of the tree for any projections, bumps, or ridges. Thorns will project outward from these areas but so do leaf stems. Leaf stems are soft and do not have a sharp point.
- Fruit trees may be used to determine whether a tree has thorns or not. If you see small, yellow cherries on your tree, it is likely to be a cherry tree, but if these cherries resemble a rosehip, then chances are it’s a rose hip tree.
- The bark of a tree usually gives away whether or not it has thorns because it is rough and uneven in comparison to a non-thorn-bearing tree. If you inspect the trunk carefully, you may see that there are also ridges or bumps on the stem.
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How to Pick a Perfectly Ripe Cherry from a Tree with Thorns?
Getting rid of the thorns isn’t always an option because that would mean brushing them against bark and stem and there’s no way to do that without the possibility of getting pricked. So if you want to pick a ripe cherry from a tree with thorns, here are some tips:
Look For Bright Red Fruit
If you look at your black cherry tree and brown, it means they’re not ripe yet. If you see the bright red fruit, then chances are they’re ripe and ready to eat, but keep in mind some fruit takes longer than others to ripen, so follow other steps.
Pick the Fruit and Give It a Soft Squeeze
You can tell if your cherry is ripe if it gives way easily when you press on it, but again this isn’t always the case so see steps three and four.
Take a smell of them
They smell like fresh cherries, so they’re probably ripe, but sometimes cherries have a strong odor even when they are still green so look at step four.
Inspect the Stem
You’ll see a little brown bump on the stem where the fruit sits, and then this means they’re ripe and you can pick them with ease. If there is no little brown bump or it seems to be gone entirely, then it means the cherries are still unripe and should not be eaten.
Use Your Judgment
If you’re inexperienced with cherry trees or just don’t want to take any chances, then grab a ladder and pick them from the tree yourself. Just make sure that no one is underneath you when you do this because dropping fruit from a height could have serious consequences.
If you can’t reach them from the ground, then consider buying a good cherry pitter and making a day of it with your friends and family to pick fruit together.
How to Care For a Thorny Cherry Tree?
Once you’ve picked the ripe fruit, it’s important to know how to take care of a tree with thorns so that this doesn’t happen again.
Ensure the Tree Has Enough Sunlight
Even though cherry blossom tree needs more sunlight than others, too much shade can interfere with their growth. If your tree isn’t receiving enough sunlight, consider pruning branches so it can grow to be the size you want.
Prune Away Dead Leaves
If you have a cherry tree with thorns, there’s a greater chance some branches may die and turn brown or black in color. If this happens, don’t ignore it because these branches could harm you when you’re walking underneath the tree. Instead, prune them back so they can’t pose a threat to you and keep the tree in optimal living condition by removing any type of dead foliage or fruit that may have fallen from it.
Check for Disease
Cherry trees are more susceptible to certain diseases, including blights and viral infections. If you see any brown patches of infected foliage, remove them immediately and call a cherry tree specialist for further advice on keeping your plant healthy.
Adding organic material to the soil around your tree is an excellent way to maintain its health but also provides nutrients that may be missing in the soil. Whether you decide to use pine needles, bark, or another type of mulch, this will help keep the soil moist and give your cherry tree nutrients that it may not receive from fertilizers.
Even though some types of cherry trees are drought-resistant, all types benefit greatly from regular watering during dry periods. Ensure the soil is damp before adding mulch to the base of your tree so it can soak in additional moisture.
Once you have done all these things, your tree will be sure to grow strong and have fewer problems with its thorns, which makes it much safer for anyone near it.
Cherry trees are known for their thorns, but they can also be a major pain to care for. If you want the best chance of producing quality fruit, then make sure that your tree is getting enough sunlight and pruning away dead branches as needed. Keep an eye out for any signs of disease or infection, so you know how to prevent them from spreading too far up the tree. After picking ripe cherries off the ground or climbing high into a cherry tree with thorns, it’s essential to take care of this plant by watering regularly and adding mulch every few weeks.