Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

Hansen Bush Cherry Sets Fruit with Manure Tea

September 16, 2001

by SEYMOUR MILLS

At the orchard tour at my place someone said  that Hansen Bush Cherry did not fruit in Anchorage.  Guess what?  Mine have fruit on them this year.  They are a tear drop shape.  I have had one 4 or 5 years and another 2 or 3 years.  Each has flowered every year but weren’t coordinated.  This year I set them touching each other and each have a number of fruit.  Somewhere I read that it takes 2 or more plants.  I am going to get 3 or 4 more and plant close enough to touch in a double row or group.

I only have about a dozen fruit for the first time on my Hansen Bush Cherry and they are still green and hard, so I will have to wait and see about ripening.  I think the main problem I have is that the plants are still in pots, and they are root bound.  I had 2 American, 1 York and 1Nova Elderberry in pots for at least 3 years, and they only flowered very late and never fruited.  This year I repotted with good rich manure compost and they really grew and have unripe fruit on several flower heads.  I feel that if I had repotted earlier this year or if they were in the ground they would have fruited earlier.  This is probably the problem with the Hansen Bush Cherry, too; because they were stressed the blossoms didn’t fruit.  A consequence of not having enough time to prepare a permanent planting spot!

 

I watered better this year, by setting each pot in a large container of water to soak and using a good strong pigeon manure tea.  I think this is probably why the Hansen blossoms set fruit this year, even though they are stressed.  I strongly believe in manure compost and tea.  The tea works fast, and the compost lasts a long time.  The manure tea really made good growth this year for me for both my trees and vegetables.  I used pigeon manure tea only twice in May on my trees.  On the vegetables I dug in last years sheep and goat manure/bedding before planting into my pick-up tire planters the first of June, then watered twice in July with pigeon manure tea.  I will use it earlier next year.  The tea made them really jump.  Over in the Middle East they keep pigeons just for the fertilizer.  In the book The Pigeon by Levy he tells how in the early part of this century, when they were building their squab production facility in South Carolina, they paid for all of the building additions by selling pigeon manure primarily to Florists, who preferred pigeon manure for fertilizer.