Origin: Garfield Plantation, Aroostook County, Maine
Improvement status: This is true seed from a great cultivar that will not stay exactly true to type. Read more below.
Seeds per packet: ~12
BOTANICAL SAMPLE - NOT GERMINATION TESTED (these start sprouting in the fridge in mid to late winter on their own)
Life cycle: Perennial
'Garfield Plantation' is an extremely cold hardy tart cherry (or "pie cherry") from the small town of Garfield Plantation, population 81, in northern Maine's Aroostook County, grown on one farm for generations. The plant explorers at Fedco introduced this tree to commerce. They report that in 2009, some of these trees flowered and produced fruit just months after a winter that hit -44°! This may just be the most cold-hardy cherry tree there is. And the fruit are as tasty as any other pie cherry. The trees are also not only cold-hardy but disease resistant too. Seed-grown cherries will not be identical to their parents, but will carry many of the same genes, so you are likely to find serious cold-hardiness in this genepool. As with other fruit varieties, every individual you grow will be unique, so if you find one worth propagating, give it a name and start grafting to keep it around!
This seed was produced for us by Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery in Maine.
GROWING TIPS: Keep seed cool and moist until March or later. Check for germination frequently and plant ASAP if germination begins. Starting in containers or nursery beds in spring are both good, protect from rodents.
Trees produce best in full sun on well-drained soil. You may want 15 or more feet between mature trees eventually, but may be best to initially plant baby trees anywhere from 3 to 7.5 feet apart, as some trees could die, and some may grow faster than others, and some may have better fruit than others, and your planting could itself be a selection process. Watch for brown rot in climates where that disease is common. Heavy pruning advised on established trees.