Chelan cherries is an early season cherry variety developed by Washington State Universities Prosser Research and Extension Center. The parent cultivars are Stella and Beaulieu. It is one of the first to be harvested in the Pacific Northwest each year. It is very similar to Bing cherry, you can't easily tell the two apart, both are heart-shaped, chelan is a tad darker. It is does however have some advantages over Bing. They ripen on average 10-12 days before Bing and are not as prone to cracking, is more heat and disease resistant.
Prune dwarf virus [ aka trim dwarf infection ] is one disease it is not resistant to, in the 90s a widespread outbreak nearly decimated the cultivar. Since that time trees are grafted onto certified disease-free stock, Sweet Mazzard is the root stock predominantly used.
In the case of flavor, they are also similar to Bing cherry, some say not as sweet. They are darker than Bing, a dark mahogany red, classified as a black cherry.
Chelan is not self pollinating and needs a suitable cultivar nearby to bear fruit. Suitable pollinators include Rainier, Lapins, Bing and Index.
Hardy in zone 4 - 5
Chill Hours 400 to 500 hours MINIMUM chill hours to bear fruit
Mature Height 16-18 ft. upright, vigorous habit
Mature Spread 10-14 ft.
Soil Type Well drained
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Growth Rate Vigorous
Bloom Time April
Bloom Color White
Fruiting Time Minimum 4 to 5 year
Fruit Color: Mahogany / Red-Purple
Fruit ripens Mid to Late May
Fruit Size Slightly over 1 inch diameter
Fruit Taste Sweet Aprox. 16% sugars when fully ripe
Fruit Yield is above average , commercial growers need to thin crops to enhance quality
Disease: Fair Resistance to most common issues except Prune dwarf virus, Bacterial Canker and Black Knot are not unheard of.
Pests: Japanese Beetles. Cherry Fruit, Aphids, Spider mites, Western cherry fruit fly in some areas.