CHERRY OF THE RIO GRANDE
Fruit: The delicious, dark red-purple fruits are cherry-like in flavour and make a great substitute for those growing in warm climates such as the Illawarra. They ripen a few weeks from flowering.
Growth Habit: The Cherry of the Rio Grande is a beautiful yet tough, fast-growing, multi-branched small tree/shrub reaching about 4-5m in height.
Foliage/Flowers: The attractive leaves are dark glossy-green and folded slightly in the centre. The flowers are showy and white. They are self-fertile so only one tree is needed to set fruit.
Adaptation: This attractive tree is quite hardy and easy to grow. It has good wind resistance and could be grown as a small wind break. Grow in full sun for maximum productivity.
Soils : Tolerant of a variety of soils, but grows best in slightly acidic soils.
Irrigation : The tree is drought tolerant but regular watering is needed to ensure a good crop during flowering and fruit development. Mulching will reduce water loss from its shallow root structure.
Pruning : Pruning is not really necessary for this tree other than to remove dead or diseased wood. It can be pruned to form a decorative hedge.
Propagation : Typically grown from seed, though seedlings may take 5 years to fruit. Seedlings generally come true-to-type.
Pests and diseases : Generally trouble free. Birds are probably the main pests for anyone growing this tree.
Harvest: Harvest when fruits turn a deep purple color. The fruit can be eaten fresh or frozen for later use or used in jellies, jams and juices. Harvest Oct-Nov.