The ‘Bali’ cherry tree in our front yard is weighed down with hundreds of big, sour cherries. Birds love these cherries even more than people do, so some kind of protection is necessary if I want any cherry pie this summer. As I discovered the first couple of years we had the tree, the birds will clean it out in a single day the moment the cherries get ripe.
This covering is a jerryrigged affair involving a row cover and a couple of pieces of bird netting clipped together with my new favorite tool—spring-fired clamps, which I bought at the local big box and also used in my home-made greenhouse.
Also called ‘Evans’ cherry, ‘Bali’ is a dwarf tree, so it is not expected to get more than 10 to 15 feet tall. It’s a result of Canadian research and is considered one of the best fruit trees for northern gardens. Mine is about 6 feet tall at four years in the ground (planted from a tree in a 1 gallon pot). It’s a very healthy tree. I never spray it and only occasionally give it some fish emulsion fertilizer. The wire around the base is to protect the trunk from voles—my latest varmint threat. ‘Bali’ is known for its amazing production of cherries, with mature trees producing up to five 5-gallon pails of fruit each year. Last year was the first year I harvested any cherries off the tree, and got more than 15 cups. This year, the branches are drooping under the big load of green cherries on them. Going by last year’s harvest date, I expect to pick them around the 15th of July.
The funny thing is, just as they did last year, the birds in our yard raised a huge ruckus after we put the cover on the tree. The squawking was deafening, which makes you wonder how much they know. They won’t starve, however. We have a bumper crop of highbush cranberries and lots of berries on the new cotoneaster I planted in our backyard. Let them eat berries!