The Black Cherry is widespread across the Midwest and can be found in mixed hardwood forests, along side maple, walnuts, and beeches. This tree is fast growing, and can grow upwards of 100 feet, with dark green leaves, with a slightly hairy midrib towards the stem. The leaves have serrated edges, are narrow and alternate. In late Spring the Black Cherry blossom with beautiful, long, bushy clusters of white flowers. The bark of the young Black Cherry is dark gray, nearly black, and scored with horizontal pores. As the tree matures, the bark becomes rough and shaggy, almost like “burnt potato chips”. The fruits are smaller than the cultivated cherry, and appear in late summer. They grow in clusters of up to two dozen, per bunch, as small pea-sized dark cherries.
Found in a variety of soils, preferring moist fertile conditions on north or east facing slopes or protected coves; dry woods. Can be planted as a woodland garden canopy, as their tops are thick. Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil]. Requires a warm sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. A fast-growing and moderately long-lived tree in the wild.
When planting more than one cherry tree of a standard size, place each tree between 20 and 30 feet apart. Smaller trees should be placed about 8 to 12 feet apart. Proper spacing ensures that each cherry tree receive enough sun and soil nutrients. The soil should be on the acidic side. You can add fertilizer in the spring before the tree blossoms.
Black cherries are enjoyed by wildlife, producing a delightful late summer fruit, that is
tart and slightly savory. The fruit can be made into preserves, pies, wine, fruit leather vinegar, and just a healthful beverage. The young branch tips can be used to make a bitter almond-flavored extract that can be used in baking projects. The spicy bitter flavor can also be used in cocktails and mixed drinks. The fruit can be turned into a juice concentrate and drank daily as a nervous system tonic, improving sleep, and calms the mind. The Juice can also be consumed daily for arthritic pains, protecting artery walls, preventing plaque formation on teeth, and is very high in Iron.