By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Cherrytrees are great options for home gardeners interested in tryingtheir hand at fruit. Care is relatively easy, most trees can be trimmed to besmaller or come in dwarf sizes, and there are many varieties from which tochoose. One of these is the Lapins cherry tree, a tasty sweet cherry with a lotof ideal traits for backyard growing and harvesting.
The Lapins variety of cherry was developed in BritishColumbia, Canada at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre. Researchers crossed Vanand Stellacherry trees to come up with the Lapins cultivar. The aim was toproduce a better sweet cherry, something similar to Bing but with importantimprovements in certain properties.
A Lapins cherry tree produces dark, sweet fruit that is verysimilar to the popular Bingcherry. The cherries about an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. The fleshof the cherries is firm, more so than Bing, and the fruits resist splitting.
Expect to get a harvest from your Lapins cherry tree mid- tolate-summer, usually late June and into August. It will need 800 to 900 chillhours each winter, which is compatible with USDA zones 5 through 9. Best of allfor the home gardener with limited space, this is a self-fertile variety. Youwill not need another cherry tree for pollination and to set fruit.
Lapins cherry care is much like that for other cherry trees.Plant it in soil that drains well, and amend the soil with some compost beforeputting it in the ground.
Make sure your tree is in a spot that gets full sun andgives it room to grow. You can get a dwarf variety, but the standard Lapins rootstockwill grow up to 40 feet (12 meters) tall unless you keep it trimmed to asmaller size.
Wateryour new cherry tree regularly in the first growing season. For thenext and ongoing seasons, you’ll only need to water when rainfall is less thanusual.
Pruningcherries is only really needed once a year, in winter or earlyspring. This will help keep the tree’s shape and size and support good fruitproduction.
Harvest your Lapins cherries when they are fully ripe andready to eat. Cherries ripen on the tree, and while they should be firm anddeep red, the best way to find out if they’re ready is to eat one. Thesecherries are delicious eaten fresh, but they can also be preserved and canned,frozen, or used in baking.
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The Lapins cultivar was developed in Summerland, British Columbia at the Summerland Research Station.  It was one of the varieties developed by the agronomist Karlis O. Lapins, a native of Latvia who did pioneering work in the development of self-fertile cherry cultivars. Though the cultivar was not released until 1983, years after his retirement, it was named in his honor. 
The Lapins cherry tree grows to 2.5 to 4 meters tall, with a 2.5 to 4 meters spread.  It has dense, green foliage and a branch structure conducive to heavy yields.  Like its parent variety Stella, the Lapins cherry is self-fertile and an excellent pollinator for other cherry varieties. 
The fruit of the Lapins cultivar is regarded as very high quality. It turns deep red well before it is ready to pick,  and unlike some varieties it is sweet while still red.  Lapins is a late-season cherry, ripening about 2 weeks later than the Bing cherry.  They are noted for having good split resistance. 
Lapins Sweet Cherry bears large mahogany colored fruits that are sweet and crisp. This variety shows resistance to fruit cracking and to bacterial canker (2 common issues with sweet cherries). It also is one of few sweet cherry varieties that is self-pollinating which makes it an excellent variety for the home grower. It is a popular commercial variety.
We offer Lapins Sweet Cherry on a standard rootstock. They will grow to 20′-25′ tall unless height is controlled by proper pruning.
Enjoyed by birds and raccoons.
Lapins Sweet Cherry is prone to bacterial blight. Do not prune in spring during wet conditions.
Birds (especially robins) can sometimes be an issue when the fruit is nearly ripe. Covering the tree with netting or using scare tactics (hanging shiny metal bird repellent strips in tree) may be necessary to obtain a good crop.
Wisconsin is not a major sweet cherry producing region due to the harsh climate. This cherry tree is successfully being grown in Door county (famous for tart cherry production) and also in S.E. WI. They are not foolproof and will not always produce a nice crop every year. We offer them for sale to those who are willing to take the risk and want to enjoy luscious sweet cherries from their own yard when yearly growing conditions are favorable. Results will be best when planting in a protected site and only planting in areas of zone 5 within the state of Wisconsin.
Lapins Sweet Cherry was developed in British Columbia in 1984 at the Summerland Research Station.