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Taking Stock of the Cherry Tree

Cherries

Taking Stock of the Cherry Tree

Faster growing and smaller, new cherry trees make for an easier harvest.

Sweet cherry trees can be precocious plants, taking up to four to six years to flower and produce fruit for harvest. Amy Iezzoni, a professor in the Department of Horticulture and the 2019 Innovator of the year winner at the Innovation Celebration, put her research in rootstock development to work to transform sweet cherry trees to mature in two to three years. Not only that, but Iezzoni’s trees are also smaller and easier to harvest; thanks to their low height—laborers will not need ladders. 

It is a game-changer for the cherry industry. Not only will the dwarf trees be ready to harvest, it will be easier to do so, reducing labor costs. While Northern Michigan is known for its tart cherry production, Iezzoni is hopeful that her rootstock development studies could transfer to that industry, too.

“Beyond my work,” Iezzoni said, “we’re helping elevate what can be done in other crops through breeding.” 

Author: Liam Boylan-Pett

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MSU Innovation Center: Taking Stock of the Cherry Tree

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