Growing sweet cherries is challenging but rewarding. Sweet cherry trees are more sensitive to cold than other fruit trees and require longer chilling. The high tunnel system provides an ideal environment for the sweet cherry tree to thrive.
High tunnels may be a solution for you if you want to grow sweet cherries in your orchard. High tunnels use semi-heated plastic constructed to allow light and air circulation but block out cold weather and pests, making them ideal for growing fruit in cold climates.
Growing sweet cherries in a high tunnel system can save you money and make harvesting easier. This blog post will show you the factors you need to consider when growing cherries under a high tunnel system. Before that, let’s clear the air of what a high tunnel is first off.
What’s A High Tunnel System
A high tunnel is a low-cost, temporary structure used to extend the growing season for plants. It can be used for just about any plants you want to grow on your farm. High tunnels are made of plastic and are either hoop-style or arched. The size of the high tunnel will depend on what you’re growing and how many plants you want to grow within it.
The most basic high tunnel design consists of hoops attached with plastic sheeting or polyethylene film. The hoops are connected in a circular shape, creating an archway covered with plastic sheeting or polyethylene film. This creates an enclosed space where plants can grow during the winter months without worrying about heavy snow, frost, or other harsh conditions that would destroy sweet cherries.
Benefits of Growing Sweet Cherries Under High Tunnel Systems
You do not have to incur heating expenses. This is one of the main reasons they are a popular alternative to traditional greenhouses. Some high tunnels also use fans to help circulate air and keep plants healthy no matter the weather.
High tunnels are beneficial for gardens and farms because they allow farmers to grow plants earlier and later in the season than would be possible otherwise. They also help farmers produce a wider variety of crops because it is easier to control temperature, humidity, and light levels inside the high tunnel than outdoors.
In addition, plants grown inside high tunnels have less exposure to pests, so you can enjoy better-tasting cherries when you harvest your vegetables or fruit from your high tunnel.
The cost of a high tunnel is well worth it for the benefits you gain from having one. In addition to extending your growing season and allowing you to grow more varieties of crops, high tunnels can also be used for passive solar heating and for keeping livestock warm during the winter months. Some people even use their high tunnels as a greenhouse or as a place to store garden tools or other supplies. The possibilities are endless with a high tunnel!
Reasons for Growing Sweet Cherries Under A High Tunnel
High tunnels are ideal for growing herbaceous horticultural crops, increased in value, short in stature, and quick to produce yearly or biennial. One of the few fruits that fit this description is sweet cherry. This is because sweet cherries can command high enough prices in premium market niches to make high tunnel production strategies worthwhile.
Furthermore, even in ideal climates, sweet cherry production can be a risky endeavor due to the potentially disastrous effects of preharvest rain, which causes fruit cracking.
Growing sweet cherries under high tunnels enables you to guarantee your valued customers they can pick tree-ripened cherries regardless of the weather. This saves them the stress of visiting the crowded orchard markets on busy and rainy weekends to focus on other essential things.
It also helps you protect sweet cherries from spring frosts gives you a phenomenal fruit set during the cold month. The technique enables the sweet cherries to ripen earlier so that you can supply the market when the prices are very high. Growing sweet cherries under high tunnels produces bigger fruits that will command premium prices, letting you get your return on investment faster than expected. Also, the method helps to protect sweet cherries from insects pests.
The Main Difference Between High Tunnels Systems and Greenhouses
High tunnel systems are tall greenhouses similar to the low plastic tunnels vegetable farmers build over a row of vegetables to give an upper hand in the spring. The theory was augmented to be used on a larger scale so that short wood shrubs such as sweet cherry trees could be cultivated in large quantities to reduce risks and maximize profits. High tunnels tall enough to accommodate a tractor.
High tunnels are unheated and unventilated without power. The sun’s rays heat the inside much more than the outside temperature, resulting in unparalleled plant growth on the inside. Ventilation is accomplished by opening the ends and rolling up the sides.
Keep Insects out of Your High Tunnels
The main difficulty in your tunnel is keeping the insect at bay. Insect netting and support structures are required.
When the sides are rolled up, insect netting can be placed on the longitudinal sides to prevent insects from entering. You can consider the following when you apply nets or other exclusion strategies in your high tunnels:
- Target the insects you can control. Choose the cloth based on the insect you’re trying to get rid of; don’t try to get rid of all of them. Pest prevention or delayed infestation may be the goal in sustainable production systems.
- Select the net with the right mesh size. You should use fabric with the widest mesh feasible to block the target bug while allowing maximum airflow. Lack of airflow can lead to major disease outbreaks.
- Release natural enemies. Commercially available natural enemies can be released in high tunnels by growers. Green lacewings, which feed on aphids in high tunnels, are active in high tunnels.
- Extend the fabric completely. If you’re utilizing shade cloth with high tunnels, make sure the fabric is fully extended to allow for more airflow. For your cherries, a fully stretched 40 mesh cloth is suitable.
Types of High Tunnel Systems
Two types of high tunnels exist hoop-style high tunnels and arched-style high tunnels. Arched styles are more expensive than hoop style tunnels.
The cost of building a high tunnel varies based on size, location, materials used, and other factors. You choose one based on your budget and the size of your project.
What Happens at the End of Growing Seasons
You are not supposed to dismantle the high tunnel or remove the cover at the end of the growing season. But unless the tunnel is formulated to withstand huge snow loads, roll up the cover at the end of each growing season to stop the snow loads from destroying the structure.
Growing sweet cherries under a high tunnel system is one most essential innovations made by man. It helps sweet cherries commercial growers to produce fruits throughout the year regardless of the weather. With this system in place, producers do not have to worry about pests, diseases, or insects which would be happy to feast on the yield.
If you need help regarding high tunnel systems, get in touch with us at info@Eyouagro.com. We understand all the nitty-gritty details about the tunnel systems, and we’ll be glad to help you.