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Pests & Diseases
Pests of concern include the American plum borer, aphids, various fruit flies, leafhoppers, maggots, slug larvae, spotted wing drosophila, European red mites, lesser peachtree borer, and plum curculio.

The western cherry fruit fly and cherry leafhopper are two of the more serious pests. The western cherry fruit fly lays eggs that turn into maggots inside the fruit, potentially infesting every cherry on the tree.

The cherry leafhopper is of particular concern because it can spread cherry buckskin disease. Symptoms vary depending on rootstock, but can include pale, curling foliage, pits and grooves in the tree’s wood, and sparse foliage. Fruit may also be lighter colored and with a characteristic leathery texture (i.e., buckskin).

Cherries are also susceptible to blue mold, bacterial canker, black knot, grey mold, powdery mildew, and various types of rot. A more recent threat is the simply named ‘little cherry disease’ which produces small, sour fruit lacking proper color.

Storage & Packaging
Fresh market sweet cherries have a storage life of 2 to 3 weeks at 30 to 32°F and 90 to 95% relative humidity. Fresh market sour cherries have a storage life of 3 to 7 days at 32°F and 90 to 95% relative humidity. Cherries do produce a small amount of ethylene, but are not responsive to ethylene for ripening.

References: Cornell University, PennState Extension, Purdue University, University of California Cooperative Extension, University of Kentucky, Washington State University, Western Growers Association.

GRADES & GOOD ARRIVAL

Sweet cherries for the fresh market are graded as either U.S. No. 1 or U.S. Commercial; the former must have similar varietal characteristics and be mature, fairly well colored and formed, clean, free from decay, insect larvae or holes, sunscald, or other damage, as well as not soft, overripe, shriveled, or be an undeveloped double.

Regarding size, unless otherwise specified, minimum diameter shall be not less than .75 inch each. Sour or tart cherries (canned or frozen) and sweet cherries for canning or freezing have separate grade and tolerance information.


Generally speaking, the percentage of defects shown on a timely government inspection certificate should not exceed the percentage of allowable defects, provided: (1) transportation conditions were normal; (2) the USDA or CFIA inspection was timely; and (3) the entire lot was inspected.

SWEET CHERRIES (U.S. No.1)

U.S. Grade Standards Days Since Shipment % of Defects Allowed Optimum Transit Temp. (F)
12-6-2 5
4
3
2
1
15-8-3
14-8-3
13-7-2
13-6-2
12-6-2
30-32°

SWEET CHERRIES (Wash No.1)

U.S. Grade Standards Days Since Shipment % of Defects Allowed Optimum Transit Temp. (F)
24-6-2 5
4
3
2
1
30-8-3
29-8-3
27-7-2
26-6-2
24-6-2
32°

Canadian good arrival guidelines (unless otherwise noted) are broken down into five parts as follows: maximum percentage of defects, maximum percentage of permanent defects, maximum percentage for any single permanent defect, maximum percentage for any single condition defect, and maximum for decay. Canadian destination guidelines for both types of sweet cherries are 15-10-5-10-3.

References: DRC, PACA, USDA.

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