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KNIGHT'S EARLY BLACK CHERRY TREE


The unbiased Hoggs Fruit Manual has this to say about the Knight's Early Black cherry tree variety:

"Large, and obtuse heart-shaped, irregular, and uneven. Skin black. Stalk two inches long, deeply inserted. Flesh purple, tender, juicy, and richly flavoured. End of June and beginning July."

Use the checklist below to decide if the Knight's Early Black cherry tree variety is correct for you and your garden. If this is not the correct variety, see our cherry tree varieties page here, to select another variety which may suit you better.

  • Only really suitable for growing in warmer parts of the UK because blossom first appears on average in the second to third week of April (pollination group 2 to 3).
     
  • The fruits of Knight's Early Black are produced early to mid-season, ready for eating, on average, in the first week of July
     
  • Fruits are of smaller than average size. They are very dark red and have a mid-sweet flavour.
     
  • The picking period is a week.
     
  • It was raised in Hertfordshire in the 1830's and was grown commercially for several decades.
     
  • This variety reliably produces lots of fruit.
     
  • Disease resistance is good to both canker and fruit splitting.
     
  • Knight's Early black is self-sterile and needs a matching pollination partner to produce fruit.
     
  • It is fully hardy in all parts of the UK (however, see above about blossom)

Knight's Early Black cherries. Picture from public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.
Knight's Early Black Cherries.

WHERE TO BUY KNIGHT'S EARLY BLACK CHERRY TREES

Knight's Early Black is rarely to be found in your local garden centre but is available online on Colt rootstock. Orange Pippin Trees sell this variety at a reasonable price. It can be bought as both a potted tree (generally more expensive) all year round or as a bare-rooted tree from October to March (cheaper). We would recommend buying bare-rooted.

 

POLLINATION PARTNERS FOR KNIGHT'S EARLY BLACK CHERRY


Knight's Early Black is self-sterile and needs a suitable pollination partner to produce fruit. It is in pollination group 2 to 3. The following varieties produce blossom at the correct time and are easily obtainable in the UK:
  • Penny, pollination group 3 to 4, eating variety
     
  • Summer Sun, pollination group 3 to 4, eating variety
     
  • Van, pollination group 3, eating variety

HOW LARGE WILL KNIGHT'S EARLY BLACK GROW


On Colt rootstock Knight's Early Black will grow to about 4m / 13ft tall when it has reached maturity after about 7 years. With an annual prune it can easily be kept to 2.4m / 8ft high for a manageable tree in most gardens.

ALTERNATIVES TO KNIGHT'S EARLY BLACK


Click on the box below to see the full range of cherry tree varieties which we have reviewed in detail. Click on any one of them to see the full variety review.
 

CONDITIONS FOR GROWING KNIGHT'S EARLY BLACK CHERRIES


The following are the key rules for growing this variety, click here for more detailed information about growing and pruning cherry trees:
  • Plant and grow in a full sun position.
     
  • The best time to plant Knight's Early Black is in late autumn to early winter. It can be planted at other times of year but will require watering more frequently to ensure it establishes well.
     
  • Stake the tree for the first two years of its life on a Colt rootstock. If planted on Gisela 5 rootstock the tree will require staking for its life.
     
  • In the first summer after planting the tree, water well if conditions become dry.
     
  • Prune Knight's Early Black in the first year according to the suppliers instructions. Prune annually in later years, soon after the fruit has stopped being produced which will be about the second week of July for Knight's Early Black. See our detailed article on pruning cherry trees.