Variety Skeena


Article by David Marks

Skeena is a cherry tree variety which has always puzzled us. It was bred in Canada specifically for commercial use but failed on two counts. The fruits split easily and it easily suffers from brown rot. However the variety was patented and released in 2000. It has a larger than average stone which is also a disadvantage.

The taste is a predominantly sweet but it has more than an average amount of acidity. Perhaps this is the reason for its existence.

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

  • The fruits of Skeena are produced late in the season, ready for eating, on average, in the last week of July.
  • Fruits are of slightly larger than average size. They are red to dark red and have a sweet but also acid flavour with a firm texture.
  • The picking period lasts a week.
  • It was raised in Canada, British Columbia at the Summerland Research Station, introduced in 2000. The parents of Skeena are two varieties bred at the same research station but never released.
  • This variety reliably produces a large amount of fruit.
  • Disease resistance is average.
  • Skeena is self-fertile and always produces a good crop even as a standalone tree.
  • It is fully hardy in all parts of the UK (however, see above about blossom).


Skeena is very unlikely to be found in your local garden centre and is also only available online from a few suppliers.


Skeena is in pollination group 4, self-fertile and does not need a pollination partner. It can be used to pollinate the following other cherry tree varieties in the UK:

  • Van, pollination group 3, eating variety
  • Penny, pollination group 3 to 4, eating variety
  • Summer Sun, pollination group 3 to 4, eating variety
  • Stella, pollination group 4, cooking variety
  • Kordia, pollination group 4, eating variety
  • Sunburst, pollination group 4, eating variety
  • Morello, pollination group 4, cooking variety
  • Napoleon, pollination group 4 to 5, cooking variety


On Colt rootstock Skeena will grow to about 3.5m / 11ft tall when it has reached maturity after about 7 years. It can easily be pruned to reach a maximum height of 2m / 7ft. On Gisela 5 rootstock it will grow into a 2.5m / 8ft tall tree but will need more care than if grown on a Colt rootstock.


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.



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 Skeena 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.
  • Plant the tree to the same depth as it was in the pot. If planting bare-rooted trees you will see a natural soil mark just above the roots which indicates the correct depth for planting.
  • Spread an 8cm / 3in layer of mulch around the base of the tree but not touching theĀ  main trunk. A mulched circle of about 1m / 3ft will be sufficient. This will retain moisture in the soil below and greatly help the tree to establish well.
  • Water very well immediately after planting.
  • 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 Skeena in the first year according to the suppliers instructions. Prune annually immediately after flowering in later years, in late July. See our detailed article on pruning cherry trees.
  • An annual mulch in late Spring will help to retain moisture and an even supply of water.
  • If any pests or diseases appear treat them as soon as possible. Consult our cherry tree pest and disease page for detailed information on identifying and treating problems.