Different types of cherry

NickW

Member
Oct 16, 2019
214
SE WI
I've noticed that I have 2 different types of cherry trees on my property in northern WI. Just trying to determine which is which. Is the darker rougher bark black cherry and the lighter not as rough bark choke cherry (almost looks like an oak or ash bark)? Or do I have that backwards? Or is none of it choke cherry? The bark isn't right for what I found about pin cherry, but I didn't find any good pics of black or choke cherry bark. I didn't think choke cherry got this big, but it's all definitely cherry. Pointed elliptical leaves with serrated edges, pink inside when split, smells great, good coals...

I remember getting a cherry log a few years back that had the same dark rough bark as the first one that was 22" dia. I have lots of the smoother bark ones standing dead in the swamp up to 15"+ dia. Pulled about 30 out over the winter.
 

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Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,318
Southeast CT
The darker one is definitely black cherry. Not sure about the one in the other pic.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,483
Downeast Maine
There are so many cultivars of cherry that you will need a local arborist/botanists to know for sure. Taste the berries when they ripen and that will help. Pin cherry, choke cherry, and most wild cherry species have bitter fruit.
 

NickW

Member
Oct 16, 2019
214
SE WI
There are so many cultivars of cherry that you will need a local arborist/botanists to know for sure. Taste the berries when they ripen and that will help. Pin cherry, choke cherry, and most wild cherry species have bitter fruit.
This is definitely a wild cherry. Much more numerous than the other ones (black cherry). Mostly growing in swamp and lowland on a previously "wild" piece of property. Only up here 5 or 6 times most years. Don't recall ever seeing fruit on them, but many are dead. I'll have to inspect some live ones closer... This is basically a curiosity question. Live ones will stay as they are, dead ones will become firewood.
 

hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
478
Indiana
The first bark photo is American black cherry, very distinctive. In the botany course I took in college, they described it as "burnt potato chip" bark. Its firewood is also distinctive. It has a specific use beside fireplace fires -- smoking meat, such as barbecued ribs done the traditional way.

Another distinctive thing about black cherry -- very easy to split with a maul. It's what I use to teach people to split their own wood. Instant success is almost guaranteed.

When I've used choke cherry branches for firewood, they've been disappointing. I'm not sure if your other photo is choke cherry.
 
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hickoryhoarder

Feeling the Heat
Apr 5, 2013
478
Indiana
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nrford

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2011
1,297
NW lower Mi.
that's an American Elm in second picture.
 

TreePointer

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2010
3,094
PA
Look closely at the leaves. Elm will be doubly serrated. That is, each tooth will have a subtooth(teeth). Cherries will not.
 

CincyBurner

Minister of Fire
Mar 10, 2015
504
SW Ohio
Bark + leaves looks consistent for American elm.
Slice the bark tangentially with a knife. American elm bark will have alternating light and chocolate brown layers.
 

CincyBurner

Minister of Fire
Mar 10, 2015
504
SW Ohio
( . . . 3rd + 4th pics)
 

NickW

Member
Oct 16, 2019
214
SE WI
I didn't get notification that there were more reply's to this post, sorry I haven't responded. Heading back up tomorrow. I'll try to cut a couple logs up and split them with the ax. I usually use the splitter, but I'm not bringing it this weekend. The elm seems like it might be right, but I swear previous of these tree's smelled like cherry and had a nice straight grain - not stringy or twisted; but I don't recall having any bigger one's like I have now. They were all 5" max...
 
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NickW

Member
Oct 16, 2019
214
SE WI
After closer comparison between what came out of the swamp and what we think might be American elm on the shoreline, I think most of what I cut from the swamp might be ash? Split nice, smells a little like oak but not exactly the red oak smell I typically get. Thing is there's no other white oak on the property and only a couple of reds. We've owned it for 11 years and they've mostly been dead the whole time. There's a few D shaped exit holes, but not many. Maybe white oak...?more pics... Any way you look at it, it's primo wood...
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NickW

Member
Oct 16, 2019
214
SE WI
Feel stupid. Mystery solved. It's ash. Classic dying ash with sprouts coming out at the bottom but canopy completely dead and compound leaves. Found a couple smaller live ones and one dying one. Certainly not completely peckered full of D holes like I usually see closer to home, but maybe it isn't EAB that got them...?
 

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Isaac Carlson

Feeling the Heat
Nov 19, 2012
357
NW Wisconsin
Don't burn that cherry. Mill it or use it for cooking meat. I burned cherry once and won't do it again. It smells/tastes too good to be firewood.
 

TreePointer

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2010
3,094
PA
Like other fruit woods, cherry is great for cooking/smoking. In fact, there are many BBQ joints that prefer cherry over hickory because hickory can sometimes add a bitter taste.
 
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NickW

Member
Oct 16, 2019
214
SE WI
I here you. I have barrel's of cherry and apple at home. This is on some weekend property. We cook over the fire outside when there. The cherry is great for venison steak, burgers, brats, anything... Most of the cherry I took down in the building site is only 8" max and not very straight, so not worth milling. I have some cherry and black walnut slabs I made from some big tree's that I plan to do something with someday...
 
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firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,126
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I burn some black cherry every year as I have some that will grow on my property and then die off . . . only issue is when I am splitting it up as I keep stopping to smell the splits as it smells wicked nice. Wife caught me doing so one time and yelled out "What in hell are you doing?" About near crapped my pants as I didn't even know she was standing behind me.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,483
Downeast Maine
I burn some black cherry every year as I have some that will grow on my property and then die off . . . only issue is when I am splitting it up as I keep stopping to smell the splits as it smells wicked nice. Wife caught me doing so one time and yelled out "What in hell are you doing?" About near crapped my pants as I didn't even know she was standing behind me.
My wife loves to "sneak" up on me when I'm working outside. Usually I don't notice her until I stop and take off my ear protection. I got her back yesterday when she was running the splitter and I brought her some water.
 

NickW

Member
Oct 16, 2019
214
SE WI
I burn some black cherry every year as I have some that will grow on my property and then die off . . . only issue is when I am splitting it up as I keep stopping to smell the splits as it smells wicked nice. Wife caught me doing so one time and yelled out "What in hell are you doing?" About near crapped my pants as I didn't even know she was standing behind me.
That is word for word what my wife said the first time she saw me splitting cherry... ;lol
 
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