Chelan™ is the most popular early season, export-quality dark red sweet cherry in the Pacific Northwest. Similar to Bing in appearance, the fruit is medium-to-large in size, with a mahogany red skin and medium-to-dark red flesh. It ripens 10 to 12 days before Bing, has good firmness and flavor, and exhibits lower susceptibility to both rain-induced cracking and heat-induced double/spur fruit formation than Bing.
Chelan™ produces a tree that is more moderate in branching angle than Bing. It flowers precociously and fruits heavily, requiring good management to achieve optimal fruit size. Thus, precocious rootstocks are not needed for early cropping and may make management for optimal fruit size more intensive.
Chelan™ begins blooming several days ahead of Bing, though it flowers prolifically and generally overlaps with the later Bing bloom in the Pacific Northwest. It is self-infertile; known cross-pollinizers include Rainier, Bing, Van, and Index™. Chelan™ is incompatible with Burlat, Tieton™ and PC 7214-3. Pollen compatibility (S3S9). Recent screening tests have suggested Chelan™ is resistant to powdery mildew. More complete studies are being planned.
Most of the Chelan™ trees produced during the 1990s are assumed to be infected with Prune Dwarf Virus (PDV). Certified virus free budwood became available in 2000. Ongoing research has shown possible incompatibility of Chelan™ on Mahaleb rootstocks. Until further research is conclusive, Chelan™ is not recommended for propagation on Mahaleb rootstocks.
Production and compatibility of Chelan™ on rootstocks other than Mazzard is unknown at this time.