Cherries are delightful fruits that can be enjoyed fresh, baked into pies, or added as a topping to various desserts.

Growing and caring for cherry plants can be a rewarding experience, whether you have a large garden or a small space for container gardening.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable insights on how to successfully grow and care for cherry plants, ensuring that you can enjoy an abundant harvest of these delicious fruits.

From choosing the right variety to providing the optimal growing conditions, you’ll find all the essential information you need to cultivate thriving cherry plants.

Annual Vegetative Calendar for Cherry Trees

Cherry trees, beloved for their spring blossoms and delicious fruit, require year-round care to thrive. Here’s an annual vegetative calendar tailored for Cherry Tree care.

Spring

MonthTasksDescription
MarchPruningPrune to remove any dead or damaged branches and to shape the tree. Early spring, before bud break, is ideal.
FertilizationApply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to support new growth.
AprilPest & Disease MonitoringMonitor for signs of pests and diseases, treating any issues early to prevent spread.
WateringIncrease watering as new growth appears and temperatures rise, keeping the soil consistently moist.
MayFrost ProtectionProtect blossoms from late frosts using frost cloths or by providing water to increase air humidity.

Summer

MonthTasksDescription
JuneThinningThin fruits early in the season to ensure the remaining fruits grow larger and to reduce limb stress.
JulyWateringContinue regular watering, especially during dry spells. Deep water to encourage deep root growth.
AugustContinued Pest & Disease ControlKeep monitoring for pests and diseases, maintaining treatments as necessary.

Fall

MonthTasksDescription
SeptemberHarvestHarvest cherries when they are fully colored and slightly soft to the touch.
OctoberPost-Harvest CareAfter harvesting, reduce watering to prepare the tree for dormancy.
NovemberFertilization PauseApply the last round of fertilizer for the year to prepare the tree for winter.

Winter

MonthTasksDescription
DecemberProtectionIn colder regions, protect young or vulnerable trees from frost using covers or strategic planting locations.
JanuaryWatering ReductionReduce watering further as the tree is dormant and evaporation rates are lower.
FebruaryWinter PruningLate winter is a good time for major pruning to shape the tree and remove any diseased or dead wood.

Caring for cherry trees involves a mix of attentive watering, regular fertilization, and vigilant pest control, along with seasonal adjustments to ensure these fruit-bearing trees thrive. By following this vegetative calendar, you can enjoy the beautiful blossoms in spring and delicious cherries in summer.

Adjust care routines as needed based on your local climate conditions and the specific needs of your cherry tree.

How to Grow Cherry Plants

Cherries, a treasure trove of scrumptious delight, are one of nature’s rewards for putting up with winter! Let’s get our green thumbs ready to raise some cherries!

Types of Cherries

  • Sweet Cherries: Prunus avium, also known as sweet cherries, are perfect for munching right off the branch. Fun fact: The Bing cherry is a famous cultivar of Prunus avium.
  • Sour Cherries: These are your pie cherries, baby! Known as Prunus cerasus, they put the ‘tart’ in ‘tartan’!

Planting Process

  • Nailing Down a Site: Choose a sunny site, with well-drained soil. Ensure ample space; these trees aren’t shy.
  • Picking Your Cherry: Decide whether you’re going for sweet or sour cherries. Sweet cherries will make your neighbors jealous; sour cherries will make your pies famous.
  • Hitting the Soil: Plant in the spring or fall. Dig a hole that’s deep enough to accommodate the root system. Be gentle with the roots, they’re the introverts of the plant world.

A Loving Embrace – Care

  • Watering: Keep the soil moist, but not drenched. Imagine it as the perfect sponge cake, moist but not a pudding.
  • Mulching: Use mulch around the base to retain soil moisture and prevent weeds. It’s like tucking your plants in with a blanket.
  • Pruning: Do some selective pruning in the early years. It’s like a plant’s version of a haircut and can be as trendy or as classic as you like.
  • Bird Protection: Use netting to protect your cherries from birds. It’s not that we don’t love birds, but let’s be honest, they don’t leave any cherries for pie.

Where to Grow Cherry

Cherry trees are a sight to behold in the spring, when they are adorned with a profusion of white or pink blossoms.

These fruit-bearing trees are not only visually captivating but also offer the delight of plucking fresh cherries right from your own backyard.

However, to grow healthy cherry trees, it’s essential to choose the right location that provides them with the necessary conditions to thrive.

USA: Cherry trees thrive in the Pacific Northwest. States like Oregon and Washington are the cool kids in the cherry-growing squad. Wisconsin and California are also in on this cherry fiesta.

Canada: Edmonton, Alberta has been home to the Evans Cherry since the 1920s. It’s like cherry royalty up there.

Europe: Europe loves cherries too. Prunus avium is native to Europe and is also known as wild cherry. They’ve been rocking the cherry scene for centuries.

Asia : Sakura, the cherry blossom in Japan, is ornamental but iconic. These trees don’t produce the fruit, but the flowers are the stuff of legends and anime.

Rainforest: For those in eastern Australia, the Syzygium australe, also known as brush cherry, is a native rainforest tree. It’s like the Indiana Jones of cherry trees.

Tropics: Eugenia uniflora, known as Surinam cherry, is perfect for those who like a bit of the tropics in their backyard. It’s like a piña colada, but a cherry.

There you have it, folks! A cherry for everyone, everywhere. Whether you’re making pies, jam, or just want to look at something pretty, there’s a cherry out there with your name on it.

Just remember, with cherries, it’s always a race against the birds!

Where to Grow Cherry

Cherry trees, with their stunning blossoms and delicious fruits, can be a delightful addition to any garden.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting your green-thumb journey, knowing the best places to grow cherry trees can make all the difference in their success.

So, let’s explore the ideal locations and conditions for planting cherry trees to ensure you get the most bountiful harvest and beautiful blooms.

Tips for Choosing the Ideal Location for Cherry Trees

  • Sunlight Requirements: Cherry trees are sun-lovers! For best fruiting, they require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Ensure that the chosen location receives ample sunlight throughout the day to encourage optimal growth and fruit development.
  • Well-Draining Soil: Cherry trees prefer quick-draining soil to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other issues. Deep and fertile organic soil with good drainage is ideal for cherry trees to thrive.
  • Climate Zones: Cherry trees have specific chill hour requirements to set fruit properly. Sweet cherry trees need chill hours between 300 to 900, depending on the variety, while sour cherry trees also have chill hour needs. Make sure your location falls within the appropriate hardiness zones for the cherry tree variety you choose.
  • Pollination Consideration: Some cherry tree varieties are self-sterile, meaning they require cross-pollination from another compatible cherry tree for successful fruiting. If space permits, consider planting multiple cherry trees of compatible varieties to ensure effective pollination and a more abundant harvest.
  • Space and Spacing: Give your cherry trees ample space to grow and spread their branches. Proper spacing allows for better air circulation and light penetration, reducing the risk of disease and encouraging healthier growth.
  • Protection from Wildlife: Cherries are often irresistible to birds and other critters. Consider using bird netting or other protective measures to prevent wildlife from feasting on your cherry harvest.
  • pH Levels: Cherry trees prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 6.0 to 6.8. A soil test can help you determine the pH of your soil and whether any amendments are necessary.

With these tips in mind, you can create an ideal environment for your cherry trees to flourish and reward you with a fruitful bounty of delectable cherries and enchanting blossoms.

How to Plant Cherry

Starting a cherry plant from scratch involves a couple of steps:

  • Choosing the type: Depending on your taste preferences and growing conditions, you could opt for sweet cherries (Prunus avium), sour cherries (Prunus cerasus), or the evergreen cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) which is native to the chaparral areas of coastal California. Other interesting types include the Bing cherry, a cultivar of the sweet cherry which originated in Oregon, United States.
  • Selecting the site: Cherry trees prefer full sun and well-drained soil. A south-facing spot is ideal.
  • Preparing the ground: Prior to planting, ensure the ground is free of weeds and rocks. You may want to add compost or organic matter to enrich the soil.
  • Planting: Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball of your cherry tree, place the tree in the hole, and backfill with soil, ensuring that the tree stands straight.
  • Watering: Give your newly planted cherry tree a good soaking after planting.

How to Care for Cherry

Taking care of a cherry plant requires proper watering, fertilization, and pruning:

  • Watering: Cherry trees need consistent watering. During dry periods, water the tree thoroughly once a week.
  • Fertilizing: In early spring, apply a balanced fertilizer to promote growth. It’s best to carry out a soil test to determine the nutrient needs of your soil.
  • Pruning: To ensure healthy growth and productive fruiting, prune your cherry tree during late winter or early spring. Remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches, and thin out the center of the tree to allow light and air to circulate.
  • Harvesting: Depending on the type of cherry, harvesting usually occurs in late spring or summer when the fruits are fully ripe. Sweet cherries should come off the tree with the stems attached, while sour cherries should be picked without the stems.

Remember, every cherry plant has its unique needs, so it’s crucial to understand the specific requirements of the type you’re planting.

Whether it’s a Japanese cornel (Cornus officinalis), an ornamental cherry blossom tree, or a fruit-producing Bing cherry, each offers its unique rewards.

Cherries not only provide delicious fruits but also add beauty to your landscape.

How to Prune Cherry

Pruning is an essential part of maintaining the health and productivity of your cherry trees. It allows for better air circulation, improved light penetration, and increased fruit yield.

When it comes to pruning your cherry trees, keep these points in mind:

  • Why to prune in the right season: Pruning in summer minimizes the risk of fungal infection entering through pruning wounds. This is because the spores of certain diseases are less prevalent, and the wounds dry and heal quickly, making infection less likely.
  • What to prune: Remove any diseased or dead branches first. These branches can be identified by their dark-brown to black, hard swellings, and can sometimes be covered with a dark, olive-green, felt-like growth.
  • Where to cut: Prune several inches below the galls (swellings) whenever they are found but especially during dormancy. If the trunk or a large branch is affected, cut out the gall and also remove about 1 inch of healthy wood to ensure all infected material is removed.
  • How to prevent cross-contamination: Always sanitize your pruning tools before moving to another tree to prevent the spread of diseases.

How to Propagate Cherry

There are several methods to propagate cherry trees.

They can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or by grafting.

Here are some general tips to consider when propagating cherry trees:

  • Seed propagation: It’s a good practice to source seeds from fully ripened cherries. After extracting, clean them and let them dry before stratifying (chilling them in a medium like peat moss) for about 10 weeks at around 41°F.
  • Cutting propagation: Choose a healthy, disease-free branch from a mature cherry tree. The cutting should be about 10 inches long and contain at least two nodes (the point on a stem where leaves or buds grow). Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone and plant it in a well-draining potting mix.
  • Grafting propagation: This involves attaching a piece of a desired tree (scion) to a compatible rootstock. The scion and the rootstock should be about the same diameter. After the grafting union has healed, the new tree will grow with the characteristics of the scion but the vigor and disease resistance of the rootstock.

Pests and Diseases

Cherry trees can be affected by a variety of pests and diseases that can significantly impact their health and fruit production.

Being aware of these issues and implementing proper management techniques is crucial for maintaining healthy cherry trees.

Some common problems include:

  • Black knot disease: This disease is characterized by dark-brown to black, hard swellings on twigs and branches. As it progresses, these swellings can become very rough and result in the death of branches. Management involves pruning and destroying affected areas, particularly during dormancy.
  • Fungal infections: Cherry trees can be afflicted by several fungal infections that can spread through the soil, water, air, infected tools, animals, insects, and even gardeners. Routine good practices such as adequate watering, fertilizing as needed, seasonal pruning, preventive and active spraying, fall cleanup, and winter protection can help manage these issues.
  • Pests: Certain pests can pose a significant threat to cherry trees, impacting productivity and overall health. Implementing good biosecurity measures and using proven prevention techniques can help manage these issues and result in a more bountiful harvest.

Remember, proper care, regular monitoring, and timely interventions are crucial for maintaining healthy and productive cherry trees.

Advice On Buying Cherry Plants

Selecting the right cherry plant is not a one-size-fits-all scenario, as a wide variety of factors come into play.

Here are some of the key aspects to consider when choosing cherry plants:

  • Climate suitability: Cherry trees are not universally hardy and will struggle in areas that don’t suit their needs. Some are more tolerant of cold climates, while others are more suited to hot or maritime climates.
  • Disease resistance: Cherry trees can be susceptible to a variety of diseases, and a disease-resistant variety can save a lot of heartache down the line.
  • Pollination requirements: Some cherry trees are self-fertile, which means they can pollinate themselves, while others require cross-pollination from another variety. If you are only planning to plant one cherry tree, make sure it is a self-fertile variety.
  • Tree size: Consider how much space you have for your cherry tree. Varieties can be standard, dwarf or semi-dwarf, with the larger trees needing a lot of space to grow. If space is limited, a dwarf variety may be the best fit.
  • Type of cherry: Decide if you want a sweet or tart cherry tree. Sweet cherries are usually eaten fresh, while tart cherries are often used in cooking and baking.

Where to Buy Cherry Plants Online

With the advent of the internet, purchasing cherry trees has never been easier.

There are many online nurseries and garden centers that sell a wide variety of cherry trees.

Some of these online retailers specialize in fruit trees, while others offer a broader range of plants. When buying cherry plants online, make sure to:

  • Compare prices: Prices can vary widely between different online retailers. It’s worth taking the time to compare prices to ensure you get the best deal.
  • Check delivery areas: Not all online retailers deliver to all locations. Check the delivery information on the website to ensure they deliver to your location.
  • Read reviews: Customer reviews can provide useful insight into the quality of the plants and the service provided by the online retailer.
  • Check return policies: Understand the retailer’s return policy in case the plant arrives damaged or in poor condition.

Cherry Varieties to Grow

The type of cherry tree you choose to grow will largely depend on your personal preferences and your local growing conditions.

Some of the popular cherry varieties include:

  • Bing Cherry: This variety is known as the standard for cherry flavor and is a major producer once mature. Its large, heart-shaped fruit is perfect for fresh eating and preserves.
  • Montmorency: This is a popular tart cherry variety, often used in pies and jams. It requires cross-pollination with another cherry variety.
  • Sweet Cherry Trees: These produce the familiar sweet cherries that are exceptionally delicious when eaten fresh or used as dried snacks.
  • Cherry Blossom Trees: While these trees are not grown for their fruit, they are a popular choice for their beautiful spring blossoms. They are often used as a centerpiece in landscapes.
  • Singapore Cherry: Also known as Muntingia Calabura, this tree is an outdoor plant that loves full sun and requires less watering. It can grow up to 30 feet and is often used as a landscaping plant or avenue tree.
  • Bush Cherry: These cherry trees have a bush-like growth habit and are an excellent choice for smaller gardens or landscapes where space is limited.

Remember, no matter which variety you choose, the most important factor is to choose a tree that will thrive in your specific growing conditions.

FAQs

What type of soil is best for Cherry?

Cherry trees prefer deep, well-drained loam with low alkalinity and low salinity. The soil should be slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0-7.0. They must have at least six hours a day of direct sun in order to produce fruit. If you have selected an appropriate tree for your hardiness zone and planted it in a well-draining, sunny site, cherry trees do not require much maintenance other than pruning.

When should I plant Cherry?

Early spring is the best time to plant bare root cherry trees, while potted cherry trees can be planted in the spring or fall. Plant the tree in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Water sparingly at first, and then increase watering once the tree has a few leaves. Cherry trees prefer to be located in full sun or partial shade in warmer climates.

How often should I water my Cherry?

Cherry trees require regular watering, especially during the growing season. Water the tree deeply, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist, but not overly saturated. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues. During the dormant period, which occurs after flowering has ceased, you should refrain from watering as much to allow the plant to die back.

Do Cherry trees require fertilization?

Cherry trees have low nutrient requirements, but they can benefit from occasional fertilization during the growing season. Give your tree a balanced fertilizer that is specifically formulated for fruit trees. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for the appropriate dosage and frequency. It is important not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive growth and damage to the plant. Fertilize sparingly, typically once every 2-4 weeks during the active growing season, and reduce or stop fertilization during the dormant period.

How do I plant Cherry?

Start by preparing the soil by loosening it and removing any weeds or debris. Plant the tree in a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the root ball. Cover the roots with soil and water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil and provide moisture to the roots. Mulching around the base of the tree with a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, can help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.

How much sunlight does Cherry need?

Cherry trees require full sun to partial shade. They should be planted in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Adequate sunlight is essential for the tree’s growth, flower production, and overall health. If your garden doesn’t receive enough sunlight, you can consider growing Cherry in containers and placing them in a sunny spot or using artificial grow lights to supplement the light.

Are there different varieties of Cherry?

Yes, there are numerous varieties of Cherry available, each with its own unique characteristics, fruit shapes, colors, and bloom times. Some popular Cherry varieties include the Bing, Rainier, and Montmorency. Each variety has its own unique growing requirements and fruit forms. Choose a variety that suits your preferences and growing conditions.

Are there any pests or diseases that affect Cherry?

Cherry trees are susceptible to various pests and diseases, including aphids, spider mites, and bacterial canker. Regularly inspect the tree for any signs of infestation, such as webbing or distorted growth, and take appropriate measures, such as using organic insecticides or fungicides, if necessary. Proper pruning practices and good air circulation can help prevent fungal diseases.

How do I care for Cherry after blooming?

After the Cherry has finished blooming, you can deadhead the spent flowers and stems to encourage new growth and potentially more fruit. Allow the foliage to die back naturally, and then cut it back to the soil level. Reduce watering during the dormant period to allow the tree to rest. If you are growing Cherry in containers, you can repot the tree every two years to ensure proper growth and development.

How do I harvest Cherry?

Cherry is typically ready for harvest in the late spring or early summer, depending on the variety. The fruit should be firm and fully colored. To harvest, gently twist the fruit off the stem or use a pair of scissors to cut the stem. Handle the fruit carefully to avoid bruising or damaging it. Once harvested, the fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for later use.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources that provide information on how to grow and care for cherry trees:

Please note that the information provided in these resources should give you a comprehensive understanding of how to grow and care for cherry trees.