How to Grow Cherries

Опубликовал Admin
3-06-2021, 08:20
Cherry trees are sensitive fruit-bearing trees that take some patience and skill to grow. Growing cherries can be slightly challenging but immensely satisfying. Choose between either sweet or tart cherries, and pick between standard or dwarf-sized trees. Always make sure your trees have enough sunlight and well-drained soil. With the right growing conditions, planting preparations, and regular maintenance, you can grow juicy, tasty cherries from your own backyard.

Choosing a Cherry Variety

  1. Look up your grow zone to find out if cherries will grow where you live. You can search "grow zone" or “USDA hardiness zone” on Google and choose a website. Type in your zip code, and the grow zone calculator will give you a number and/or a letter, like "6b." Most cherries grow in climate zones 4-8.
  2. Grow sweet cherries if you are up for a challenge. Research sweet cherries if you are interested in growing them. Sweet cherries are harder to grow because they require a dry climate that isn't too hot and particularly well-drained soil.
    • In the United States, cherries grow well west of the Rocky Mountains in low-humidity zones.
    • Sweet cherries vary in type, including Bing, Black Tartarian, Emperor Francis, Kristin, and Stella.
  3. Grow tart cherries for an easier option. Tart cherries also prefer well-drained soil, though they can withstand climates with more rain and greater humidity. Tart cherries tend to produce smaller trees than sweet cherries, which makes them easier to maintain. Research tart cherries to see if they are a better option for your environment.
    • Tart cherries are great to cook with, and their tartness can be rather mild.
    • Tart cherries come in Meteor, Montmorency, and North Star varieties.
  4. Decide between standard or dwarf-sized trees. Standard-sized trees tend to be more resilient and yield more cherries. They are larger in size and have a longer lifespan than dwarf trees. Dwarf trees are smaller and take up less space. They also yield fruit at a younger age, about 2 - 3 years old.
    • Both sizes are popular for growing cherries, and you should select the best size to suit your climate zone and growing preferences.
    • Dwarf trees are more sensitive because they have a less vigorous root system.
    • For sweet cherries, standard sized trees grow to about 20–40 feet (6.1–12.2 m) tall, and dwarf trees grow to 8–15 feet (2.4–4.6 m).
    • For tart cherries, standard adult trees grow about 20 feet (6.1 m) tall, and dwarf trees reach around 8–12 feet (2.4–3.7 m)

Creating Proper Growing Conditions

  1. Plant your tree in the fall so your tree can adapt and grow strong. If you plant in the fall, your trees will have adequate time to develop their root system and get stronger over the colder months. High temperatures and direct sunlight can harm your trees and make it hard to root into the soil.
    • Both sweet and tart cherries grow the strongest if they are planted in the fall.
    • If you decide to plant your cherry tree in the spring, be sure to water it well throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
  2. Prepare your soil before you plant your trees. Remove weeds and mix in well-rotted compost material to fertilize your soil. Leaves and tree trimmings work well as raw composting materials. Always use well-drained soil to avoid waterlogging your tree.
    • You can improve your soil's drainage by building raised beds or adding more rotting organic matter to existing soil.
  3. Maintain your soil's pH level at around 6.5, slightly acidic. Your pH level will vary depending on soil type and climate conditions. Test your pH level by purchasing a basic soil test kit from a home or garden supply store. Take 3-5 samples with your kit, and follow particular instructions listed on your kit. Your kit will inform you of any nutrient deficiencies.
    • You can add sulfur to increase acidity or add lime to reduce acidity.
  4. Plant your tree in an elevated, sunny spot. Both sweet and tart cherries need ample sunlight in order to grow to full size. Sweet cherries in particular need as much sunlight as possible, while tart cherries can grow without quite as much sun. Full sun exposure will also help prevent pests and diseases.
    • For example, plant your trees on top of hills that face the morning sun.
    • Avoid placing your cherries near other trees or buildings that cast shade.
  5. Space your cherry trees an appropriate distance apart. Make sure your trees have enough room to root down and grow healthy. If you plant your trees too close together, your trees will compete for sunlight and nutrients from the soil.
    • For sweet cherries, space dwarf trees 5–10 feet (1.5–3.0 m) apart and adult trees 35–40 feet (11–12 m)
    • For tart cherries, space dwarf trees 8–10 feet (2.4–3.0 m) and adults 20–25 feet (6.1–7.6 m)

Planting Cherry Trees

  1. Purchase young trees from a nursery, orchard, or garden supply store. Visit a local plant store, and look for either sweet or tart cherries in either standard or dwarf size. Ask an employee to help you if you need it! An employee at a nursery can help answer questions regarding growing cherries. You can typically purchase cherry trees by the size of their branches, from 2 inches (5.1 cm) to 8 inches (20 cm).
    • You may have to shop around to find the right type and size of tree, though any of these locations can get you started.
    • If a particular nursery doesn't have the cherry tree you are looking for, ask them if they can place a special order or if they know of any other locations that may have your type of tree in stock.
  2. Dig a hole large enough to fit the roots of your tree. Inspect the size of your tree's root system, and use a shovel to dig a hole approximately the same depth and twice as wide. You can guess and check until the hole is large enough to fit your tree's roots.
    • If it helps, you can place your tree into the hole to check your sizing. Then, dig deeper or wider in order to best accommodate your tree's roots.
  3. Lift your cherry tree out of its container and place it into your hole. You should be able to easily lift your tree. If the tree is a bit larger, get a friend to help you lift it up. Your tree's roots should all easily fit into your hole.
    • Remove any string, burlap, or plastic tied around the roots before placing the tree in the hole.
    • Make sure your tree's roots are spread out and have room to take root.
  4. Refill your soil to the original soil mark on the tree. Using your soil mix, fill in the rest of the hole until it is full. As you fill, remove any air pockets in the soil by pressing down firmly.
    • You can stop filling the hole when the soil reaches the mark on the tree's stem marking where the old soil reached.
  5. Add tree stakes or ties to provide support to your tree. Position your stake about ⅓ of the height of your tree, and insert it into the soil at least 2 feet (0.61 m) deep. Tie your tree stake from the tree's trunk to a post in a figure-8 pattern, so the tree trunk can have some movement.
  6. Water your tree thoroughly. Use a hose to water the base of your tree. Add water to your soil immediately after you plant your tree so your tree's roots can start to take. For best results, let your water slowly trickle over the base of your tree rather than the roots soaking up the water quickly.
    • Water your trees with a slow trickle by turning on your hose on partial power and dropping it at the base of your tree. Leave your hose there for 1-2 hours, then turn off the water.
  7. Cover your soil with mulch to retain moisture. When growing cherries, it is very important to maintain adequate moisture levels. Mulch can help drain away excess moisture.
    • You should add a fresh layer of mulch in the late winter for regular cherry tree maintenance.
  8. Care for your tree routinely over 4 years as you wait for fruit to grow. Cherries take time to mature and develop. After about 4 years, your trees should yield about 30-50 quarts of cherries. Until then, water, prune, and fertilize your tree regularly so it grows healthy and strong.
    • It may take some trees up to 10 years to start producing fruit. Each tree is different.

Caring for Your Cherries

  1. Drape netting over your cherries trees to protect against birds. Birds will try to come and eat your cherries, and you can block them out with netting. Purchase netting from most home supply stores. Secure your netting at the bottom so birds can't get them at ground level.
    • Look for heavy-duty, knitted netting with an aperture no bigger than 5 by 5 millimetres (0.20 in × 0.20 in) and woven no larger than 500 microns thick.
    • Check your netting in the spring and winter. Bird sometimes peck at growing cherry buds in the late winter. Replace your netting as needed.
  2. Keep your trees well-watered during the spring and summer. When your trees will be exposed to much sunlight, it is important to keep your trees hydrated and healthy, especially for freshly planted trees. Water your trees when the top layers of soil seem dry.
    • To check the moisture, stick your finger about 3 inches (7.6 cm) into the soil. If the soil is not moist, then water it thoroughly from the base of the tree. If the soil is still wet, you can wait another day before checking the moisture level again.
  3. Fertilize your trees annually in the spring until the they start to bear fruit. Use an all-purpose fertilizer or a fruit tree fertilizer, and follow instructions on the package to determine the recommended amount to use. After April, only fertilize your trees after you harvest the fruit each season.
    • Fertilizing right before your trees bloom helps replenish nutrients and help the tree produce more fruit.
  4. Prune trees in the late winter annually. This will help your trees grow new fruiting wood. Prune the tree when it is dormant so you don't damage the fruit-bearing branches. You can use hand pruners or scissors to cut away dead, damaged, or diseased branches.
    • Regularly pruning your trees will prevent infection and disease.
  5. Wrap the trunk of the tree in winter. In order to prevent winter sunscald, you should wrap the trunk with tree wrap every winter. Start at the bottom of the trunk and work your way toward the top, overlapping the layers.
    • You can find tree wrap at gardening and home improvement stores.
  6. Prune sweet cherry trees again in the late summer to prevent diseases. Sweet cherries are more likely to get a fungal or bacterial disease, so prune them again in the late summer to prevent diseases from spreading.
  7. Harvest cherries when they are fully ripe. The warmth of the sun will develop the flavor of your cherries, and they will fall off the tree when ready to harvest. Pick your cherries with the stalks still attached using scissors or hand pruners. Hand picking can injure your tree and cause infection.
    • Cherries will appear dark red, black, or yellow when fully ripened. They will be the most sweet and delicious at this point, because the sugar content will rise a few days before they are fully ripened
    • Pick your cherries when they are still firm if you want to freeze them.
    • Typical cherry harvests only last 1 week, so be ready to pick!
  8. Treat your cherry trees with pesticides as needed. Common cherry tree pests include aphids, Japanese beetles, and caterpillars. If you have issues with pests, you can treat your trees with pesticides. Always consider using natural pesticides so you don't damage your trees or cherries with harsh chemicals.
    • You can easily make your own pesticides at home. Try mixing different household vegetables, oils, or soaps with water and treating for pests naturally.


  • Always use sharp, clean gardening tools to prevent diseases and pests.
  • Keeping your trees well watered, providing adequate drainage, and watering deeply is the best way to avoid pests and diseases.
  • While it is possible to grow cherries from pits, it is extremely difficult and requires a lot of patience. You likely will not get delicious cherries from pits your first few tries. Many pits are actually sterile. If you are up for a challenge, germinate your cherry pits by leaving them in the refrigerator for about 150 days, and then plant them in nutrient-rich soil.


  • Cherry trees are very sensitive fruit-bearing trees. Keep this in mind when deciding to grow cherry trees.
  • If your trees are not bearing adequate fruit, test your soil's pH level and find fertilizer to help replenish your trees.
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