How to Grow Sour Cherries

Overview

Sour cherries (Prunus serotina) come from a deciduous tree that thrives in hardiness zones 2 through 8. This rapid-growing tree loves full sun and can withstand a range well draining soil types. At full maturity, a sour cherry tree reaches a height of 40 to 80 feet.

Germinating the Tree

Step 1

Obtain some sour cherries that have just fallen from their trees. Remove the seeds and clean them off completely to remove any tissue that could mold.

Step 2

Fill a mug halfway with damp peat moss. Place the cherry seeds into the mug and fill the mug the rest of the way with more damp peat moss. Place the seeds in the refrigerator for at least 10 weeks. This process, known as stratification, will trigger the seeds to begin germinating.

Step 3

Place the stratified seeds into a terra cotta pot filled with potting soil. A few seeds can be placed together in the pot, as long as they are at least 3 inches from the sides of the pot and each other.

Step 4

Moisten the pot's soil and place plastic wrap over the top of the pot. Place the pot in a warm place, giving the seeds time to germinate.

Step 5

Remove the plastic wrap and place the pot in a sunny place once the sprouts have leaves.

Step 6

Transplant the sprouts into separate containers once they are 3 inches high. Outdoor transplant can occur when the trees are 12 inches high.

Transplanting to Outdoors

Step 1

Harden the trees to outdoor weather by bringing the plants outside near the location where they will be planted for increasing durations of time over the two-week period prior to planting. Plant the sour cherry trees in full sun with well-draining soil and away from areas that trap cold air.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice as wide as the tree and 3 inches deeper.

Step 3

Combine 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 mycorrhizal fungi and 1/3 dirt for filling the hole.

Step 4

Remove the tree from its pot and place it into the hole.

Step 5

Backfill the hole with the mixed soil and leave 3 inches of the hole unfilled--that forms the tree's well for deep watering.

Annual Care

Step 1

Deep-water the tree twice each week by filling the tree's well completely and allowing the water to drain into the ground twice.

Step 2

Fertilize the cherry tree after it has been in the ground for one full year with a slow-release fertilizer.

Step 3

Place 1/8 inch of mulch around the base of the tree to hold in moisture.

Tips and Warnings

  • The leaves of the sour cherry tree are poisonous to livestock.

Things You'll Need

  • Freshly dropped cherries
  • Peat moss
  • Mug
  • Small terra cotta pot
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Shovel
  • Mycorrhizal fungi
  • Mulch
  • Slow release fertilizer

References

  • Tree Help: Cherry Tree Care
  • USDA: Prunus serotina Ehrh.
  • NC State University: Wild Cherry; Black cherry
Keywords: cherry tree, growing cherry trees, germinating cherry tree

About this Author

Steven White is a privately contracted software engineer, web developer, and tech support representative. He has 3 years of experience providing technical support for AT&T broadband customers. He is currently a Master's of Software Engineering student and enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with others.