Steps to Plant a Cherry Tree


The cherry is a deciduous fruit tree in the rosacea family. It is related to peaches, plums and apricots. Cherry trees come in sweet or sour varieties. Sweet cherries must cross-pollinate in order to flower and fruit. Plant two or three trees 20 to 30 feet apart for cross-pollination. Sour cherries are self-pollinating and can be planted on their own. Different cherry tree varieties are hardy in USDA planting zones between 4 and 8. Ask your local nursery for the best variety for your area.

Step 1

Dig a hole that is twice the diameter and 6 inches deeper than the root ball of the cherry tree sapling.

Step 2

Mix the soil that you removed from the hole with two large shovels of peat moss and three shovels of compost.

Step 3

Put 6 inches of the topsoil mixture into the bottom of the planting hole. Scatter three handfuls of bone meal on top of the soil in the bottom of the hole.

Step 4

Turn the cherry tree sapling on its side and gently wiggle it free from the nursery pot.

Step 5

Spread out the roots and trim off any that look broken or rotten.

Step 6

Hold the cherry tree sapling over the planting hole so that the base of the stem is level with the surrounding soil. Fill in or remove soil until the tree can stand on its own.

Step 7

Fill in around the root ball with the rest of your topsoil, compost and peat moss mixture and pat down the soil.

Step 8

Water a 4-foot area around the base of your cherry tree sapling until the soil is damp to a depth of 8 inches.

Step 9

Spread a 4-inch layer of mulch in the 4-foot area around the base of the tree. Keep mulch 1 inch away from the base of the trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Bone meal
  • Mulch


  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service : Growing Cherries in Indiana
  • Iowa State University: Growing Cherries in the Home Garden

Who Can Help

  • National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: planting fruit trees, planting saplings, USDA hardiness zones

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.