How to Plant & Prune Cherry Trees


Fragrant cherry blossoms and their subsequent juicy fruit are memorable aspects of spring. Successfully planting and pruning cherry trees is best done with forethought and planning. Cherry trees need a significant amount of space to grow and require occasional pruning for maximum fruit production. Tart and sweet varieties grow in their respective climates, and both require a period of winter dormancy to bloom. Mature trees can produce up to 50 quarts of fruit.

Step 1

Find a planting location that has eight or more hours of sunlight a day and well-draining soil. Avoid areas with significant shade where cold air can settle.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the container. Space multiple plantings at least 30 feet apart for standard size trees and at least 5 feet for dwarf varieties.

Step 3

Make a mound of soil in the center of the hole approximately 3 to 4 inches high.

Step 4

Set the root ball on top of the mound. Gently spread the roots downward without bending them.

Step 5

Backfill the hole with original soil, leaving the top of the root ball exposed to ensure water can reach the roots.

Step 6

Water the cherry tree immediately after planting with an open water hose until the ground is saturated. Continue to water deeply thee to four times per month, allowing the top 3 inches of soil to dry in between.

Step 7

Remove dead or dying branches throughout the year by cutting limbs 1/8 of an inch above buds. Discard cut branches and fallen wood away from the tree to decrease the likelihood of disease.

Step 8

Increase air circulation by pruning the tree into an open vase configuration. Thin out branches by cutting off approximately ¼ of new growth, making the cuts at a slight angle to increase water drainage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Cherry trees will die if left in standing water.

Things You'll Need

  • Young cherry tree
  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears


  • National Gardening Association: Cherry Plant Care Guide
  • Flower & Garden Tips: Growing Cherry Trees
  • About Cherry Trees: Pruning Cherry Trees
  • Tree Help: Cherry Care
Keywords: cherry trees, grow cherry trees, prune cherry trees

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. Her work has appeared in various newspapers, magazines and journals. Shipman has also authored three collections of poetry: "Cold Days," "Bastante" and "Short Poems." She earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Southwestern University.