Cherry trees come in two varieties, fruiting and ornamental. The ornamental cherry trees usually have spectacular flowering displays but they do not bear fruit, or the fruit is too small for people to bother eating. Fruiting cherry trees grow either sweet or tart cherries. Cherry trees are usually hardy between USDA zones 4 to 8, depending on the variety. All fruiting cherry trees need a period of chill in order to fruit well.
Choose a place in your yard to plant the cherry tree. The tree will need full sun and light and well-drained soil. It can handle any type of soil as long as it is not heavy or too dry.
Use a shovel to break ground where you want to plant the cherry tree, carving a depth of 1 to 2 feet, and add 6 to 8 inches of compost to the soil to improve its condition. Work the compost into the soil to a depth of 1 to 2 feet.
Dig a hole for the cherry tree deep enough for the roots and three times as wide. Loosen the tree's roots and place it in the hole. Fill the hole 1/2-way with soil and fill the rest of the hole with water. Allow the soil to settle, then finish filling the hole with more soil, patting it down firmly.
Water the cherry tree well, adding 2 to 3 inches of water to the base of the tree, Water the tree once a week in dry conditions.
Prune the cherry tree once a year to have a strong central leader. Remove any small or weak branches from the central trunk and leave only the strongest horizontal branches. As the cherry tree ages, remove the dead, damaged, diseased or vertical branches in the early spring or late winter. Remove any suckers and water sprouts as they appear.
Fertilize the cherry tree once a year before it flowers. Add 1 lb. of fertilizer to the tree when it is 2 years old and increase the amount by 1 lb. each year until the cherry tree is getting 3 lbs. of fertilizer a year. Water the soil around the cherry tree well after you apply the fertilizer.