Cherries are the first stone fruit to ripen and are enjoyed as much for their sweet taste as for the promise of summer bounty to follow. Sweet cherries can be eaten fresh; sweet and tart cherries work well for pies, jams and other desserts. Buy and plant cherry trees in the early spring whenever frost danger passes for your area. Plant the trees in full sun. As the National Gardening Association notes, most cherries are self-pollinating, meaning you'll get lots of fruit with only one tree.
Check your hardiness zone using the USDA hardiness zone map to determine whether you can grow cherries in your yard (see Resources). Tart cherries grow in hardiness zones 4 to 6, while sweet cherries grow in zones 5 to 7, notes the National Gardening Association.
Research sweet and tart cherry cultivars using Purdue University's guide to growing cherries (see Resources). Learn about the most common tart cherry, Montmorency or about Rainer, Gold, Lapin and other sweet cherry varieties. Choose the type of cherry you're interested in planting after performing this research.
Visit local nurseries and garden centers to see what types of cherry trees are available. The trees are sold either as container or bare-root trees in spring. If you can't find the cherry cultivar you chose, ask the staff at the nursery whether they can order the tree or recommend a suitable alternative better suited to your region. If you find the tree you want, plan to purchase it.
Choose a tree that has a long trunk with no low branches. Any branches on the tree should be spaced evenly around the tree, not clustered. If you want a bare-root tree, select one with plenty of healthy-looking and thick roots, and avoid trees with stubby or weak roots.
Order a cherry tree online as a last resort, since you cannot inspect the tree before buying it. Furthermore, when you purchase locally you know the type of cherry grows well in your area, but when you order online you have less certainty about this.