Sweet cherry trees were introduced to North America in the 1600s. The trees are larger than the common chokecherry or the flowering cherry and have gray, scaly bark. The fruit hangs loosely and is less than 1 inch in diameter. It attracts birds, which then spread the trees outside of cultivated areas. The sweet cherry's leaves are long, broad and flat. The trees can grow in most areas with full sun and they are hardy to zone 5.
Select sweet cherry rootstock from a plant dealer, nursery or wholesaler. Expect the trees to reach 40 feet tall when mature.
Consider purchasing a dwarf sweet cherry tree. It is easier to manage and pick, and will bear fruit in two to three years.
Prepare a planting area in full sun. Use well-fertilized soil. Avoid wet soil and heavy clay because sweet cherry doesn't thrive in them.
Dig a hole big enough for the roots to be covered by 4 to 6 inches of soil. Place the tree in the hole, cover the roots with soil and tamp it firmly. Stake the tree.
Water the tree well. Plant standard-sized trees 30 feet apart and smaller trees 15 feet apart for optimal growth.
Mulch the soil surface in the spring. Use decayed straw or composted vegetable refuse.