Bing cherries are the most popular variety of sweet cherry. Their flesh is dark, their juice is sweet and it's no wonder you want to plant one in your backyard. However, growing a Bing cherry tree is not as simple as planting a pit. If you're looking for a reliable fruit tree, you will have to start with a quality Bing cherry seedling. And don't forget to leave room for another. Bing cherries must be cross-pollinated with another, compatible sweet cherry variety planted at least 20 feet away.
Choose a spot to plant your Bing cherry tree. To thrive it needs full sun and well-drained soil.
Dig a hole that is twice as wide and twice as deep as the container that your Bing cherry seedling is currently in.
Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain. This should take no more than a few hours. If water stands in the hole, then the soil is not well-drained and you should find a new spot for your Bing cherry tree. It cannot tolerate wet feet.
Mix the excavated soil with an equal amount of aged compost.
Remove the Bing cherry seedling from its container. Loosen its roots by gently pulling them away from the root ball by hand. If you notice any broken roots or roots that have become matted and wrapped around the inside of the container, trim them with a clean pair of pruning shears.
Plant the sapling. Partially back fill the hole by creating a mound of soil; the mound tip should reach a few inches below the lip of the hole. Nestle the sapling's roots over the top of the mound. The soil line on the sapling should be 1 inch above the surrounding soil. If not, lift up the seedling and toss more soil in. Replace the seedling and fill the hole so that soil just covers the top of the root ball.
Water the planting area. The best way to do this is to place a slow-running hose at the base of the tree until the entire planting area is moist. Water the newly planted Bing cherry sapling whenever the soil is dry to a depth of 1 inch (roughly every other day) until it establishes itself and produces new growth. After that, only water your Bing cherry tree when the top 3 inches of the soil are dry.
Prune your Bing cherry tree once a year in late winter (January to February). Remove any dead, crossed or non-producing branches and any suckers or sprouts growing straight up from the main branches. This will force the tree to redirect its energy to its fruiting branches. Take care not to prune too many fruiting spurs from your cherry tree (they take 2 years to grow back). Prune branches as close to the main branch as possible to encourage the tree to heal quickly.
Fertilize your Bing cherry tree. During its first few years of growth, when it is not producing any fruit, your Bing cherry will not require any fertilizer. Once it starts to crop, it will require one application of organic fertilizer (1 oz. of 12-16-12 per square yard) in the fall.