How to Grow Cherry Trees

Overview

Delicate, sweetly scented cherry blossoms are a sure sign of spring, and the delicious fruit that follows can be used in pies, jams, jellies and more. Cherry trees require a period of cold in the winter and mild summers. Sweet, cultivated cherries need a slightly warmer climate, while sour cherries (also called pie cherries) and wild cherries can be grown in colder regions. Once planted, cherry trees don't require much care, although they will have to be pruned regularly to maintain a good shape.

Step 1

Pick a good growing site. Cherry trees like full sun, although wild cherries like pin cherries and chokecherries will tolerate more shade. Cherry trees generally prefer slightly moist or well-drained soil. In nature, wild cherry trees are often found growing alongside streams and other waterways.

Step 2

Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Do not plant the cherry tree any deeper than it was originally growing. Build a small mound inside the hole to spread the roots out over, and backfill the site with soil.

Step 3

Cover the site with a few inches of mulch such as shredded bark or dried leaves. Mulch helps regulate soil temperature and moisture levels and also helps keep down weeds. Leave a few inches of space around the trunk so that the bark can breath.

Step 4

Water the cherry tree very well immediately after planting, and continue watering regularly throughout the first growing season.

Step 5

Prune the cherry tree minimally the first summer. Cherry trees should have a strong central trunk and whorls of branches resembling scaffolding.

Step 6

Prune again in the late winter or very early spring when the cherry tree is still dormant to further encourage the desired shape. After the first year or two, more pruning can be done in the summertime. Over time you will want to train the cherry tree into a "Christmas tree" shape, where the lower branches are allowed to grow longer than the uppermost branches. This ensures that the entire tree will receive enough sunlight.

Step 7

Water the cherry tree as necessary to provide adequate moisture. Cherry trees will need more water when they are setting fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Cherry trees
  • Mulch
  • Pruners or hand saw

References

  • Flower & GardenTips: Growing Cherry Trees
  • Tree Help: Cherry Trees
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Training & Pruning Fruit Trees
Keywords: sweet cherry, sour cherry, wild cherries, caring for cherries, grow fruit trees

About this Author

Sonya Welter worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn., including "Zenith City News," for which she writes a regular outdoors column. She graduated cum laude in 2002 from Northland College, an environmental liberal arts college.