- When to Plant Cherry Trees
- Diseases & Bugs of Flowering Purple Sand Cherry Trees
- How to Pollinate Cherry Trees
- How to Prune Ornamental Cherry Trees
- How to Fertilize Cherry Trees
- When Do Cherry Trees Bear Fruit?
- Poisonous Cherry Trees
- The Best Time to Prune Cherry Trees
- How to Prune Young Cherry Trees
- How to Treat Bacterial Canker on a Cherry Tree
- How Tall Is a Dwarf Cherry Weeping Willow Tree?
- How to Prune a Yoshino Cherry Tree
- Bing Cherry Tree Diseases
- How to Fertilize a Bing Cherry Tree
- How to Grow Flowering Cherry Trees
- How to Protect Cherry Trees From Birds
Growing your own cherry trees is one of the most rewarding activities in a home garden. By tending an orchard you can reap fresh, delicious fruit. Don't be intimidated by the thought of growing an orchard; you can do it with the right techniques and the right timing.
Plant in early spring, April to early May, if you live in an area Zone 5 or colder and are planting bare-root cherry trees. For these Northern states, winters come too swiftly to allow for a fall planting, according to James R. Schupp, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Wait until the ground has thawed before planting. Fruit trees do not appreciate a waterlogged environment, so give the snow and ice time to melt and drain off before planting.
Plant in late May through early June in Northern states if you are planting potted or ball-and-burlap cherry trees. These saplings do better in slightly warmer soil, according to Schupp.
Plant in late fall if you live in an area Zone 6 and warmer. These states have ample growing time between the initial cooler weather of fall and the onset of winter. Cherry trees get extra time to establish roots and settle in, and are ready for a burst of growth when spring comes.
Flowering purple sand cherry trees are highly susceptible to powdery mildew, verticillium wilt and fire blight diseases.
Verticillium wilt causes the leaves to yellow, wilt and die, while fire blight turns the cherry blossoms black or brown in color. Powdery mildew causes a grayish-white coating to form on the leaves.
The flowering purple sand cherry tree frequently attracts Japanese beetles, aphids and caterpillars. Spider mites and scale occasionally attack these trees.
These pests do significant damage to the red-purple foliage, cherry blossoms and the inedible, purple fruit.
The flowering purple sand cherry tree typically has a short life span because of its susceptibility to diseases and bug problems. Many of these trees decline after only 10 years.
Flowering purple sand cherry trees are often planted as screens, hedges and borders. The red-purple foliage makes this cherry cultivar an attractive foundation or accent tree.
Set up your ladder beside your cherry tree so you can reach higher branches on the tree.
Tie a thread around the end of your number 4 art brush 1/2 inch from the end of the bristles. Then cut the bristles leaving only 1/4 inch beyond the thread, making it easier to target the flower center for pollination.
Open your jar of pollen. Dip the brush into the jar, then tap the brush on the edge of the container to shake off excess pollen.
Touch the brush to the center of one flower to pollinate it. Pollinate up to seven more flowers before dipping the brush back in the jar of pollen to apply more pollen.
Pollinate all blossoms in this manner. Move the ladder as needed to access higher branches on the cherry tree.
Mix a solution of 1 part bleach and 10 parts water in a bucket. Place your pruning tools in the bucket.
Prune off the dead, diseased and damaged wood at its base, cutting off the limb without cutting into the trunk. Dip the pruning tools into the bleach solution to sanitize them between cuts to prevent spreading disease to healthy parts of the tree.
Cut off branches that cross against each other, since their rubbing will lead to wood damage. Cut low-growing branches that impede movement under the tree or branches that slope downward.
Trim back long branches using anvil pruners to control the size of the cherry tree, if desired.
Determine what type of cherry tree you're growing and what type of soil is needed for your specific tree. Varieties can include ornamental flowering cherry trees or varieties that bear fruit.
Test your soil so you know what nutrients are required for your tree. Purchase a pH testing kit from your local garden store and follow the directions. Some garden centers will test your soil for you.
Apply a fertilizer that is high in nutrients during the early spring. Apply 1 lb. of 10-10-10 ratio fertilizer for each square foot surrounding your cherry trees. Spread the fertilizer at least ½ inch thick around the base of your tree.
Continue applying the fertilizer to your cherry tree every spring until it fruits or flowers. It typically takes between two and four years for cherry trees to bear fruit.
Apply half of the amount of fertilizer the year your tree bears fruit. Apply the fertilizer only until the fruit appears. Fertilizer after that can hinder the production of fruit and only aid leaf growth.
Many cultivars of cherries exist, and harvest comes at a different time for each. The growing region plays as much a part in setting the harvest time as the variety being grown. There are early-, mid- and late-season varieties of both sour and sweet cherries.
The blossoms on cherries emerge in early spring, before the leaves appear on the branches. The blooms are short lived, often lasting only a week or so. Fruit begins growing immediately after the blossoms fall from the tree, although it may not be evident.
Harvest begins in late spring and continues into late summer, depending on variety. Some cherry growers base harvest dates on the Bing cherry and list other cherry varieties as maturing a certain number of days before or after Bing. Bing is a mid-season cherry.
In Massachusetts, harvest begins the second week of June and lasts through the first week of July. Northern Illinois growers begin picking two weeks later with the season ending in late July. The climate of Door County, Wisconsin, provides a cherry harvest that begins in late June and lasts through the first week of August.
Humans who ingest the cherry tree often suffer from adverse effects. The twigs, stems, seeds and wilted leaves of this tree are poisonous. Cherry tree poisoning symptoms include spasms, weakness, excitement, seizures, gasping , coma and dilated pupils. Many people suffer from respiratory failure and die after consuming part of the cherry tree. The fruit from the cherry tree is safe to eat and is often used in jams and deserts.
Animals that ingest the cherry tree in large quantities often suffer from symptoms of plant poisoning. Grazing animals such as goats, cattle and horses are the most likely victims. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, cherry tree poisoning causes respiratory failure, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased blood oxygen, slow heart rate, seizures, coma and death.
Consuming flowers, stems, buds, twigs, seeds or leaves, can cause adverse effects in humans or animals. Choking and allergic reactions often occur with plant ingestion. The advice of a doctor or veterinarian should be sought to avoid complications.
It is best to prune cherry trees in the summer. Other stone fruit trees, such as peach and plum trees, are best pruned in the winter. However, summer pruning helps prevent cherry trees from developing silver leaf disease.
Identify the part of the tree that will serve as the center branch. Moving up from the trunk, choose the strongest vertical branch as the center point of the tree. Allowing multiple vertical leaders to grow can eventually weaken the tree during stormy weather. Multiple leaders also can shade fruit, which will reduce fruit production.
Eliminate all but the main vertically growing leader using pruning shears or lopping shears.
Identify four or five horizontally growing branches that will serve as the main lateral branches. These should be evenly spaced around the central leader to provide balance for the tree. Prune away any branches that are growing diagonally or at a sharp angle from the main leader.
Remove small branches growing out of the base of the trunk. These suckers can rob nutrients from the upper branches.
Prune branches that are crossing other branches.
Sterilize the pruning tool with a mixture of 70 percent denatured alcohol and 30 percent water. Make 45 degree, downward pruning cuts into the healthy branches to remove diseased wood. Cut four inches on either side from the diseased portion. You can remove an entire branch by making a pruning cut next to the branch collar of the cherry tree. The swelling that attaches the branch to the main trunk is the branch collar. Clean pruning tools after every cut.
Pick up all debris underneath the cherry tree. Remove all grass growing underneath the tree by hand pulling them out of the soil. Grass can harbor the bacteria that causes the infection.
Apply a fixed copper or Bordeaux spray to your cherry tree in the spring and again in the fall before bud break.
Cauterize the branch canker with a propane burner in early to mid spring. Hold the burner up to the canker for 15 to 20 seconds.
Burn the canker again in two to three weeks. Make sure that the underlining bark tissue crackles before removing the flame.
Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry
The Snow Fountains dwarf weeping cherry trees are a small type of dwarf weeping cherries. Snow Fountains dwarf cherries grow to between 7 and 10 feet tall.
Carmine Jewel Cherry
The Carmine Jewel cherry tree is the only dwarf weeping cherry tree that produces edible fruit. It grows to around 10 feet tall at its maturity and produces sour fruit.
Dwarf Weeping Cherry
The true dwarf weeping cherry tree is a larger cultivar than the Snow Fountains or Carmine Jewel. At its maturity, it can grow to be around 15 feet tall. This type of tree can live for up to 70 years.
Prune all but the strongest lateral branch from the tree when the Yoshino cherry is young, 1 to 2 years old, to promote a strong central leader.
Cut off any dead, damaged or diseased foliage at the base of the Yoshino cherry tree as soon as it appears with the pruning shears or pruning saw, depending on the thickness of the branches.
Prune off any crossing branches or branches that rub against each other with the shears or saw, at the trunk of the tree.
Prune off any low growing branches that may impede movement around the tree with the shears or saw.
Bacterial canker causes cankers or swollen areas to form on the trunk, limb and branches of the bing cherry tree. The leaves develop dark brown leaf spots that may or may not be surrounded by a yellow ring. The fruit develops water soaked spots that eventually become blackened and depressed and the twigs develop elliptical lesions and may become girdled causing leaf, flower or fruit drop. To control bacterial canker, prune all affected foliage.
A virulent fungal disease, black knot causes wart-like protrusions to develop on new shoots, twigs or branches. When the knots first emerge, they are olive green but turn hard and brittle over time. These growths can be anywhere from 1 inch to 1 foot in size. To control black knot, prune the knot and then spray the tree with a fungicide prescribed for black knot.
When a bing cherry is affected with brown rot, its fruit may develop small red halos or large rotting pitted areas. Remove all of the affected fruit to stop the spread of infection.
Select a complete granular fertilizer formula product designed for fruit trees and containing a guaranteed analysis of 12-16-12 and trace nutrients such as magnesium, boron and zinc.
Apply the fertilizer in a dose equivalent to 1 oz. of fertilizer for every square yard of soil surrounding your cherry trees.
Cast the fertilizer around the base of the tree starting 6 inches out form the trunk and extending 6 inches beyond the drip line of the canopy in a ring form.
Nestle the fertilizer granules into the 1 or 2 inches of soil with a rake or cultivator before watering in well until the soil is drenched but there is no standing water.
Planting & Care
Dig a hole to accommodate your new tree. It should be twice the size of the root ball, but not as deep. Loosen the soil along the sides of the hole to allow the roots room to roam.
Place your tree in the hole, spreading the roots out. The top of the root ball should be level with the depth of the hole.
Backfill with soil, adding a bit of water as you fill, to get rid of air pockets. Fill the soil up to the base of the trunk.
Compact the soil around the base of the tree and water thoroughly.
Add mulch around the base of the tree to a depth of 2 to 3 inches, but keep a few inches clear of the tree's trunk.
Measure the circumference and height of the cherry tree you wish to protect using a fabric measuring tape. You will need these measurements to purchase the proper size netting.
Purchase professional-grade bird netting from your local garden specialty store or from an online retailer.
Place a ladder on each side of the tree and gently work the net up and over the tree, securing it to the tree according to the instructions that came with netting. Having a partner climb the other ladder with the other side of the net in hand will help prevent netting tears and damage to the tree.
Walk around the cherry tree once the netting has been applied and secured, and check to ensure the entire tree is covered by the netting. Make any adjustments as needed to cover the entire tree.