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How to Plant Dwarf Cherry Trees

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Net the dwarf cherry tree to keep the birds away.
cherries image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com

While it’s easy to find a tiny apple tree, even genetic dwarf cherry trees grow to 6 feet tall. Depending upon the rootstock, a grafted dwarf cherry tree will grow from 8 to 10 feet in height. The beauty of growing a dwarf cherry tree, however, is that, unlike its full-sized 40-foot cousin, it can be completely netted to keep wildlife, such as birds, from getting the sweet, juicy fruit before you do. Plant the dwarf cherry tree in March or April.

Choose a planting location for the dwarf cherry tree. It requires full sun and, according to agriculturists with Ohio State University, choose a southern or western exposure if you cannot site the tree in full sun.

Take a soil sample to your county cooperative extension agent for analysis. Although there are home pH testing kits available in gardening centers, the cooperative extension office can also test the soil for any nutrients that may be lacking in the soil. Aim for a soil pH between 5.5 and 6.5.

Prepare the planting area by digging into the soil to a depth of 12 inches, turning and crushing the soil. Add any amendments suggested by the soil analysis and mix those in to a depth of 12 inches. The gardening fork is a good tool for this task.

Dig a planting hole that is the same depth as the distance between the soil line (brown ring on the lower portion of the trunk that indicates the depth at which the tree was previously planted) and the tips of the longest roots. The hole should be three times the diameter of the root ball.

Place the root ball in the bottom of the hole and throw in a shovelful of soil. Use your fingers to spread the soil between and around the roots. Fill the hole halfway with soil, then fill it with water. When the water drains, finish filling the hole with soil. Use your feet to press down the soil around the base of the dwarf cherry tree.

Water the dwarf cherry tree until the water puddles and give the tree two to three gallons of water every two weeks until it becomes established. You will know this has occurred when the tree produces new growth.

Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch to the soil around the base of the dwarf cherry tree. Keep it 3 inches away from the trunk and spread it in a 1-foot radius around the tree.


Things You Will Need

  • Soil amendments
  • Garden fork
  • Shovel
  • Mulch

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.