Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Plant Cherry Trees

Cherry trees provide spring blossoms and delicious fruit. You can plant a standard or a dwarf variety depending on the amount of space you have in a sunny location. If you select a self-pollinating cherry tree, one tree will bear fruit on its own; otherwise it takes two trees to produce fruit. It will be four years until a newly planted tree bears fruit.

Keep in mind that it is hard to protect the fruit from birds and insects. There should be plenty of cherries for both you and the birds to enjoy.

Know the variety of cherry tree your are purchasing. You may need to plant more than one tree in order to ensure pollination, although some varieties are self-pollinating. If you purchase more than one of either type of tree, it is best to plant two sweet or two sour varieties.

Select the planting site. A cherry tree needs full sun, good soil drainage and good air circulation. A standard tree will need about 20 to 30 feet of space in all directions when it is full grown. A dwarf tree needs 8 to12 feet.

Prepare the planting hole. If you are planting more than one tree, dig the holes far enough apart (15 to 20 feet for standard trees) to allow space for growth. Dig a hole that is about 2 feet deep. Loosen the soil around the sides of the hole so that the tree roots will be able to spread out.

Remove the new cherry tree from its container and spread the roots. Avoid breaking roots.

Position the tree in the hole so that the graft is about 2 inches above the soil. Use good planting soil mixed with the soil you removed from the hole to fill around the tree. Provide a plant stake to support a young tree until the trunk is strong enough to stand on its own.

Water the tree thoroughly. This will eliminate air pockets in the soil. Place mulch around the tree no closer than 4 inches from the trunk. Leave bare soil around the trunk.


Select a tree that is recommended for your growing area. Find out which root stock was used for grafting the cherry tree. Early spring or fall are the best times of year to plant a tree. Planting in the fall before the rainy season begins in mild winter areas is beneficial for root growth.


When planting a cherry tree in an area covered by lawn, remove the grass 4 feet around the tree. Leaving the lawn under the tree will rob the soil of the nutrients and water the tree needs for good root growth.

Planting a cherry tree where peaches or plums were previously grown is not recommended.

Garden Guides