Cherry trees are famous for backyard gardens and landscaping due to their attractive blooms and delicious fruit.
Whether you prefer sour cherries for baking or sweet cherries for snacking, growing your cherry trees can provide a bountiful harvest for years to come. However, like all fruit trees, cherry trees require proper care and attention to thrive.
This blog post will provide a comprehensive guide on how to grow cherries successfully. We will cover everything from choosing the right cherry tree to preventing pests and diseases.
Following these steps, you can enjoy the delicious taste of homegrown cherries all season long.
- What Are Cherries?
- Choosing the Right Cherry Tree
- Planting and Caring For Cherry Trees
- Pests and Diseases of Cherry
What Are Cherries?
Cherries are small, round fruit that grow on a tree and belong to the Prunus genus. They are typically red or yellow and have a sweet or sour taste depending on the variety.
Don’t you just love snacking on cherries or using them in baking? These little fruits are versatile and can be enjoyed fresh, frozen, or dried.
There are two main types of cherries to choose from:
- Sweet cherries are perfect for eating.
- Sour cherries are great for adding a tangy flavor to your recipes.
Cherries are also high in antioxidants. It’s proven to improve heart health and reduce inflammation.
Choosing the Right Cherry Tree
Selecting the right cherry tree for your garden ensures a successful and bountiful harvest.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a cherry tree, including climate, soil type, space availability, and desired fruit size and flavor.
Factor #1: Climate
Some cherry trees are more cold-hardy than others, so if you live in a colder region, look for a variety that can withstand low temperatures.
On the other hand, if you live in a warm climate, choose a cherry tree that can handle the heat.
|Cold-Hardy Cherry Varieties
|Heat-Tolerant Cherry Varieties
Factor #2: Soil Type
Cherry trees prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.
If your soil is heavy or poorly drained, consider amending it with compost or adding raised beds to provide better growing conditions.
Factor #3: Space Availability
Before planting a cherry tree, consider the size of the tree at maturity and the space available in your garden.
Some cherry trees can grow quite large, while others are more compact and suitable for small gardens.
Factor #4: Fruit Size and Flavor
There are many different cherry tree varieties to choose from, each with its own unique flavor and size of fruit.
Sweet cherries are typically larger and sweeter, while sour cherries are smaller and more tart.
Consider your preferences and the fruit’s intended use when selecting a cherry tree variety.
Where To Buy Cherry Trees?
Cherry trees can be purchased from local nurseries or online retailers. Choose a reputable source to ensure you get a healthy, high-quality tree.
Planting and Caring For Cherry Trees
Proper planting and care are essential for growing healthy and productive cherry trees. This section will cover critical factors to consider when planting and caring for your cherry tree.
Choosing the Best Location
When choosing a location for your cherry tree, consider the following factors:
- Sunlight: Cherry trees need full sun, or at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, to thrive.
- Soil: Cherry trees prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. If your soil is heavy or poorly drained, consider amending it with compost or adding raised beds to provide better growing conditions.
- Spacing: Allow enough space for your cherry tree to grow to its full size:
- Dwarf cherry trees: 6-8 feet apart
- Standard cherry trees: 12-15 feet apart
- Sour cherry trees: 15-20 feet apart
- Sweet cherry trees: 20-25 feet apart
These spacing recommendations may vary depending on your region’s specific variety and growing conditions. It is always best to refer to the tree’s label or consult a nursery professional for specific spacing recommendations for your cherry tree.
How To Plant a Cherry Tree?
Follow these steps for successful cherry tree planting:
- Dig a hole that is twice the size of the root ball.
- Add compost to the soil to improve drainage and provide nutrients.
- Place the cherry tree in the hole and fill it with soil, gently tamping it down.
- Water the tree well after planting to help it establish roots.
Watering and Fertilizing Cherry Trees
Cherry trees generally need watering and fertilizing in the spring, summer, and fall.
Cherry trees need water. It is essential to water well in the spring to help establish new roots. Still, even mature trees should be watered regularly during dry periods.
Water your cherry tree deeply once a week during dry spells. Be sure to soak the root zone, not just the soil’s surface.
Use a balanced fertilizer in the spring to boost your cherry tree’s nutrients.
Follow the instructions on the label for the appropriate amount and frequency.
Pruning Cherry Trees
Proper pruning can help encourage fruit production and maintain the shape and structure of your cherry tree.
Follow these tips for pruning cherry trees:
- Remove dead or damaged branches to improve the tree’s overall health.
- Thin out crowded branches to allow for better air circulation and light penetration.
- Shape the tree to your desired form by removing any excess or unruly branches.
- Prune cherry trees in the winter or early spring while they are dormant.
To ensure the best flavor and quality, wait until cherries are ripe before harvesting them. They should quickly come off the stem when gently twisted or cut. If you must gather them before they are ripe, consider using them for cooking rather than eating fresh.
Pests and Diseases of Cherry
Pests and diseases can be a real problem for cherry trees, but don’t worry! With the proper prevention and treatment, you can keep them in check.
In this section, we’ll cover some of the most common pests and diseases that affect cherry trees and how to keep them at bay.
Some diseases that commonly affect cherry trees include
Disease #1: Black Knots
The fungal disease causes dark, raised knots on the branches and trunks of cherry trees.
To prevent black knots, prune away any infected stems and dispose of them properly.
Disease #2: Brown Rot
Brown rot causes cherries to rot and can spread to other fruit trees in the area.
To prevent brown rot, remove and destroy any infected fruit and practice good sanitation by removing fallen fruit from the ground.
Disease #3: Powdery Mildew
Mildew appears as a white, powdery coating on the leaves and fruit of cherry trees.
To prevent powdery mildew, provide good air circulation and avoid overhead watering.
Disease #4: Cherry Leaf Spot
Leaf spot causes brown or black spots on the leaves of cherry trees.
Remove and destroy infected leaves and prune away any infected branches to prevent cherry leaf spots.
Some pests that commonly affect cherry trees are listed below.
Cherry Fruit Flies
These tiny flies lay their eggs on the surface of ripening cherries, causing the fruit to rot.
To prevent cherry fruit flies, hang sticky traps in the tree and remove any fallen fruit from the ground.
These destructive insects can defoliate cherry trees and reduce fruit production.
To control Japanese beetles, handpick them off the tree or use a chemical insecticide according to label instructions.
Preventing and Controlling Pests and Diseases
To prevent and control pests and diseases in your cherry tree, follow these general tips:
- Use disease-resistant cherry tree varieties whenever possible.
- Practice good sanitation by removing fallen fruit and debris from the ground.
- Avoid over-watering, as excess moisture can lead to fungal diseases.
- Prune away any infected branches to prevent the spread of disease.
- Use traps or pesticides according to label instructions to control pests.
For longer storage, freeze cherries in a single layer on a baking sheet before transferring them to a resealable bag or container. This will prevent them from sticking together and make it easier to thaw only the amount you need at a time.
Growing cherry trees can be a rewarding and delicious experience.
By choosing the right tree, planting and caring for it properly, and preventing pests and diseases, you can harvest and enjoy the taste of homegrown cherries all season long.
We hope this comprehensive guide has given you the knowledge and tools to grow your cherry trees successfully.