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A Guide to Growing Cherry Trees

Normally, each fruit has its own peak season, but in the case of cherries, this season is as short as only a month or two every year. And those little fleshy red cherries are a treasure to fantasize about the whole year. But sadly, cherry trees are highly prone to diseases, pests, bird treats, and poor pollination. If you also are a cherry lover but thought better of planting them due to either of these problems, you probably gave up a little too soon. The modern cherry trees are resistant to diseases, humidity, and head and are good at self-pollination. Together will all these good-sounding attributes, growing a cherry tree is a learning venture. To plant cherry trees successfully and to yield a reasonable crop, there are some important things you must know.

The Types of Cherry Trees:

Cherries are broadly classified into two types – the sweet cherries (also known as Prunus avium) and the sour cherries (also known as Prunus cerasus). Sweet cherries are rich in taste, and you can eat them raw. As they are used for consumption, you'd find them all around markets and grocery stores. The sour cherries, on the contrary, are not consumed raw but for baking, cooking, and preservation purposes. Sweet cherries grow well in places with a moderately mild and humin temperature, whereas sour cherries will need cooler climates and a specific number of cold hours before they can bloom. Within the USA, Washington, Oregano, and California are the top sweet cherry producing states. Michigan stands undefeated when it comes to the growth of tart cherry trees

Growth Requirements:

Out of both types, sweet cherries are pleasant in taste but difficult to grow. The modern varieties of sweet cherry trees are stronger and more resistant to drought and climate-related issues. A little commitment and you'd have your sweet cherry tree standing stern and firm in your yard. Tart cherry trees although are not much loved in terms of taste but are easy to grow. They are more resistant to drought, diseases, poor weather conditions and pest attacks.


Both the cherry trees will need care – offer them a sunlight rich site, effective air circulation, and well moist soil. Self-fertile cherry trees are better at producing crops than other varieties that need pollination. In the least case, if you choose a variety that is not self-fertile, make sure to read the tag that comes with it. This tag must specify the cultivar details that need to be planted along with it for a better crop. Also, maintain a distance of no less than 35 to 40 feet (8 to 10 feet among dwarf trees) between standard cherry trees.

Watering Practices:

Once you've planted your cherry tree, don't leave it hanging out dry. For the first year, keep it well-moistened and soaked in water. If the topsoil comes off to be dry and lumped, you need to soak it deep down. Mulching should do the job. Mulch keeps the roots moist and cool. Also, seasonally, you may want to change the watering practices as per the need.


Fertilizer must be fed to the soil and not to the tree. If the tree seems healthy, a regular compost application should do the job. If you feel the soil is nutrient deficient, it is advised to do a sample test. Only then should you add a reasonable amount of fertilizer to the soil. The need for fertilizers can also be determined based on the growth of the tree – a sweet cherry tree grows by 10 to 15 inches every year whereas a sour cherry tree will grow by 8 to 10 inches yearly only.


Pruning is a step you can never take for granted. It ensures the strength and food production of the tree. How often should you prune your tree will depend upon the tree type, variety, and your region's climate. For example, sweet cherry trees in a colder climate will need pruning in late winters, but those in a humid climate would need pruning by late spring. Lastly, don’t forget to save your cherry tree of birds. As much as we love cherries, birds love them too. Bird netting and other similar techniques can help you with it. Happy gardening to you!
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