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Cherry trees are easy to plant and care for, and are a good choice for a first-time home grower. They are also aesthetically appealing. You must first decide if you will plant a sweet or sour cherry tree. The sour, or tart, cherry trees are easier to grow and are not bothered by as many pests as sweet trees.
Begin by digging a hole in fertile garden soil large enough to accommodate root growth without crowding. Remove the cherry tree from the burlap bag or pot, trim back any damaged roots, and place in the hole so that it is at the same height it was previously. Spread out the roots carefully in the hole, keeping the tree straight and upright. Put enough topsoil on the roots to keep the tree upright, then firm by patting it down gently and pouring on some water to settle the dirt around the roots. Put down the rest of the soil and water the tree again to remove air pockets from the soil around the roots.
For the first year after planting the cherry tree, the tree will need to be watered on a regular, consistent schedule. The extra water will ensure proper root development of the tree. After the first year, the cherry tree only needs to be watered as often as you would other types of fruit trees. Add organic mulch around the base of the tree to keep weed growth under control and help keep the soil from drying out.
The tree should be fertilized with a high nitrogen fertilizer. The fertilizer should be spread around the tree in a circle, but should not be put right up against the tree trunk. The amount of fertilizer needed depends on the climate and soil - information which can be found through the county government office. One should never exceed one pound of nitrogen per year for the cherry tree.
Cherry trees need protection from pest attacks, which are most commonly found from birds. Birds can easily take every cherry off a cherry tree in a short period of time. To protect the tree from birds, netting should be used around the tree. Plum curculio, cherry maggot, and aphids are some other pests that may disturb the cherry tree.
As the tree starts to grow, it will require pruning. A sweet tree will grow more upright, while a sour tree will open up more. Neither one will need a great deal of pruning, but the sweet cherry tree will need a little more attention. As the tree matures, it will need very little pruning. A cherry tree can be planted in the fall, but the optimum time to plant is during the spring, in a sunny location.
I agree with the article that sweet cherry trees are easier to grow than the cherry trees that produce sour cherries. I couldn't figure out why some of the trees I planted were growing so well and some of the others simply would not take root and grow.
I eventually determined that the trees that were dying were the sweet cherry trees. They could not withstand the hot summer months and they also suffered from the large amounts of rain we sometimes get in late fall. The bottom line was that the sweet cherry trees couldn't stand the drastic changes in weather from one season to the next.
I don't like the sour cherries as well for eating, but I do like the way the trees look when they are in bloom.
I don't have a lot of luck with growing trees and plants in the garden, but that doesn't stop me from making the effort. One reason I planted cherry trees is because I had heard that they were easy to keep alive, and would grow and produce fruit quickly.
I planted my trees exactly as I was instructed by the gardener when I bought the plants. Surprisingly, the trees did grow and they were very healthy. At some point I began to see bugs on the trees and I decided that I needed to spray the trees to kill the bugs. It sounded like a reasonable precaution to me.
A short time after spraying, I noticed a black
fungus growing all over the trees. My first impulse was to spray them again. Fortunately, I was able to get another gardener to come out and look at the trees before I sprayed. As it turned out, my trees were teeming with black cherry aphids. These were not the bugs I had noticed originally.
In fact, the bugs that had concerned be initially were lady bugs. And as I now know, they are harmless to the trees and they were probably on the trees because they were eating the aphids. Another example of a time when I should have left well enough alone.
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