What are Some Tips for Growing Cherries?

Amy Hunter

Growing cherries is a fun hobby if you have room in your yard for the trees and time to devote to their care. Because cherry trees bloom and set their fruit early, cherries are often the first fruit ready to eat in the summer. Cherry trees can take up a great deal of room or be pruned into a manageable size. Some people even create what are known as espaliers. These are trees that are aggressively pruned and grown flush against a wall or other structure.

Most trees that produce sweet cherries require a pollinator.
Most trees that produce sweet cherries require a pollinator.

The most important requirement for successfully growing cherries is a cold winter. If you live in a climate without much frosty weather during the winter months, your cherry tree will suffer. The cold weather allows the trees to go into dormancy and gain strength for a generous harvest the following year. A mild winter will normally result in a light crop of cherries.

A cherry pie.
A cherry pie.

If you are interested in growing cherries, it is important to know what type of cherry tree you want. Most sweet cherry trees require a pollinator. If your yard is large enough for two trees, this is not a problem. If there is not room in your yard for two trees, purchase a self pollinating tree. Most sour cherry trees are self pollinators and there are several varieties of sweet cherry trees that are self pollinating as well.

Cherry trees need to be planted far enough from one another that they all get plenty of sunshine.
Cherry trees need to be planted far enough from one another that they all get plenty of sunshine.

Fungal infections are a big concern when growing cherry trees. There are sprays available that can reduce and treat fungal infections, but you can also take maintenance steps to reduce the risk of fungus on your trees. If you are planting more than one tree, plant them about 20 feet (6.5 meters) apart. This allows each tree to get sunshine as well as breezes, which keep the tree dry and healthy.

Cherries are often the first fruits to ripen in the summer.
Cherries are often the first fruits to ripen in the summer.

Another way to reduce the risk of your cherry trees developing a fungal infection is by only pruning when it is dry. Pruning wet trees is an easy way to allow fungus into the tree as well as spread it from one tree to the other.

Growing cherries starts before you ever plant your tree. Cherry trees thrive in soil that is rich and drains easily. While they like water, they do not do well if their roots remain wet for an extended period of time. Add aged manure, compost and other organic matter to the hole before you plant your cherry tree. This will provide it with plenty of nutrients and get it started strong and healthy.

Many trees that produce sour cherries are self-pollinating.
Many trees that produce sour cherries are self-pollinating.

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Discussion Comments

Raynbow

@ocelot60- I have had the same problem with birds in my cherry trees. My trees are not very tall, so I am able to cover them with netting to keep the birds out of them and protect the cherries.

Ocelot60

I love growing cherries because I enjoy making cherry pies in the early weeks of summer. However, it is important to be ready to harvest the cherries when they are ripe because otherwise you will have competition from birds who also love to eat cherries.

When my cherries begin to get ripe, I pick the first batch for my first pies of the summer. Shortly after my first harvest, the next batch of cherries seems to get ripe very quickly. This is the time that I also notice a lot of blackbirds and other feathered friends in my yard.

Though I'm not always ready to make more cherry pies, I pick all of the ripe cherries and freeze those that I don't use. This process ensures that the birds do not get all of my cherries before I enjoy them and that I am able to make all of the pies that I want for the season.

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