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.
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.
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.
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.
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.