How to Plant Cherry Trees for the Best Harvest!

How to Plant Cherry Trees for the Best Harvest!

Cherry Tree

Sweet delicious early summer treats, Cherry trees are wonderfully versatile, ornamental, double-duty landscaping trees that make food sustainability and healthy snacking easy!

Easy to grow flowering and fruiting garden gems, there is a very large selection of Cherry trees available to you! All selections just need just a few key steps to ensure your tree grows happy, healthy, and productive for years to come!

What is the Best Time to Plant Cherry Trees?

Cherry Path

Cherry trees are deciduous and the best time to plant bareroot plants is in the spring when they are available. Container plants can be planted almost any time of the year if you can give them proper watering and care.

Fall planting allows a tree or shrub to not fight the summer heat, has more moisture availability and cooler temperatures to work on getting their roots established without the temperature triggers to push out above-ground growth. With no demands from leaves and new stems, fruit, or flowers, a tree's energy goes entirely into root development all fall, winter, and spring.

A Cherry Tree

Spring is also a very successful time for planting. Also with cooler temperatures and more moisture availability, most growing zones allow several months of ideal weather and temperatures for root development before the summer heat kicks in.

However, if you are able to support your tree with daily watering (sometimes twice a day in the extreme heat), then any time during the growing season can be planting time! We do offer most of our Cherry varieties actively growing in containers which can be very successfully transplanted all throughout the growing season with careful attention to the watering detail.

A healthy layer of arborist mulch, Nature Hills Root Booster, in-ground irrigation, and attention are always helpful ways to boost your tree's ability to get established.

Where is the Best Place to Plant a Cherry Tree?

Blooming Cherry Tree

All fruiting trees and shrubs need full sun to have the strength and energy to produce drifts of springtime flowers. So situate your new tree in a location where it will benefit from 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, favoring the drying powers of the morning sun best!

The location should also keep low-lying cold air in the spring away from the tree with good air circulation.

If planting cherry trees in a lawn, the grass should be removed from the planting area in a four-foot diameter circle, to prevent the grass from competing with the young tree for nutrients and water. You’ll also want a mulched buffer zone between your tree and the lawn to prevent lawn fertilizer (nitrogen-rich) from interrupting flowering. Too much lawn fertilizer and a tree will simply grow lots of leafy growth but have very few flowers and therefore fruit.

House with blooming cherry tree

Cherry trees also need very well-drained soil with high organic matter to help with good moisture-holding ability and easy access to nutrients. Yearly applications of compost and a spring dose of fertilizer geared for fruiting trees are recommended.

A 3-4 inch thick layer of arborist bark chips helps enrich the soil while also holding in moisture more consistently, keeping the roots insulated from heat and chill, while also slowly breaking down to further enrich the soil.

Water regularly when trees are young and getting their roots settled into their new home. After trees are established, they do best with supplemental moisture throughout the summer to support the forming of juicy fruit.

Are Cherry Trees Hard to Grow?

Cherry tree with a heavy crop of large dark red, high quality delicious fruit cherries

Planting Cherry Trees in a home garden will allow for delicious fruit that everybody can enjoy and does not differ much from planting other types of trees, but there are some special things to consider when planting these fruit trees. 

Cherry trees are very easy to grow and have minimal maintenance. An early spring application of fertilizer is recommended, and a refreshed layer of compost/mulch each winter, plus a once-a-year pruning when dormant is all they really need.

Check with your local County Extension Office for any issues that may be prevalent in your area and also find the best varieties of Cherry trees that thrive best in your immediate area. Many Cherry tree cultivars are highly pest and disease resistant, eliminating much of the need to spray.

What is the Best Way to Plant a Cherry Tree?

How to plant a cherry tree infographic

In just a few easy steps, you can easily install a new Cherry Tree in your landscape!

  1. Contact your local Diggers Hotline to ensure the area you are digging in is free of any underground obstacles.
  2. Prepare the site in full sun with well-drained soil. Dig a hole and see if there is standing water in the bottom. If so, or you know the area typically doesn’t drain fast after heavy rains, either find a different location or add 18-24 inches of topsoil to the site and create a mounded raised bed. Plant your tree in this mound to raise the roots above the water table.
  3. Soak your container root ball in a bucket of water until it stops bubbling (and soak bareroot for several hours or overnight).
  4. Remove your tree from the grower's pot by loosening/tapping around the outside and gently remove. Or remove the wrappings and bag from your bareroot tree.
  5. The soil should also be loosened up wider than the roots to allow the roots to break through more easily. But, situate it so the roots are not planted deeper or too shallow in the hole.
  6. The roots should be spread out on the loose soil, ensuring that they are not twisted or crowded. Add a packet of Nature Hills Root Booster for a lifelong symbiotic boost!
  7. Backfill with the same soil placed around the roots and pressed down firmly, to remove any air pockets. Water your tree very well to further help settle the soil and remove air pockets.
  8. A newly planted cherry tree may need to be supported with a stake until the roots can take hold. This is important in locations with heavy drifting snow and strong winds.
  9. Top off with a 3-4 inch thick layer of arborist bark chips but not piled up against the trunk of the tree or the graft union.
  10. Check moisture levels daily by using the finger test method.

Do You Need Two Cherry Trees to Get Fruit?

blooming cherry trees

Most Sour Cherry varieties are self-pollinating, and some of the newest Sweet Cherry varieties are too, but typically most Sweet Cherry varieties will need a pollinating partner. Some varieties of Cherry Trees are typically not self-pollinating or will produce a far larger crop with a pollinator partner, meaning that having only one tree in the garden will generally not produce much fruit. Planting two or more compatible species with similar bloom times is a good idea to increase pollination and yield drastically. All Cherry trees on the Nature Hills website have suitable pollination partners listed. Find the one rated for your hardiness zone and you’ll have large harvests each and every year! Try to choose a variety of trees that ripen at different times during the summer to extend your enjoyment as well!

No room for two or more trees? Try high-density planting techniques that let you keep your trees pruned smaller, plant them in linear orchards close to one another to create a flowering and fruiting hedgerow, or try the two-trees-in-one-hole trick.

There are also many dwarf and semi-dwarf Cherry trees that tuck into nearly any sized yard or garden, or even into a large patio container!

Delectable Summer Jewels!

For the best fruit and healthiest tree, the right start goes a long way! Give your new Cherry tree all the tools it needs to start producing all the fruit your family needs for healthy snacks, desserts, preserves, and landscape beauty for years to come!

Contact Nature Hills today to begin your own orchard, large or small, today to have your new Cherry tree delivered to your doorstep!

Happy Planting!

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