There aren’t many things that ring in the end of school and the start of summer quite like the first cherries harvest of the season. Available in many different varieties, cherry trees bless us with the perfect go-to snack.
And like any fruit, the best-tasting cherries come from the fruit trees that you grow yourself! Don’t know where to start? Then you’ve come to the right place! We have countless resources on everything you should know about cherries.
Planting Cherry Trees
Let’s start from the basics.
This post walks you through the essential steps necessary to planting and growing a tree from seed. It might seem like a long and laborious process, but it’s one of the best ways I know to connect with nature, ground myself in the land, and feel grateful for that first harvest.
Growing Cherry Trees
Whether you’ve planted a cherry tree for the fruit or for its beautiful flowering season, it’s important to know how to care for it properly to ensure its health.
If you’re looking for an in-depth and comprehensive guide, this is the post for you. It takes you through the what, where, how—and even the why! Plus, learn the different ways you can grow a cherry tree for yourself. You don’t necessarily have to start from seed!
Did you know that Meteor Sour Cherry Trees produce some of the best cherries for making all different kinds of baked goods? If you’ve already decided that a sour cherry tree is the way to go for you, then read on.
Healthy soil is important because it delivers nutrients to the roots of the cherry tree! So, naturally, one of the best things you can do for your cherry tree is to ensure nutritious, rich, and well-draining soil.
Though it might feel like a crime to cut any beautiful flowering branches, pruning is actually essential to keeping a fruit tree in good health, and helping it produce its fruits more efficiently.
Like all plants and trees, cherry trees are susceptible to all manners of pests and diseases. As with most things, the best solution is prevention. But if worst comes to worst, learn how to diagnose and treat these pesky problems.
If you’re getting ready for your first cherry harvest (my favorite time of the year!) then you might benefit from a few tips and tricks. That way you’re sure to avoid picking them too early, too late, or accidentally damaging them in the process.
Cherries in the Kitchen
Now is the time for my favorite part! Part of the reason cherries are so amazing is because they taste great picked right off the tree, and also in many different baking recipes.
If you hate having to eat around the cherry pit like I do, or want to make the snack safer for your young children to eat, then take a look at my Best Cherry Pitters. If you don’t have time to review the entire post, here I’ve highlighted some of my top choices:
Health Benefits of Cherries
Did you know that cherries are also very healthy for you? As if we needed any more reasons to love this fruit! Check out the post below to learn all about what exactly is going in in this small, brightly colored fruit.
Just like all fruits, there are many different cherry varieties out there.
If you’ve already decided whether you want to grow a sweet cherry tree or a sour cherry tree, then jump straight into one of the two categories:
If you’re curious to know more about cherry varieties in general, here are the ones I’ve highlighted:
Benton Cherry Tree
Bing Cherry Tree
Blackgold Cherry Tree
Black Republican Cherry Tree
Black Tartarian Cherry Tree
Canada Red Chokecherry tree
Carmine Jewel Cherry Tree
Corum Cherry Tree
Early Richmond Cherry Tree
Emperor Francis Cherry Tree
English Morello Cherry Tree
Fantastic North Star Cherry Tree
Higan Cherry Tree
Japanese Cherry Tree
Lapins Cherry Tree
Montmorency Cherry Trees
Pink Weeping Cherry Tree
Prolific Lambert Cherry Tree
Rainier Cherry Tree
Regina Cherry Tree
Royal Ann Cherry Tree
Can my pets eat cherries?
If your pets are anything like mine, they follow you everywhere in the kitchen in the hopes of snagging a scrap of human food here and there. So what happens if you drop a cherry, and your cat or dog gets to it before you do?
The short answer is no, because they could risk cyanide poisoning. For the longer and more detailed answer, take a look at my posts dedicated to our furry friends:
Can I grow a cherry tree from seed?
Yes you can! I won’t lie to you, however—it will be quite a while before your tree is developed enough to start producing cherries! But it’s a rewarding process well worth the time and energy it takes. Take a look at my section about planting cherry trees to learn more.
Are cherry stains hard to remove?
Because of their brightly colored juice, cherry stains are indeed a bit more stubborn than, say, apple juice stains. But not impossible! Experts seem to agree that lemon juice does a great job of removing cherry stains because of its acid components. The sooner you can treat the stain, the better!
Hint: if you’re at a restaurant, you could ask the waiter for a slice of lemon so you don’t have to wait to get home to start fighting the stain.
How long will it take my cherry tree to produce fruit after I plant it in my garden?
Sweet cherry trees start producing fruit within four to seven years of being planted and sour cherry trees produce fruit within three to five years. Dwarf varieties yield even sooner; some as soon as two years after planting.
Which cherry trees have the prettiest blossoms?
The cherry tree considered to have the prettiest blossoms is the Kwanzan Cherry tree. With clusters of four to five double-pink flowers, the blossoms on this tree look like carnations.
The Autumn Cherry is another tree with attractive semi-double blossoms that make two appearances each year: a full bloom in the spring and a second, lesser, bloom in the fall. Yoshino Cherries are the famous Cherry Blossom Festival trees that blossom along the Potomac in Washington D.C. every year.
Do all cherry trees produce fruit?
Yes, but not all varieties of cherry trees produce fruit that is edible by humans. The ornamental “cherry blossom” trees like Higan, Yoshino, and Kwanzan were bred for show-stopping displays of flowers, rather than the delicious fruit of edible cherry trees.
Can I plant a sweet and a sour cherry tree near each other for cross-pollination?
No. Sweet cherry varieties won’t cross pollinate sour cherries. Technically, a sour cherry is able to pollinate a sweet cherry tree, but it’s not likely that the blossoms of the trees will be open at the same time.
Which is better? A sweet cherry tree or a sour cherry tree?
It depends on a couple factors:
- What do you want to use the fruit for? Sweet cherries are best eaten raw. Sour cherries aren’t good snacking fruit, but are better for baking (pies, tarts, turnovers, etc) than sweet cherries.
- How much space do you have for planting? Sweet cherries need another sweet cherry tree nearby as a pollination partner. You’ll need space for two trees planted at least twenty-five feet apart for full-sized trees and six to ten feet apart for dwarf-sized trees. Take into consideration that you’ll need to plant them the same distance away from buildings and structures as well.
- A sour cherry tree doesn’t need a pollination partner, so it can be the sole cherry tree in your garden and still produce fruit. Full-sized sour cherries need to be at least 18 feet away from structures and other trees.
How long will my cherry trees live?
Most cherry varieties only live between fifteen to thirty years, mainly because of pests and diseases. Healthy trees, however, can live a long time. Black Cherry trees, for example, can live up to 250 years. The world’s oldest living cherry tree is Jindai Zakura, an almost 2,000 year-old ornamental wild Higan Cherry tree in Japan.
On average, how many cherries can I get from a tree?
Mature, standard-sized cherry trees yield thirty to fifty quarts of fruit: around 7,000 cherries. If you consider a cherry pie contains roughly 250 cherries, a single sour cherry tree produces enough fruit to make about twenty-eight pies!
Grow Your Own Cherry Trees!
Growing cherry trees is a sweet and rewarding process. With a little bit of care and patience, any one can do it!
if you love cherries as much as I do, bookmark this page and check back often. We’re always adding content to help you on your cherry-growing journey!
In the meantime, discover more delicious fruit: