Cherry trees are a sight to behold in the spring, when they’re covered in white or pink blossoms. After that, they produce the delicious cherries that most people know and love. Here’s how to grow cherry trees in your own garden!
- Sweet cherries are the variety most often found in markets. They have a thick, rich, and almost plum-like texture. Sweet cherries grow in hardiness zones 5 to 7; they are self-sterile and best for an orchard or a large garden. You’ll need at least two or three trees, as they’ll need to pollinate each other. If space is limited, consider the dwarf, self-pollinating cultivar ‘Stella’.
- Sour cherries are not usually eaten raw, but are widely used for preserves and other cooking uses. Sour cherries are much smaller than sweet cherries and all varieties are self-fertile. They grow in zones 4 to 6.
Cherry trees generally start bearing fruit in their fourth year; dwarf trees bear fruit a year earlier. One mature, standard-size tart or sweet cherry tree will produce 30 to 50 quarts of cherries each year; a dwarf tree, about 10 to 15 quarts.
Plant cherry trees in early spring or late fall (when the ground is soft and has a higher moisture content) in a sunny site with good air circulation and deep, well-drained soil. Apply mulch and water well. After flowering in a fruiting year, you’ll need to drape trees with wildlife-safe netting to protect the fruit from birds.