Raising Cherry Trees

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated August 14, 2023)

As with all fruit trees, cherry trees are more susceptible to disease and insects than non-fruit-bearing trees. Because of that fact, it is important to prepare the ground correctly when planting a cherry tree, ensure that it receives adequate sunlight and water and, above all, receives good soil drainage. Follow these steps to prepare the ground when planting your cherry tree:

  • Since cherry trees do not like competition from other plants, choose a place to plant that is far away from shrubs, trees, bushes and weeds.
  • Clear the site of all grass, weeds, rocks, and debris, and measure the site to ensure at least twenty feet of growing space.
  • Use a garden tiller and cultivate the soil to at least eight feet. Continue to remove all debris. In short, leave nothing in the growing site except soil.
  • Apply fertilizer to the site and rake or till it into the soil, mixing thoroughly. Test the soil with a soil test kit and correct the pH to a range of 6.0 to 6.8
  • Mulch the 20-foot site to a depth of about three inches, leaving a circle of twelve inches in the center where you'll plant your tree.

Once you plant your tree and it establishes leaf growth, water only as needed. Dig down into the soil about three inches. If the soil is dry, then you need to water the tree very slowly, with a trickle of water, over about an hour. If you use forceful spurts of water, you could encourage root rot. Apply fertilizer only in early spring, the slow release variety.

Use netting over your entire tree to protect against birds harvesting your cherry crop. Harvest your crop, however, even if you don't intend to use the cherries. Harvesting just the fruit—leaving the stems behind—encourages the tree to produce more fruit the next season. Fertilize again after your harvest to protect and feed your tree through the winter.

Unlike other fruit trees that are pruned during winter months when they are dormant, you need to prune your cherry tree during late summer. Since cherry trees are apt to contract a disease called Silver Leaf in winter months, it is best to prune in late summer. Pruning leaves behind open wounds, so make sure that you use pruning paste to seal the wounds.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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