How Big Can A Cherry Tree Grow

Height and Spread of Wild Cherry Trees

The American wild cherry tree (Prunus serotina) grows rapidly, reaching heights of up to 100 feet and spreads of 25-30 feet. It grows in a pyramid-like shape with a strong, straight trunk and wide, spreading branches. It is found in various forest types throughout much of Eastern North America. It can live for more than 250 years and is the only native cherry tree in the area.

Size of Cultivated Cherry Trees

Cultivated cherry trees, such as Sweet Cherry (Prunus Avium) or Sour Cherry (Prunus Cerasus) don’t tend to grow as large as wild cherry trees, typically reaching heights of 20 to 25 feet with a spread of 15-20 feet. Sweet cherry trees can live for up to 60 years, while sour cherry trees can survive for around 40 years.

Factors Affecting Growth

Several factors can affect the growth of cherry trees. Light, temperature, soil type and moisture levels all play a part in determining the size of the tree. Good air circulation and lots of sunshine will help the tree to grow to its maximum potential. The amount of pruning and maintenance performed also has a large impact on the size of the tree.

Diseases that can affect Growth

Cherry trees are susceptible to numerous fungi and illnesses. The most common of these are wood rot, leaf spot, blossom wilt, powdery mildew and canker. These can all lead to stunted growth with leaves wilting and the tree itself declining in health. Pruning and removing diseased branches can help to reduce the impact of the disease.

Pruning for Maximum Growth

Encouraging taller growth in cherry trees can be achieved by pruning the lower branches. This allows more sunlight to reach the upper branches and stimulates growth of taller shoots. Pruning should be done carefully in winter when the tree is dormant, as pruning at other times of year may result in dieback.

Harvesting Cherries

Cherry trees typically start to fruit when they are between five and ten years old. As a general rule, larger trees produce more cherries than smaller trees. Once in full production, a cherry tree can produce between five and ten pounds of cherries each season.

Cultivars for Maximum Growth

When selecting a cherry tree for maximum growth, there are several cultivars to choose from. The Stella cherry tree is a popular choice for its disease resistance and sweet flavor. The Burgundy cherry tree is a vigorous grower which produces high yields of sweet, large cherries. The Van cherry tree is a reliable, heavy-bearing tree with sweet, dark red cherries with a tart flavor.

Growing Cherry Trees in Containers

Cherry trees can also be grown in containers. Dwarf cultivars are the best choice for this, as they tend to be more manageable in terms of size. The trees should be planted in pots that are large enough to accommodate the roots, with good drainage. Doing this means the trees can be moved around depending on the weather and access to sunlight.

Maintenance and Water Requirements

Cherry trees require regular pruning and maintenance to ensure they grow to their maximum potential. Pruning should be done in winter when the tree is dormant and branches should be cut back to half their size or just above a bud. Watering is also important and trees should be watered regularly to ensure the soil is kept moist.

Fertilising Cherry Trees

Fertilising is essential for a cherry tree to thrive and reach its maximum potential. A balanced fertilizer should be used, applied during the growing season to promote healthy growth. Fertiliser should be applied at least twice a year, in springtime and late summer.

Surviving Cold Winters

Cherry trees can survive low temperatures but some protection may be needed in super cold years. Wrapping the tree in plastic, straw or burlap can help to protect it from the cold. Young trees should be planted in sheltered locations with good air circulation.

Pests and Diseases

Cherry trees are prone to various pests and diseases which can damage the health of the tree and reduce fruit production. Aphids, spider mites, caterpillars and birds can all cause problems, while diseases such as wood rot, leaf spot, blossom wilt, powdery mildew and canker can have a severe impact. Regular monitoring for pests and diseases is essential for keeping the tree healthy.

Fruit Yields and Taste

The yield and taste of cherries from a tree can vary widely depending on the cultivar. Sweet cherry trees tend to produce sweeter fruits with higher yields, while sour cherries usually have a tart, tangy flavor and smaller yields. Gala, Stella, Van and Burgundy cherries are all popular for their flavor and yield.

Harvesting and Storage

Cherries should be picked when the fruit is ripe and the stem is still attached. The fruit can then be stored in a cool, dry place. Alternatively, they can be frozen and used in jams and pies later on.

Uses of Cherry Trees

Cherry trees are not just used for their fruit, they also have various uses in gardens and yards. The dense shade they provide can help to cool down areas in summer, while the flowers that adorn the tree in springtime are a stunning sight. The branches and leaves of the tree are also popular for craftwork.

Varieties of Cherries

There are a wide variety of cherry trees available, from tart to sweet and from big to small. Some of the most popular cherries for eating are the Sweetheart Sour Cherry, Stella Sweet Cherry, Cascade Sweet Cherry and Nanki Sour Cherry. They all have different characteristics and flavors.


Cherry trees can grow to impressive heights, with wild cherries reaching up to 100 feet tall and cultivated varieties generally reaching around 20-25 feet tall. With the right care and conditions, they can produce high yields of delicious cherries. There are numerous varieties of cherry trees available, each with their own unique flavor, yield and characteristics. Whether you are growing wild cherry trees or cultivating smaller varieties, cherry trees add a beautiful addition to any garden.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

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