How To Choose A Cherry Tree

Botanical Characteristics

Cherry trees come in many varieties, each with distinct botanical characteristics. The size, shape, and color of cherry tree leaves and flowers, as well as the taste and texture of the fruit, are heavily dependent on the specific variety. Before selecting a variety of cherry tree, gardeners should consider the climate in which it will be grown, as some species may not thrive in certain climates. It is important to take into account the space available to the tree, as some varieties can grow quite large. Additionally, different types of cherry trees bear their fruit at different times, so keeping in mind when the desired fruit will be harvested should be factored in.
When selecting a cherry tree, it is important to pay attention to the branching and structural characteristics of the tree. Some varieties of cherries are trained to grow with a single main stem and have few side branches. This makes the tree easier to prune, but it also means the tree will bear less fruit than a variety with multiple branches. Furthermore, some cherry trees are vulnerable to crown rot, and those that exhibit signs of infection should be avoided.

Climate Requirements

Cherry trees grow best in temperate climates, with cold winters and warm summers. In general, cherry trees require a winter chill of around 600-1400 hours below a specific temperature (varies among species) in order to produce flowers and fruit. Depending on the variety, cherries can grow in areas with extremely high summer temperatures, as long as there is a cold winter period. Cherry trees are also highly susceptible to freezing temperatures, and they should not be planted in areas prone to late spring frosts.
When selecting a cherry tree, gardeners should also consider the type of soil the tree will be planted in. Although cherry trees will grow quickly in a wide range of soils, they prefer those with good drainage that are rich in organic matter. Moreover, sunny areas provide the best conditions for most cherry trees, however some varieties can tolerate partial shade. Therefore, it is important to take into account the amount of sunlight the cherry tree will receive, as this affects its ability to grow and produce healthy flowers and fruit.


Cherry tree pollination is a complex phenomenon. In many varieties, the tree will produce fruit even if it is self-pollinated. However, the fruit produced may not be as large or sweet as the fruit produced through cross-pollination. Cross-pollination, when a cherry tree pollinates a different variety, requires the presence of at least two compatible varieties of cherry tree in the same growing area. In order for pollination to be successful, the two varieties must bloom at the same time, as the process requires a specific interval of at least 7 days in between bloomings. Gardeners must consider this when selecting varieties to plant in a particular location.

Pest and Disease Control

Cherry trees are prone to a variety of pests and diseases. Some of the most common pests include aphids, scale insects, borers, and mites. Depending on the circumstances, pest control can be achieved with natural or chemical solutions. To prevent fungal diseases, gardeners should ensure the tree’s immediate environment is properly maintained and that irrigation is applied correctly. Additionally, most cherry tree varieties are vulnerable to crown rot, a common fungal infection, as well as to canker, which can easily spread to other trees in the vicinity. To reduce the risk of infection, gardeners should site cherry trees in areas with good air circulation, away from other trees and shrubs.

Fertilizing and Pruning

Cherry trees require regular fertilizing to grow healthily and produce quality fruit. In order to keep the root system functioning optimally, it is important to apply fertilizer to the soil in early spring, as well as in mid-summer. Mostly, fertilizers that contain nitrogen and potassium should be used. Depending on the variety, a cherry tree can be pruned in either early spring or late winter. Pruning is necessary to shape the tree and remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches. Removing fruiting spurs is also typically done, as it encourages growth of new shoots and increases yields.

Harvesting and Storing

In order to maximize flavor, cherries should be harvested in the morning, when the fruits are coolest. Care should be taken when harvesting, as too much handling of the fruit can cause bruising. Depending on the variety, cherries can either be eaten fresh or stored for later use. Some varieties have a very short shelf life, so to preserve them for future use, gardeners can freeze or dry the fruits.

Uses and Benefits

Cherries are highly nutritious and offer a host of health benefits. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, as well as plant compounds that promote overall health. Cherries can also aid in digestion and improve heart health. Additionally, cherries are often used in a variety of recipes, and can be made into jam, syrup, or cordial. In addition, by-products from the processing of cherries are often used in candies, juices, and other food items.

Crafting a Cherry Tree Landscape

Cherry trees present an ideal way to add visual interest to a landscape. Properly pruned and maintained trees can contribute a heightened sense of beauty to any backyard or garden. The bright colors of the flowers, the contrasting foliage, and the intense flavor of the fruit all make cherry trees desirable features of a garden oasis. Additionally, cherry trees need not be limited to residential landscapes; their beauty and unique characteristics make them ideal additions to commercial properties and public parks.

Growing Season

Cherry trees are typically planted in the winter and spring, when it is too cold for any of the buds to break. Planting in the fall, however, can be beneficial in areas where there is not a lot of snowfall, as the soil will be warmer and the tree will root faster. When planting the tree, gardeners should be sure to plant it slightly higher than the surrounding soil to ensure that there is adequate drainage. Additionally, cherry trees require plenty of sunlight for maximum flowering, fruiting, and growth.

Water Requirements

Once planted, cherry trees require moderate levels of water. Watering with 1 to 2 inches of water per week is usually adequate, however as the tree matures its water requirements may increase. If the cherry tree is exhibiting signs of drought stress, such as wilting leaves, the tree should be watered more frequently. As summer temperatures rise, the tree may need daily watering, as opposed to weekly. In general, the more distant the tree is from a water source, the more frequent the watering times should be.

Complementary Plantings

Cherry trees are attractive when planted in groups. This provides a greater surface area for maximum flowering, as well as optimum fruit yields. When planting multiple cherry trees, it is important to select varieties that bloom at the same time in order to cross-pollinate and ensure a great harvest. Additionally, cherry trees should be planted away from cold air areas, such as low-lying or shaded spots. Planting in areas that receive full or partial sunlight is optimal.
Finally, complementary plantings can increase the beauty of the cherry tree landscape. Since cherry trees bloom in the spring, gardeners should consider pairing them with perennials, such as daisies and violets, that will provide colour and texture to the garden after the cherry tree has stopped blooming. Additionally, plants with different bloom times can be staggered in the garden to keep the area interesting year-round. Utilizing a combination of texture and colour is a great way to design and maintain a stunning outdoor living space comprising cherry trees.

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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