How To Identify A Cherry Tree By Its Bark

Identify a Cherry Tree by Its Bark

The bark of a cherry tree, like other trees, can serve as one of its most important identifying features. Different types of cherry trees have distinct patterns and textures in their bark. By honing in on the unique characteristics of cherry tree bark, you can identify its variety and distinguish it from other types of trees.

Cherry tree belly bark is marked with a pattern of shallow, vertical ridges and furrows, but the texture and depth of this pattern will vary based on the species of cherry tree. The bark of Mazzard cherry trees, for example, is smoother than other varieties. In addition, cherry trees will have tiny, raised bumps on their bark, most commonly seen on first and second year stems.

When identifying a cherry tree, start by paying attention to the color of its bark. Japanese flowering cherry trees have a reddish-brown bark, while American black cherry trees tend to be grayish and smooth. Additionally, many cherry trees will differ in color based on the climate. In colder climates, cherry tree bark will often be darker and can appear almost black, while in hot climates the bark will lighten, turning a red or even golden or yellow color.

Cherry tree bark can also be identified apart from its color as it will often be slightly sticky to the touch due to its thick, spongy embodiment. This density makes it difficult for parasites to penetrate the tree’s bark and cause damage. However, this unique texture can also make the tree susceptible to other environmental factors, like fungal infections.

Pay attention to the cracks and crevices in a cherry tree’s bark as well. The vertical ridges will be distinctive while some varieties may also have corky wings. These vertical ridges and wings can help distinguish black cherry trees from other varieties as well. As mentioned before, Mazzard cherry tree bark is especially smooth with shallow furrows, so if the cherry tree in question has larger furrows, it is not a Mazzard.

Every cherry tree will also have a layer of lichen on its bark. Lichen is a combination of fungus and algae, and its presence can be used to further differentiate between cherry trees and other species. While common on cherry trees, lichen can also be found on other tree varieties.

Finally, if you are trying to identify a cherry tree for its fruit, take a look at the branches. Unlike other varieties, cherry tree branches tend to be contorted and twisted, resembling antlers. However, it’s worth noting that this is not a surefire way to identify a cherry tree as other trees, like birch, have similarly contorted branches.

Find Out Whether A Cherry Tree is Mature Enough For Fruit Production

Once you have successfully identified the type of cherry tree in question, it’s important to determine whether the cherry tree is mature enough for fruiting. This is easiest to do by examining the size of the tree’s trunk. Mature cherry trees will usually have a trunk that is between 8 and 12 inches in diameter.

Other good features to measure are the tree’s pruning points. Young cherry trees should have less than seven pruning points, while mature trees will have over nine. If possible, measure the diameter of the branches as well. On average, mature cherry trees will have branches that are between 1 and 2 inches thick.

You can also look at the spacing of the leaves. Fully matured cherry trees will have fewer leaves spaced out more evenly than younger trees. If a cherry tree has too many leaves and they are more bunched together, it is likely too young for producing fruit.

The bark of an evergreen cherry tree is an especially good indicator of its maturity. The bark of an evergreen tree should be scaly and with a deep smoke grayish-brown color, indicating an age of about 10 to 20 years. Trees older than 20 can still bear fruit, but the quality of their fruit may not be as good.

Finally, you should also check the number of blossoms the tree has. Trees that have mature enough to produce fruits will usually have more blossoms. Since the size of the flower is not an accurate indicator and a tree can have large flowers but few fruits, counting the number of blossoms is a reliable way to tell if a cherry tree is mature.

Take Care of a Cherry Tree to Keep it Healthy

Once you have determined the type and maturity of the cherry tree, it’s important to properly care for it. While cherry trees are relatively drought-tolerant, they need regular watering during the summer and spring months to thrive, so they should be given the equivalent of 1 – 1.5 inches of water a week from irrigation systems or manual watering, depending on the climate.

In addition, cherry trees may need to be pruned every year to remove dead or damaged limbs as well as limbs that do not bear fruit. Pruning should be done during fall and early winter, when the tree is not actively growing. Finally, cherry trees should also be properly fertilized 2 to 3 times a year to help promote better yield and quality of fruit.

Be Aware of Potential Pests and Diseases in Cherry Trees

In addition to following proper care instructions, you should also be aware of the potential pests and diseases that can survive in cherry trees. The most common pests are aphids, caterpillars, and mites, while cherry trees can also be susceptible to fungal diseases, such as brown rot and powdery mildew. To prevent the spread of these pests and diseases, it’s important to regularly examine the tree and take steps to get rid of infestations.

The presence of pests can be identified by the presence of sticky honeydew or webbing on the leaves and the stems. As for the signs of fungal diseases, spores or discolorations should become visible, most commonly seen in the outermost leaves or petioles. If you come across these signs, it’s important to take action to prevent the infestation from further damaging the tree.

Best Conditions for Cherry Trees to Thrive

Though cherry trees are hardy, they still require some specific conditions to thrive. First and foremost, cherry trees prefer deep and fertile soil. Therefore, it’s best to fertilize the soil before planting the tree in order to provide the best possible conditions for it to grow.

In terms of light, cherry trees do best with full sun during the spring and summer months, when they are actively growing. During the winter months, however, they can tolerate partial sun. Additionally, cherry trees require a cool climate and adequate humidity.

Finally, cherry trees should be planted in the late winter or early spring months in order to give them enough time to adapt to their new environment. Additionally, they should be planted in areas that have cooler climates and away from other trees in order to allow them to spread their root systems without obstruction.


By familiarizing yourself with the unique characteristics of cherry tree bark, you can easily identify a cherry tree from other tree types. Additionally, by looking at the size of the trunk and the number of blossoms, you can also determine whether the tree is mature enough to produce fruit. While cherry trees are relatively drought-tolerant, they should still receive regular watering during the summer and spring months as well as fertilizing 2 to 3 times a year.

Finally, you should be aware of potential pests and diseases that can afflict the tree and take steps to get rid of them. Providing the necessary environment for a cherry tree such as deep and fertile soil, full sun, cool climates and adequate humidity can help the tree to thrive and produce fruit.

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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