What Does A Small Cherry Tree Look Like


A small cherry tree typically has lush green leaves with a glossy texture. Depending on the species and variety, they may be either large or small, rounded or more elongated. They may be finely toothed, double-toothed, or even lobed at the edges. The leaves’ surface may be either smooth or slightly fuzzy. They are alternately arranged on the twig and feature a prominent midrib.
A small cherry tree can be deciduous or evergreen. Evergreen cherry trees typically keep their leaves year-round and feature berries nearly continuously. Deciduous trees drop their foliage in fall and flower again in the following spring.
Danielle Sahouria, a horticulturist at Ironwood Treecare in Seattle, Washington, noted that “some small cherry trees feature double-toothed leaves, such as the Nanking cherry, which is adapted for wet, cold climates. Other species such as the Black Tartarian Cherry have jagged-edged, ovoid leaves that turn yellow in fall.”

Flower Buds

A small cherry tree produces flower buds in mid-spring, at the beginning of the growing season. They can come in an array of colors, from white to yellow, pink, and purple, depending on the species. “They’re also of different shapes and sizes, ranging from pearly white and almond-shaped to vibrant pink or yellow,” pointed out Joan Lamb, garden editor for Gardenista Magazine in Los Angeles.
The small cherry tree’s flower buds open in late spring, producing several white to light pink-toned flowers each with 5 petals. These flowers give off a pleasant, sweet scent, and contain both male and female flowering parts in their base. “This allows for easy self-pollination,” said Sahouria.


Finally, a small cherry tree produces small cherries as fruits. These appear in clusters on the twigs, where they mature during the summer months. In most species, these cherries vary in color, from light red to a dark red-black. Depending on the species, they may be either sour or sweet.
KATHERINE BLAKE, a certified Arborist in Portland, explained that “cherries can be a wonderful source of nutrition and a great addition to a healthy diet, as they contain vitamins C, K, and E, minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, and antioxidants.”


To keep a small cherry tree healthy and looking its best, some pruning and shaping may be required. This helps promote strong growth as well as blooms and fruit.
“Prune in late winter or early spring before the new growth starts. This helps you shape the tree to your desired look and get rid of dead, diseased, or misshapen branches,” Sahouria said. She noted that only about 5-10% of the tree should need to be pruned.
When pruning, maintain the tree’s natural form. This can help minimize the need for pruning and maintain a pleasing shape. Prune as little as possible while still keeping the desired appearance.

Light and Water Requirements

Most small cherry trees require full sun, mainly to ensure good flower, fruit, and leaf production. They need between 6-8 full hours of sunshine a day in the growing season. “Without enough sunshine, the tree may not bloom and won’t fruit as abundant as it should,” Blake explained.
In addition, keep the tree watered often during the growing season, about 2-3 times a week for about 30 minutes each time. In hot weather, the tree may need more moisture to offset the heat.

Soil Requirements

For a small cherry tree to thrive, it needs well-drained soils with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. A neutral pH of 6.5-7.0 is ideal, but soil types that are slightly acidic or basic can be just as suitable.
Blake noted that “while cherries can be grown in clay loam soils and compacted soils, these can affect the health of the tree over time, reducing its production. Adding a layer of mulch or organic material will help keep the soil moist, keep weeds down, and boost the nutrient supply.”

Intensive Care and Fertilization

Small cherry trees need intensive care in their first few years of life. This includes regular pruning and monitoring for pests and diseases. If the soil lacks essential nutrients, fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer.
Sahouria said, “You can also use insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils to keep pests away from the young tree. Monitor the tree’s condition frequently, especially in the first few years, and take preventive or corrective measures to correct any issues.”

Winter Care

Finally, small cherry trees need extra care during winter. Winter winds and cold can cause significant damage to the tree, most often in its trunk and branches. Shielding the tree from cold winds using a burlap wrap or a blanket can help.
Blake explained, “In extreme cold winter weather, the tree can still suffer damage. If necessary, cover it with blankets or plastic sheets, especially when temperatures dip below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.” Be sure to remove any coverings in the early spring when temperatures rise.

Frost Protection

To prevent cold weather damage to the blooms and young fruits, use frost protection methods. Install fans in the orchard to help circulate the air and warm it slightly, or use frost protection sprays that coat the plant with a thin film of ice.
Frost protection is especially important in the early months of summer, when temperatures vary from cool to warm frequently. “Cover plants with plastic sheeting or blankets during the coldest hours of the night,” noted Blake.

Harvesting and Storage

When harvesting cherries, be sure to pick only mature fruits. These will be firm to the touch and will come off easily when pick them. Ripening times depend on the species, so check the fruit every few days and pick them as soon as they are ripe.
When storing cherries, airtight containers are recommended to keep away moisture and prevent mold growth. “You can also freeze them, but berries that have been frozen tend to lose some of their sweetness,” said Lamb.

Invasive Species

Cherry trees are sometimes susceptible to pest invasion or disease. Watch out for symptoms such as wilting or yellowing leaves, discolored fruiting bodies, and general decline of the plant health.
If the tree is infested with a harmful pest, pruning and careful cleanup of fallen leaves and debris is necessary. In severe cases, you may need to use a pesticide to prevent the infestation from spreading to other trees. Remove dead or heavily damaged branches and fruits in order to minimize the effects and promote healthy future growth.

Pests and Diseases

Small cherry trees can suffer from different kinds of pests and diseases. These can range from aphids to Japanese beetle grubs and more. Mealybugs and the red-humped caterpillar are often pests to look out for.
In addition, diseases such as bacterial canker, brown rot, and crown rot can affect a small cherry tree’s health and production. Blake cautioned, “These attacks can cause dying and defoliation, as well as bursts of rotting fruits. If untreated, these diseases can cause significant damage and severely limit the tree’s health and productivity.”


In order for the small cherry tree to bear fruit, it needs to be properly pollinated. Both insects and wind are responsible for the pollination process for small cherry tree species.
To facilitate the pollination process and increase the chances of a successful fruit set, enlist the help of pollinator insects, such as honey bees and bumble bees, by planting wildflowers and other nectar-rich plants near your cherry tree.
Provide convenient access points for the bees to make their way between the tree and the nearby plants, making sure that they’re close enough to do their job yet far enough away to not disturb you. Also make sure to avoid using harsh pesticides that might kill the bees.


To enhance the small cherry tree’s growth, try fertigation. This process involves delivering a fertilizer solution directly to the tree’s roots via drip irrigation systems. It can be customized to provide specific amounts of essential nutrients needed by the plants, while also boosting their growth and development.
“Fertigation helps reduce the amounts of water used to water and fertilize the plants,” Lamb said. She noted that organic matter such as compost can also be incorporated into the irrigation system to replenish the ground soil and help support the tree during the growing season.

Pruning in the Off-Season

During the off-season, prune the small cherry tree lightly to promote healthy and stronger growth for the following spring. This will also help keep the tree’s shape and encourage branching and vivid flowering.
Blake noted that “normal off-season pruning can help avoid problems that can occur during the growing season, such as overcrowding and lack of vigor. Prune away dead, diseased, and damaged branches, as well as any weak new growth.”

Tips for Successful Growing

When it comes to understanding the requirements and needs of a small cherry tree, the key is to start with a healthy one. Look for an established, disease-resistant variety that is suitable for your climate and soils.
Moreover, adequately provide light, water, and soil conditions for proper growth and development. Regularly monitor for pests and diseases and, if necessary, treat them with suitable methods such as natural or chemical repellents. Lastly, make sure to provide the tree with regular fertilizer and pruning when the need arises.
Cherry trees may require some extra effort in terms of care and maintenance, but with the right growing conditions and adequate care, they can flourish, producing deliciously sweet and lush fruit year after year.

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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