Why Is My Cherry Tree Not Fruiting

Cherries are a beloved fruit; they are delicious, versatile and nostalgic. But why is it that some cherry trees just won’t bloom and bear fruit? Many factors can contribute to this issue, and understanding the cause of the problem is key to determining the solution. But be aware, there can be more than one source of the problem and it may take a bit of detective work to determine the right answer.

Cherry trees require an adequate supply of sunlight, water and nutrients to produce a healthy crop of cherries. If these basic requirements are not met, the tree will lack energy and could begin to decline in health. It’s important to ensure your cherry tree is planted in an area with good drainage and at least 6–8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Regularly providing your tree with water and fertilizer during the growing season will help keep it healthy, and promote blooming.

In some cases, the reason for a tree not fruiting may be that it is too young or too old. Most cherry trees start to bear fruit three to four years after planting, and their peak of productivity is usually during their fourth to sixth year. In time, many cherry trees will start to produce fewer cherries and eventually stop producing them altogether. If your cherry tree is over 10 years, it may be wise to replace it with a younger tree.

Pests, such as aphids and bird cherry ermine moths, can cause damage to both the tree and the crop. If your tree’s leaves are turning yellow and curling while the fruit looks deformed, this could be a sign of pest infestation. If left untreated, the tree can weaken and bear fewer cherries. Professional pest control services can be contacted to inspect and effectively treat the affected tree.

Inadequate pollination can also lead to poor fruiting. Blossom drop is another symptom of inadequate pollination. Honey bees and other beneficial insects, like bumblebees and solitary bees, are essential for pollination as they play an important role in transferring pollen from the stamens to the pistils. If you do not have an abundance of these beneficial pollinators around during flowering season, you can hand pollinate your cherry tree by gently brushing the male part of the flower.

Finally, temperature and climate are two major factors that can affect the blooming and fruiting of cherry trees. As cherry trees require a specific amount of cold during the winter, any warmer-than-normal winter will decrease a cherry tree’s bloom and fruit production. Warm, dry springs can also cause the blooms to drop, resulting in fewer cherries.


Certain diseases can also reduce a cherry tree’s productivity. Brown rot and bacterial canker can both cause fruits to rot and drop, severely reducing your harvest. In these cases, it is often best to remove the affected tree, burn all the pieces, and plant a new tree, as the disease is likely to spread to the other trees in the orchard.

Monitoring your cherry tree’s health and observing its overall condition is essential to ensure a plentiful harvest. Keeping a record of the fertilizing and pruning schedule can also help, as this can give insight into what factors may have played a role in any issues. Looking out for pest problems early and ensuring adequate pollination will also help.

With a proper understanding of why a cherry tree is not fruiting, growers can take the necessary steps to address the issue and obtain a delicious, juicy reward.


Improper fertilization can lead to poor blooming and fruiting in cherry trees. If a tree is fertilized too heavily, it can stunt blooming or even prevent fruits from developing at all. On the other hand, if a tree is not fertilized enough it won’t be able to bloom or fruit to its fullest potential. A soil test is the best way to determine the type and amount of fertilizer your cherry tree needs. Most trees need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, with nitrogen being the nutrient most necessary for blooming and fruiting. Depending on the type of soil you have, you may need additional micronutrients, like magnesium and zinc.

Organic options are preferable, as they are less likely to cause an imbalance in the soil. If you choose to go with chemical fertilizers, read the instructions carefully and use in moderation, as too much of these products can cause more harm than good.


Cherry trees require pruning to keep them healthy and productive, as well as to create a more attractive form. Pruning helps remove diseased, dead, crossing and damaged branches and encourages healthy new growth. Cherry trees are usually pruned during the winter when the tree is dormant, but if no pruning was done during the winter, it can be done during the growing season.

Pruning cherry trees is a bit trickier than pruning other fruit trees, as cherry flowers grow mostly on spurs on the previous year’s growth. This means that if you prune too heavily you can end up with fewer flowers and, thus, fewer fruits. Therefore, it is important to be diligent when pruning and carefully remove only dead and crossing branches. If you are unsure how to prune cherry trees, contact a certified arborist or crop consultant.


Finally, the variety of cherry tree you are growing may affect blooming and fruiting. Some cherry varieties are self-fruitful, meaning they do not need a pollinator tree, while others require a compatible pollinator tree in order to produce a good harvest. If you are unsure of the variety and whether it requires a pollinator, contact your local cooperative extension office.

In conclusion, there can be a number of different causes for a cherry tree not producing fruit. By taking into account the tree’s age, climate, fertilization, pruning, pest issues and variety, growers can make informed decisions on what steps are necessary to promote healthy blooming and fruiting.


Proper pollination is essential for cherry trees to produce fruits. Inadequate pollination has many causes, including lack of pollinators or poor weather during the flowering season. When temperatures exceed 85°F and winds exceed 20mph during bloom time, pollination decreases. Honey bees are the ideal pollinators; they are attracted to the flowers’ sweet nectar and will move between the different varieties, transferring pollen in the process. Additionally, bumblebees and other solitary bees may also contribute to successful pollination.

However, if you are in an area where there is a limited number of native pollinators, it can be beneficial to have hives of honeybees in your orchard. Other options include hand pollination, where a painter’s brush is used to transfer pollen from the male part of a flower to the female part. This technique is effective, but it is time consuming and labor intensive.

In some cases, a lack of pollination will not be the cause of the tree not producing fruit. To ensure maximum pollination, it is best to observe the pollen transfer in the orchard. If you are having difficulty pollinating your trees, contact your local Cooperative Extension Agent for guidance.


Pollutants, such as smog, herbicides and pesticides, can also affect a cherry tree’s ability to bloom and fruit. Smoke, dust and other airborne debris can block the sunlight needed for bloom development, resulting in fewer flowers and fruits. Herbicides and pesticides can also prevent pollination and weaken the tree, resulting in fewer flowers and fruits. If your cherry tree is located in an area with high levels of toxins, it is best to consider relocating your tree or choosing a more tolerant variety.

Contact your local extension office for a list of the most tolerant varieties or for recommendations on finding locally grown plants. It is also important to consider if your tree is exposed to high levels of wind, as this can interfere with pollination and cause flower and fruit drop.

In addition to relocating or selecting more tolerant varieties, it is important to practice sustainable gardening practices. Incorporate organic methods into your gardens such as crop rotation, natural pest management and composting. Reduce your use of pesticides and herbicides as much as possible, and opt for alternatives including natural insect predators and traps.

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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