Answers to Questions on Planting and Growing Cherry Trees

Most people love eating fresh cherries or fresh baked cherry pie, and nothing is more satisfying than growing your own crop of this delicious fruit. Planting and tending a cherry tree is not hard, but you should know about selecting a variety compatible with your climate zone, choosing a planting location with good sun and soil, and tending the tree by watering and fertilizing at the right times.


What climate zones do cherry trees grow in?

Sour cherries grow in colder climates than sweet cherries, and they thrive in USDA climate zones 4 to 9. Sweet cherries prefer the milder climates of zones 5 to 8. Choose a variety best suited for your climate zone.

When is the best time of year to plant a cherry tree?

Plant cherry trees in the winter when the tree is dormant.

Can you grow a cherry tree from a cherry pit?

Yes, but it will not be the same as the cherry it came from. Growing cherries from seed produces a hybrid with qualities different than either of the parents.

What kind of soil does a cherry tree need?

Plant your cherry tree in fertile soil with good drainage and a pH level of 6 to 6.5.

How do you dig a hole for planting a cherry tree?

Dig the hole at least twice the size of the root ball of the tree. Mix in a small amount of organic matter with the native soil to improve drainage and add nutrients. Good sources of organic matter include:

  • Compost
  • Decomposed manure
  • Leaf mold

When do you fertilize a cherry tree?

Cherry trees do not need an abundance of fertilizer. Testing your soil for nutrients at planting time and each year thereafter helps you figure out how much fertilizer to apply. In general, fertilize with a low-nitrogen fertilizer only once per year in spring before blossoms appear.

How much sun do cherry trees need?

A lot. Choose a site with full-sun, providing at least 8 hours of direct light each day.

How much water does a cherry tree need?

It depends on where you live. If you have summer rain, you will need to irrigate less than if you live in a dry summer climate. However, cherry trees do need regular irrigation in summer, but it is just as important not to over-irrigate because too much water can lead to fungal diseases of the root system.

How long until a cherry tree starts to produce fruit?

Standard size sweet cherries start bearing a fruit crop in four to seven years after planting. Dwarf trees bear fruit in about two to three years. Sour cherries begin fruiting three to five years after planting.