If you want to harvest cherries in the summer, you should plant a cherry tree. In this article you will learn how to properly plant and care for this low-maintenance fruit tree.
Planting a cherry tree is always a good idea. You can make delicious cherry pie, jam or even cherry pit pillows from the stone fruits. In spring, the blossoms of sour and sweet cherries also serve as an important food source for bees and other insects. But before you can enjoy a bountiful cherry harvest, you must first plant and properly care for the cherry tree.
Planting a cherry tree: The right varieties for the garden
If you want to plant a cherry tree, you’re spoiled for choice. Sweet and sour cherries come in many different varieties. It’s best to choose hardy cherry varieties that will stand up well to the European climate and produce a bountiful harvest.
- Proven sweet cherry varieties include “Regina,” “Büttner’s Red Knotted Cherry,” “Hedelfinger Giant Cherry” and “Summit.”
- Proven sour cherry varieties include ‘Carnelian’, ‘Agate’, ‘Jade’ and ‘Hungarian Grape’.
If you want to grow cherries in your natural garden, you should also pay attention to the planting form of the cherry tree. Tall trunks, half trunks or bush trees work well if you only have a small garden. Cherry trees in these shapes can be found in well-stocked garden stores. As columnar and shaped fruit you can even plant the cherry tree on the balcony or terrace.
By the way: All sweet cherry trees need to be pollinated by the pollen of another cherry. Therefore, you should always plant at least two cherry trees in your garden.
Planting a cherry tree: this is how you do it right
To get a rich harvest, you should plant the cherry tree in a sunny place. (Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / MabelAmber)
Ideally, you should plant the cherry tree in the fall, starting in mid-October. Find out what else you need to consider when planting a cherry tree here:
- The right location: Most cherry trees do not have high demands on their location. It is best to find a warm, sunny spot in your garden that is protected from rain and wind. Also, find out how tall and wide your cherry tree’s crown will be and plant it accordingly with enough distance from other trees and shrubs.
- The right soil: Soil that is too heavy and too wet is not for the cherry tree. Therefore, loosen the soil well before planting the root ball. This will prevent waterlogging and at the same time you can add some humus to the soil to make it more nutritious.
Plant the cherry tree:
- First, dig a planting hole for your cherry tree. The hole should be about twice the size of the root ball.
- Loosen the soil at the bottom of the planting hole with a hoe.
- To give the cherry tree more support, you can now attach a support stake. Make sure that the stake is about the same height as the trunk of the fruit tree. Now drive the stake on the west side so that the wind will later push the cherry tree away from the stake and not against it.
- Mix the previously dug out planting soil with some compost. This will ensure that the young cherry tree gets enough nutrients.
- Place the root ball in the center of the planting hole and seal the hole with the excavated planting soil.
- Lightly tamp down the soil and finally water the cherry tree generously.
Properly care for cherry tree
After planting your cherry tree, most of the work is already done. Cherry trees are very low maintenance fruit trees. If you care for them properly, you’ll have a bountiful cherry harvest come summer. The following tips will help you keep your cherry tree healthy:
- Water: Cherry trees do better with dry soil than with soil that is too wet. Waterlogging can quickly cause the tree to die. In hot summers with heat waves, you should still water the cherry tree regularly. To prevent the soil from drying out too quickly after watering, you can also mulch the soil.
- Fertilize: At the end of winter, you can fertilize the cherry tree with some compost. In summer, you can additionally work some organic fertilizer into the top layer of soil around the trunk of the tree.
- Pruning: Especially in the first years after planting, you should prune the cherry tree once a year.
- Pests and diseases: Especially the sweet cherry is often attacked by the cherry fruit fly. The best way to control them is with nematodes. Cherry trees are also susceptible to shotgun blight, monilia tip drought and valsa disease. The best way to protect your tree from these diseases is to water it with strengthening nettle manure.