Come summer and you will notice red cherries in the fruit shelves of every grocery store. Cherry trees are the earliest blossoming fruit trees, and the branches laden with blossoms are breathtakingly beautiful. In fact, there is hardly any fruit tree that is aesthetically comparable to a cherry tree. Thus, most hobbyists prefer including cherries in their orchard. What's more, the gardening requirements for growing a cherry tree are very simple, even for first-time growers.
Some Useful Tips
In most cultivated regions, cherries are the first fruits to ripen and make their way into the supermarkets. From the gardener's point of view, cherry trees are very easy to grow at home. There are two basic requirements for the optimal growth and fruiting of cherries, viz. sufficient planting space (for at least two cherry plants) and cold frosty winters. If you can provide these factors, you can definitely grow healthy and attractive cherries in your orchard.
The peak season for this fruit is summer in some areas, while it is fall in other regions. Accordingly, the best time to grow it may be spring or fall months. In case you are growing a cherry tree from seed, sowing seeds in fall is preferable. You can consult your local horticulturist regarding this aspect and prepare the planting site as per the suggested time period.
Timely flowering and successful fruiting of cherries is dependent on which area you have selected for growing them. Thus, one of the most crucial steps is choosing the correct planting area. If available, prepare soil in a sunny area that has well-drained, fertile soil. As sweet cherries require a pollinator, you need to have enough space for planting two or more trees.
Once you have finalized the planting area, the next step is collecting viable seeds. Purchase ripe cherries from your local farmer markets, but do not refrigerate them as you usually would for storing fruits. Consume them like always, and rinse the seeds and preserve them. You can place them in a sunny window for thorough drying.
When fall arrives, prepare your garden soil or flower bed for sowing the seeds. Make several holes, 2 inches deep and with 1 foot gap in between them. Sow the seeds in these holes, and cover them lightly with soil. The viable seeds will undergo a process called stratification in winter, after which they germinate in spring.
Transplanting Young Plants
By springtime, the seeds will germinate and develop leaves. As they attain a height of about 9-12 inch, you can transplant them to your backyard, where they can grow permanently. If you prefer to grow dwarf cherry trees, you can skip the sowing, and purchase young shoots directly in spring. Plant these young plants in the same manner as you do for transplantation.
Water the newly planted trees regularly in the first year to promote root growth. Mulching is useful in conserving soil moisture, and also in reducing weed growth. For cherries, fertilization on a regular basis is not necessary. You can opt for application of old poultry manure or all-purpose liquid fertilizer once every six months.
Pruning cherry trees is not advisable for the first two years after plantation. In the following years, you can trim weak and tangled branches from the base. Ensure that the shape of the cherry trees resemble an open vase shape. Doing so allows enough penetration of light to the fruiting branches.
If you have grown sweet cherries, buds are seen in early spring, when no other fruit trees in the yard bear flower. Depending upon the cultivar and the prevailing conditions, cherries grown from seeds bear fruit within 3-5 years of plantation.
With cherry trees in your yard, you can enjoy a constant supply of fresh, juicy cherries every summer. To get good yield, watch out for fungal attacks and insects in the trees. In case of disease infestations, an oil spray works best in controlling plant pathogens. Indeed, growing a cherry tree is rewarding, as the tree yields bucketfuls of delicious fruits with minimal care and effort.