Cherries are a gardeners favourite, if you want to learn how to plant, grow and harvest your own then read this guide!
If you want your garden to look out of this world during spring, you should grow cherry trees. When these trees blossom, their pink or white flowers look magical and months after that, they produce delicious cherries.
There are two types of cherries – sweet cherries and sour cherries. The most common ones are sweet cherries. They can easily grow in many areas you might no expect them to. However, most varieties are not self-fertile so you have to grow two or more trees that can pollinate each other.
We teach you how to plant, care for and harvest your cherries with extra tips and common problems you may face when attempting to grow your own.
How to Plant Cherries
The best time to plant cherries is in early spring when the moisture content in the ground is still high, and the temperature stays warm enough. The best sites to grow cherry trees are often those that have deep and well-drained loamy soils.
To plant cherries, get young trees from a reputable local nursery or from a good online store. Make sure the trees you get can pollinate each other (very important). Once you get your trees, prepare two or three planting sites depending on the number of young trees you’ve bought.
Planting site preparation should involve identifying planting sites in the first place. The sites should be at least 30 feet apart if you are planting standard cherry trees and five feet apart if you are planting dwarf cherry trees.
After identifying the planting sites, you should dig the soil to loosen each site and then dig a hole in the middle that is big enough to accommodate the depth and width of the roots of the cherry tree you will plant.
At this point, you should have a cherry tree in each planting hole and pack topsoil and compost around it. Make sure the roots of each tree are well spread before packing soil back into planting holes. Also, make sure you do not set any cherry tree deeper than it was in the nursery.
How To Care For Cherries
After planting your cherry trees, the first thing you should do is water them thoroughly. After watering your trees, you should apply mulch around the base of their trunk to ensure moisture retention.
Cherry trees need regular watering to grow and become productive. Therefore, water them at least twice weekly with at least two gallons of water depending on how the soil feels.
When cherry trees start producing fruits, they need protection from birds and pests. One of the best ways to protect them is to use drape netting. This will ensure that you don’t lose the majority of your crop.
How To Harvest Cherries
To tell if your cherries are ready for picking, you need to observe their colour. Ripe cherries change from green to yellow, black, or dark red when fully ripe.
Once you pick your cherries, freeze them or use them within a week or they will go bad. The best way to harvest cherries is to cut cherry stems with sharp scissors.
With two cherry trees in your garden you might be overwhelmed with the number of cherries you have, maybe you might want to try out some of these recipes!
Tips & Common Problems
To make sure your cherry trees look amazing, stay healthy and produce quality cherries, you need to organically fertilise them once a year in the spring.
If you want your cherry trees to be very productive, prune them four to five weeks before the last frost date. Doing this will cause the growth of branches that can bear fruits in the next season.
Cherry blackflies might be your worst enemy if you get into the cherry tree business, they will suck the sap right out of your crops. You can either encourage predators such as blue tits or use an organic pesticide to exterminate them.
Some trees can start shedding buds or immature fruit if they don’t get enough water, get too much water or from low temperatures. To prevent this, you should estimate the correct amount of water, based on the soil, or maybe try fleecing.