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In season, cherry trees are a sheer delight to see, when coated with white or rose-colored beautiful cherry blossoms. Then the flowers grow the delicious cherries that most people know and enjoy.

How To Grow Cherries Overview

Cherries can be purple, red, pink, nearly black, occasionally orange, and light yellow. Sweet cherries have a soft, tasty fruit that you can eat raw from your palm.

The cherries remain tart until they are quite mature; typically, they are too acidic to consume without cooking.

For cakes, cobblers and jams, using sour cherries. Duke cherries are a hybrid of sweet and savory cherries.

Cherries are sturdy, leafy trees. Most are grafted, which means that their root structure is separate from the seed.

Cherries flourish and grow in the spring. The fruit is set for early to early summer harvest.

  • In late fall or early spring, plant cherries (when the soil is softer and with a higher moisture level).
  • Make sure the different varieties pollinate each other for sweet cherries.
  • Plant in a sunny location with proper circulation of air; resist planting near any trees or the shade structures.
  • Deep, well-drained soil is needed for cherry trees.
  • Place sweet cherries between 35 and 40 feet apart; dwarfs between 5 and 10 feet apart.
  • Place tart cherries between 20 and 25 feet, dwarfs from 8 and 10 feet.
  • Place trees a few inches below the ground level on the regular rootstocks with the graft union. Place dwarf rootstock trees several inches above ground level with the graft union.
  • For bare-root trees, place the rootstock in the center of the planting hole on a small mound of soil. Spread the roots out gently so as not to bend the roots. Fill in with quality soil.
  • For container-grown trees, remove the rootball first and cut with shears through the roots. Don’t cover the rootball top.
fresh cherries picked from the garden orchard

Cherries Nutrition Information

Raw Sweet Cherries with pits, 1 cup (138 grams)



Total lipid (fat)0.276


Fiber, total dietary2.9g
Vitamin C9.66mg
Calcium, Ca17.9mg
Magnesium, Mg15.2mg
Phosphorus, P29mg
Potassium, K306mg
Sodium, Na0mg
Energy (calories)86.9kcal
Carotene, beta52.4µg
Zinc, Zn0.097mg
Iron, Fe0.497mg

Raw Sour Cherries with pits, 1 cup (103 grams)



Total lipid (fat)0.309


Fiber, total dietary1.65g
Vitamin C10.3mg
Calcium, Ca16.5mg
Magnesium, Mg9.27mg
Phosphorus, P15.4mg
Potassium, K178mg
Sodium, Na3.09mg
Energy (calories)51.5kcal
Carotene, beta793µg
Zinc, Zn0.103mg
Iron, Fe0.33mg

Garden Vegetables & Fruits Plant Preferences Profile

Specific Plant Growing Requirements and Information


Deciduous trees

Full Sun 

Begin to bear fruit 3 to 7 years after planting

Prunus avium

10 – 25 Feet pending variety

Well-drained soil that is moisture retentive

Sweet Cherries – Zones 5 to 7

Sour Cherries – Zones 4 to 6

Cherries Detailed Growing Information

Selecting The Size of Cherry Tree

Standard sweet cherries can grow up to 25 feet, smaller when grown on a rootstock dwarfing.

Standard sour cherries can grow up to 15 feet tall, smaller if grown on the rootstock dwarfing.

Semi-dwarf cherries grow to approximately 12 feet high. Dwarf cherries grow to nearly 10 feet tall.

Cherries are either sold as bare-root, balled, or burlap or as container-cultivated fruit. Bare root and balladed trees are available and better planted in the spring.
Cherry trees in container are available all year round and  are best planted in late summer through spring.

Cherry Trees Rootstock

Cherries are generally grafted, meaning that their root systems are different from that of the plant producing fruit. Local nurseries typically have fruited stems (scions) grafted into a rootstock that is best grown in the area. Rootstock affects the mature tree height.

Cherry Tree Pollination

Many sweet cherries are not self-producing and require a suitable cross-pollination partner. Pollen is brought by bees or other insect pollinators from one tree to the other.

Another cherry tree ideally for pollinating would be 25-30 feet away.

The self-fertile sweet cherries are ‘Stella,’ ‘Lapins,’ ‘Starkcrimson,’ and ‘Sunburst.’

Sour cherries and duke cherries are self-fertile; only one tree is needed.

Sweet cherries do not pollinate sour cherries, but sour cherries can pollinate sweet cherries. Even though it is impossible because sweet cherries and sour cherries do not develop simultaneously.

Sweet cherries are grouped for pollination, grouped sweet cherries may be used for pollination of cherries outside their group but not for cherries belonging to the same category, such as ‘Bing’ or ‘Lambert’ or ‘Napoleon’ which may pollinate each other.

Check the nursery label or inventory for a list of pollinators for the specified tree.

If you have enough space for a single cherry tree, select a tree with shoots grafted into the tree from pollinators.

How to Plant A Cherry Tree

Plant bare-root trees in early spring as long as the soil can be handled as the trees stay dormant.

In spring or early summer, plant container-grown or balled and burlap covered trees, before hot, dry weather.

Prepare a region in the full sun that is shielded from the prevailing wind or breeze.

Working well-rotted compost or manure in the dirt, applying a cup of all-purpose fertilizer to the ground.

Dig a hole half as deep again, and twice as long as the roots of the oak.

Put in a tree stake (or fan support wires) before planting. Drive the stake to the ground at least 2 feet deep on the side of the hole.

Place the tree in the hole so that the ground marking on the stem is on the surface of the surrounding soil. Remove both twines and burlap from balladed trees. Extend the roots all the way.

Refill the hole with half natural soil and half aged compost or professional organic planting mix; firm in the ground, so that no air gaps between the roots are present. Water in the soil and build a small reservoir of soil around the tree to retain water during watering.

Protect the tree with tree ties to the stake.

After planting, water growing cherry trees deeply and fertilize it with a liquid starter fertilizer with high phosphorus.

How to Plant Cherry Trees In Pots

Dwarf cherry trees can be grown in larger garden containers.

Choose a big pot or container which is well-draining, at minimum 18 inches wide and deep.

Plant trees inside a mixture of natural organic potting soil.

Keep the soil moderately moist without overwatering. Feed the cherries trees growing in containers with an all-purpose fertilizer, and that is slightly higher in potassium.

You will need to replant the cherry tree into a 24 “wide and deep or larger container after two years.

How to Harvest Cherries

Remove fruits from the tree with a pruner that leaves the stems attached to the fruit. Fruit with attached stem stores better than fruit and without any stem. Leaving the stem behind may render the cheery tree susceptible to injury.

Garden Fresh Cherry Jam

If there are fresh cherries in season, make cherry jam in order to store them all year round. This jam is delicious and can also be made as a lite version with sugar-free pectin and Splenda ®.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast jam, cherry jam, fruit jellies, fruit spread
Servings: 35 servings
Author: Kris T


  • 3 cups chopped fresh cherries pitted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 2 ounce packages powdered fruit pectin
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 4 half-pint canning jars with lids and rings


  • Place cherries, apple juice, lemon juice, and pectin into a large saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, and mix in the sugar.
  • Cook the jam at a rolling boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
  • Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
  • Pack the cherry jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top.
  • Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles.
  • Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue.
  • Top with lids, and screw on rings.
  • Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder.
  • Leave a 2-inch space between the jars.
  • Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars.
  • Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool.
  • Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area.

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