Planting cherry trees: advice & tips

Planting cherry trees: advice & tips

There is nothing better than nibbling on juicy cherries right from the tree in summer. This article explains how to plant a cherry tree in your own garden.

The original home of the cherry (Prunus) is in Asia Minor in the areas of present-day Turkey. During summer cherries become indispensable in many areas of the world. Cherry trees bear sweet fruits that are a popular summertime treat especially with children. Unfortunately, both the time of harvest and the supply of cherries by the trade are limited. To be able to stock up on cherries, you should consider planting your own cherry tree in your garden. 

Growing fruit trees is a commitment for several years. Therefore, diligent care is essential and some aspects of it should be taken into account right from the beginning. 

How to plant a cherry tree: in a pot or in bunches?

The same type of cherry may be offered in the nursery in pots or in bunches. While the plant has already been cultivated as a potted plant in a container in which it is also sold, the baled cherry is only removed from the field shortly before it is planted and usually packed with the so-called baling cloth. Baled cherries are therefore usually only available in early spring or autumn, while cherries in containers can be bought and planted all year round. Baled trees are relatively robust due to outdoor cultivation. In contrast, however, cherries in containers do not lose any root mass as a result of pruning and the tree develops very well in the first year, as it does not have to expend any energy on regrowing the roots.

When to plant cherry trees?

The ideal planting time for cherry trees is in autumn (October/November). This gives them enough time during the winter months to take root and sprout vigorously in spring. Alternatively, planting in early spring (March/April) on a frost-free day is also possible.

Planting cherry trees: planting instructions

Once you have decided on a cherry tree, it should be planted as soon as possible after purchase. We will explain below, step by step, how to do this best.

Materials required for planting cherry trees

To make the process of planting cherry trees quick and easy, have these utensils and materials ready: 

  • Spade, shovel, pickaxe
  • Supporting rod, binding material
  • Hammer, gardening shears
  • Potting soil, compost soil
  • Trunk protection, coconut fibre protecting mat

Select a suitable location for the cherry tree

To ensure that your cherry tree grows well, you should think about the right location in advance. Cherry trees prefer a warm, sunny and protected place. The soil should not be too

heavy and wet, because cherries do not tolerate waterlogging well. A well aerated soil with a high humus content is therefore ideal.

A tip: Not all cherry trees are self-fertile. It is best to find out about this directly from the tree nursery. It may be necessary to plant another cherry tree in the immediate vicinity in order to have a plentiful harvest of delicious fruit.

Dig a planting hole for the cherry tree

The very first step is to dig a hole to plant the tree. The planting hole should be about twice as large as the root ball. Pierce the surface of the ground to create an outline of the planting hole with a spade and then remove the surface and the individual layers of soil layer by layer. It is best to pile up the soil near the hole, as it will be needed again later. We recommend digging the planting hole a third deeper than the size of the tree’s root ball. Finally, loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole with a hoe.

Attach a supporting post for the cherry tree

The second step is to add a supporting rod for the tree. The supporting rod or post can be put into the ground, where the hole for the tree has been dug. The supporting aid should be about the same height as the trunk of the cherry tree. It is best to drive the pole in on the west side so that the wind pushes the tree away from the post and not against it. 

Prepare the planting hole for cherry tree

Next, it is essential to ensure excellent growing conditions right from the start. Add a good layer of some fresh potting soil into the hole and mix it well with some compost. In addition, we recommend adding some organic fertiliser with a long-term effect into the soil. The organic fertiliser will slowly decompose in the soil and gradually release valuable nutrients to the little tree. 

Prepare the cherry tree before planting

To support the health of the roots for the long term, it is advised to scarify the root ball slightly all around with scissors before planting the tree. After scarifying with scissors, loosen the root ball a little more with your hands. This will help the roots to branch out later. 

A tip: If the root ball seems very dry to you, the cherry tree can be placed in a bucket of water before being placed into the soil.

Planting the cherry tree

Now you can place the tree in the middle of the planting hole and fill in the hole with the dug-up soil. By lightly stepping on the soil, any cavities that have been created will be closed off. If you have problems with rodents, attach a trunk protector to shield the young tree from pests. To protect the freshly planted cherry tree from strong winds, it should be tied below to the supporting rod. Do not tie the tree too tightly to its support. 

Finally, you should water the cherry tree thoroughly. This will ensure that the soil settles well and the water reaches the roots. You can also place a coconut fibre mat around the trunk of the tree. The mat covers the soil and thus suppresses the growth of weeds, which could steal away nutrients from the young tree. 

A summary of how to plant cherry trees:

  • Best to plant in autumn (October/November)
  • A sunny, warm location is ideal
  • Dig a planting hole at least twice as large and a third deeper than the root ball
  • Insert a supporting rod facing west
  • Add fresh potting soil mixed with compost 
  • Carefully scarify and loosen up the root ball
  • Place the tree in the middle of the hole and fill it with soil
  • Lightly compact the soil and water the tree well
  • Tie the tree to the supporting pole, put the trunk protection on and lay out the coconut fibre protection mat 

After planting care

After planting, you should supply your cherry tree with sufficient nutrients with annual fertilisation. For this purpose, it is best to use compost or organic slow-release fertilisers. As the young cherry tree has only a limited root volume in the first few years, you should ensure that there is sufficient watering, especially in the hot summer months. 

In addition, the cherry tree should be pruned in the first year after being planted. In later years, a simple thinning cut is enough to remove any diseased or old branches.

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