How to Grow Cherries
When you think about some of your favorite desserts like cheesecake, sundaes and more, inevitably, an image of a tasty treat with a bright, red cherry on top comes to mind. A cherry may be a delicious fruit topping that tastes great as an accompaniment to different dishes, but it also is rich in health benefits. In fact, cherries have health benefits that include anti-inflammatory effects, lowering cholesterol, decreasing body fat, preventing cancer, improving memory function and promoting improved sleep patterns. These benefits can be enjoyed with most fruits from trees with Latin genus Prunus. With so many health benefits that you can enjoy from eating the fruit of cherry trees on a regular basis, this is indeed a fruit that you will want to grow on your own at home.
Choose Your Variety of Cherry
There are a variety of cherry trees that you can choose to grow in your yard. If you grow your tree from seed, you can start your tree indoors, but you will eventually want to transplant it outdoors. Consider that a dwarf cherry tree can grow as large as 12 to 15 feet high and a bing cherry tree can grow between 30 and 70 feet tall. With this in mind, you will want to choose a variety that closely matches the space you have available in your yard. You should also take note of the type of soil, the amount of sunlight and the climate that the variety thrives in. Take note of how the variety you are considering pollinates. Some Prunus trees will not self-pollinate, and another cherry tree will need to be located close by if you want your tree to produce fruit. If space is not available in your yard for two cherry trees, choose a variety that self-pollinates. As a final note, you should consider whether you want to grow sweet or tart cherries. Sweet cherries are ideal for eating raw and even straight from the tree. Tart cherries are more suitable for baking, preserving in jams and other similar uses.
Growing From Seed
If you are growing your cherry tree from seed, keep in mind that the seeds found in cherries in the grocery store often will not grow into a fruit-bearing plant. These cherries and their seeds have been processed and grafted so that the seeds are not suitable for growing. You can purchase seeds from a nursery, a home improvement store or online. Pay attention to the indoor climate that the seeds will thrive in, and ensure that your seedlings receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Some varieties of seedlings are sensitive to receiving more or less sunlight than this, and they may also be sensitive to the amount of moisture they are exposed to. Because of this, you should research the growing instructions of your variety carefully and take steps to avoid over-watering your seedling.
Planting in the Ground
If you are buying a young tree or are ready to transplant your indoor tree into the ground, take time to choose the ideal spot in your yard. Most cherry trees require at least six hours of direct sunlight, and most do not thrive if the soil is excessively moist. Furthermore, because of the large size that some varieties can reach in maturity, it is important to plant these trees away from water lines, gas lines and your home's foundation. As the roots spread, they can cause damage to these features. Cherry trees generally are not picky regarding soil conditions, provided the soil is not too moist. Because of this, the soil generally will not need to be specially prepared or treated before planting your tree. However, you should consider the benefit of adding a top layer of mulch around the tree to protect the young roots until they become established in the soil.
Some varieties of cherry trees will need to be eight or even ten years old before they will produce fruit. Buying a small tree rather than growing your tree from seed can help you to enjoy the benefits of fruit production more quickly. While your young tree is growing, take steps to prevent disease by pruning the branches periodically, cleaning up blossoms and promoting air circulation around the tree. Once your tree does start producing fruit, you can cover the tree with thin bird netting to keep squirrels, birds and other animals from eating your cherries. You should also take steps to ensure that old fruit is removed from the tree and the ground to prevent disease.