Introduction to Planting Cherry Trees:
Many gardeners work trees into their landscaping ideas somewhere, mostly for shade or other aesthetic reasons. Have you ever considered cherry trees as part of your landscaping? Cherries are a delicious fruit with a wide range of uses that you can grow them for. You can use them in cooking, baking, making wines, and even just as a snack. Cherries are often very expensive if bought at your local grocery store so how great would it be if you had your own cherry tree right in the backyard?
Planting cherry trees is really not that much different from any other tree, however there are a few considerations that you need to be aware of with this species of tree. One such consideration is the fact that cherry trees are not capable of pollinating themselves, so if you only plant a single cherry tree in your yard, you are not likely to see very much fruit. You should plan on planting several species of cherry trees that bloom around the same time.
Site Selection for Planting Cherry Trees:
The first and arguably the most important decision you will have to make before planting cherry trees is the location you want your trees to grow in. The location should be one that drains water well and does not ever have standing water. Planting these trees in a soggy location is the surest way to kill them quickly. You also are going to want a location that has very good air circulation, especially in the spring time when cold air could lie around the base of the tree without good circulation.
Another extremely important factor in planting cherry trees is sunlight. This is really a no brainer with most plants, trees included, but it is especially important if you are hoping your trees will bear fruit. So make sure you have a site picked out that gets a minimum of six hours of full sun light every day. If you are going to be planting your cherry trees in your yard or lawn, make sure that you clear away the grass to a minimum of 4 feet away from your cherry trees. This will prevent your trees from having to compete with the grass for the water and nutrients.
Planting Cherry Trees:
Once you have a location chosen for planting cherry trees, the next step is to get them planted. When you are digging the hole for your trees, make sure to dig a hole that is at least twice as big as the root system of the tree you are planting. This might be difficult if you are planting a larger tree, but it is very important to give the new tree the best start possible in its now home.
It is also a good idea to take a garden fork and break up the surrounding soil before planting cherry trees, so it is nice and loose. This will give the tree a much easier time of growing new roots into the existing soil. When you set your tree into the hole, make sure you take the time to spread the roots out in a fan pattern, rather than coiling them all up and setting the tree on top of it. It's a lot like sitting on your own foot. The tree will have a much better time if its roots are already spread out. Fill the hole and make sure you press the soil down firmly and give it a thorough watering to ensure there are no air pockets.
Pruning Cherry Trees:
Once you are done planting cherry trees and they take off growing, you have to then learn how to properly prune them to maximize fruit production. This is one of the key areas many gardeners face when they start growing cherry trees. Cherry tree branches grow out of a main central trunk and when you start pruning, you will want to create "levels" of branches roughly 2 feet apart to allow light to reach as many leaves on the tree as possible.
Cherry trees should be pruned in the late winter to encourage strong spring growth. Pruning over the summer months is acceptable provided the tree has reached the size you want it to. Otherwise it will stunt the growth of the tree. When you begin pruning, the first branches should be about 2 to 3 feet off the ground. It is also advised that you train the branches to grow outward from the trunk rather than up. This can be accomplished by tying them or weighing them down. You will find the branches will grow slower but produce a lot more fruit than those left to grow on their direction.
Varieties for Planting Cherry Trees:
Bing cherry trees are probably the most commonly planted cherry trees, mainly because bing cherry trees tend to grow very well in any landscape or garden provided it has full sun. Bing cherries are also among the sweetest cherries grown and you will often find these as the variety on sale in grocery stores.
Black cherry trees are among the largest cherry trees you'll find and they are native to North & Central America and Mexico. This deciduous tree can reach heights of up to 80 feet and they are very popular due to their prolific blooming period. While the cherries off of this variety is extremely bitter and not very tasty if eaten directly off of the tree, the cherries are commonly used for baking and making liquors.
The cherry blossom tree are absolutely stunning when they are in full bloom. These trees are capable of producing so many blooms that it will actually look like the entire tree is one big flower. Cherry blossoms are fairly hardy and will grow well in zones 3 through 8, reaching heights of up to 14 feet tall. They also have a wonderful fragrance when in bloom.
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