When grown as small trees, sweet cherries develop as tasty fruit. You can train them against fences or walls and grow them in containers. They don’t even need a pollination partner if you have picked a self-fertile cultivar. 

Grow your own cherry tree to get excellent fruit to cook and make jam. 

Growing Cherries

  • Apply two handfuls of high potassium fertiliser per square metre/yard in trees growing in bare soil. 
  • Spread organic matter around your plant.
  • Cover the plants with horticulture fleece to avoid frost damage to the flowers.
  • Water the tree when the fruit is in the early stages of development.

Pruning Cherries

Sweet cherries are typically cultivated as small trees or as fans against a fence or wall. Moreover, its fruit develops on a wood that is more than one year older. So, you can prune the trees to create a balance between young and older fruiting branches.  

You can prune the well-developed trees from July to late August. On the other hand, the time for formative pruning starts at the onset of the buds opening.

Formative pruning of acid cherries

Growth formed in the previous season bears the fruit of acid cherries. In this pruning technique, old branches are replaced with new ones.

Pruning of well-developed bush trees 

  • Remove roughly one-fourth of the older fruited shoots in August and replace them with a younger side shoot.
  • Shorten the overgrown shoots and place them in a suitable location.
  • Thin out the new 2-4 inches long shoots in late July. And then tie the shoots to the fence or wall
  • Prune the branches back so that there are only two leaves there.
  • Tie in the latest growths in late August  
  • Tie the fruit-loaded shoots to the appropriate side branch

Planting Cherries

The ideal places where the trees grow best are central and southern England.

The suitable conditions for them are well-drained and fertile soil. Moreover, the pH of the earth must be 6.5 to 6.7. However, the sandy and shallow types of soil are not suitable for the cherries. You can also grow them in shady areas and against north-facing fences or walls.

You can graft them on rootstocks and as fans against sunny walls to restrict their growth up to 20-26 feet. You can also use ‘Tabel’ or semi-dwarfing ‘Gisela 5.’ Tabel is best used for containers and dwarf bush trees.

The acid cherries are not very vigorous and reach 10-12 ft on ‘Colt’ rootstocks.

You will find two types of cherries

  • Cherries that need a pollination partner
  • Self-fertile cherries

Acid cherries are always self-fertile. You must cover the trees with fleece in the early year to avoid the flowers from the frost. However, it is essential to remove this fleece during daylight hours on good days to allow pollination.

Harvesting Cherries

Based on the variety you have planted, your fruits will be ready to pick from summer. Try to pick them in dry weather and try to cut the stalk, not the fruit.

The best way is to eat them is when they are fresh. However, you can also store cherries in the fridge to enjoy their taste for a week. Make sure you have sealed the fruits in a plastic bag while putting them in the refrigerator.

You can’t eat the acid cherries raw due to their sour taste. But you can cook them to make preserves, liquors, puddings, and pies.


Common problems

Shedding of flower buds and immature fruit

Low temperature, waterlogging and drought are the conditions that cause the flower buds to shed. Besides, bullfinches, in particular, can damage the fruit buds also.


  • Don’t water the plants excessively
  • Net the plants or Cover them with horticulture fleece

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD)

Tiny fruit flies affect the fruits significantly. However, it is their maggots that infest the cherries the most and induce rotting.


Cover the plants with fine mesh and traps for the protection of developing fruits

Cherry blackfly

Small insects feed on the sap of shoot tips and distort the leaves and shoots. However, it does not affect fruit production and serves as a sort of pruning.


Before the leaves curl, encourage natural predators such as blue tits.

Silver leaf

Silvery sheen appears on the leaves. Moreover, a red stain appears on the branches when cut.  


Prune the plants from June to August.

Check out the Taste of Home for 30 cherry recipes

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08/03/2021 | Fruit | 0 Comments

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