How to Grow a Cherry Tree from Seed: Your Step-wise Guide
Have you ever savoured a delicious cherry and thought about the possibility of growing a whole cherry tree from that tiny seed? If yes, then this article is a perfect fit for you. Here, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to grow a cherry tree from seed and turn your garden into a miniature cherry orchard.
1. Selecting and Preparing the Cherry Seeds
Not all cherries can produce a viable tree. The stones from sweet cherries like Bing or Tart cherries like Montmorency are perfect for this project. Once you’ve decided on the variety, eat the cherries, clean the pits and let them dry for a few days.
To mimic winter conditions which cherries seeds need to germinate, place the seeds in a zip-lock bag with damp peat moss or a wet paper towel. Then, put the bag into the refrigerator for about 10 weeks. This process is known as stratification.
2. Planting the Cherry Seeds
After stratification, it’s time to plant the cherries. Use pots with good drainage filled with a quality potting mix. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep into the soil and water it regularly.
Location is key during this step. The pot should be kept in a sunny location where it can receive at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. This will encourage growth.
3. Caring for Seedlings
After a few weeks, the seedlings will emerge. Continue watering them regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which must be avoided.
You should also add diluted liquid plant food every two weeks. This will provide necessary nutrients and help in rapid growth of the seedlings.
4. Transplanting Seedlings
Once the seedlings are about one foot tall, they are ready to be transplanted into the garden. Choose a location where it can receive plenty of sun and drain water easily. Be sure to provide enough space for the tree to grow.
During this step, digging a deep enough hole for the roots to spread is crucial. The hole should be twice as wide and just as deep as the root system.
5. Maintaining the Cherry Trees
Cherry trees are susceptible to several pests and diseases. Regularly check for pests like aphids, mildew or cherry fruit flies. You can use organic or chemical pesticides to protect your cherry tree.
The tree will also benefit from a layer of mulch to help retain moisture, prevent weed growth and facilitate nutrient absorption. Regular pruning can also ensure healthy growth of your cherry tree.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does it take for a cherry tree to bear fruit?
Cherry trees grown from seeds usually take 7-10 years to bear fruit. However, they can live up to 20-30 years, providing years of bountiful harvests.
2. Can cherry trees grow in all climatic conditions?
No, cherry trees prefer cooler climates and are best grown in USDA zones 4-7. They also need a period of cold dormancy to bear fruit.
3. Do I need two cherry trees to produce fruit?
Not always! While some varieties are self-pollinating, others require cross-pollination to bear fruit. If you have a self-sterile variety, you will need two different varieties of cherry trees in close proximity.