How long to grow cherry tree

How to Grow Cherry Trees

Whether your goal is fresh snacks, pies, or landscape interest, growing cherry trees is a fruitful endeavor, especially if you keep the following in mind.

There are so many reasons for growing cherry trees: the satisfaction of picking your own homegrown fruit, creating family memories, preserving your harvest to enjoy during the cold winter months ... the list is a long one! As you probably know, there are two types of cherries:

Sweet cherries are what you usually see at the supermarket. They have a “meaty” texture, much like a firm plum, and a rich, sweet flavor and can be eaten fresh, cooked, frozen or dried. Sweet cherries grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 7 and most require pollination from another sweet cherry variety. Make sure that you plant alongside another variety with a similar bloom time for proper pollination. Bloom times can be found in each characteristic section. These cherry trees typically take about 4 to 7 years after planting to bear fruit. Sweet cherry trees will yield approximately 15-20 quarts for dwarf trees, and 30-50 quarts for semi-dwarf trees. The yield will vary based on sunlight, available nutrients, soil quality/drainage and local weather conditions during the season.

Sour cherries are most often used for cooking, especially pies and preserves. Sour cherries, also referred to as tart cherries, are noticeably smaller than sweet varieties. They grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 6.

These cherry trees typically take 3 to 5 years to begin bearing fruit, depending upon the tree size (dwarf trees will bear sooner) and the variety. Sour cherry trees will yield approximately 15-20 quarts for dwarf trees, and 20-60 quarts for semi-dwarf trees. The yield will vary based on sunlight, available nutrients, soil quality/drainage and local weather conditions during the season.

Some important points to remember about growing cherry trees:

Perhaps the most important decision you’ll make is choosing the right location for your new cherry trees. This requires some pre-planning to give your trees the best chance for success:

  • Do you understand your trees’ pollination needs?
  • Is this location you’ve chosen going to have enough sun?
  • Does this location have the right type of soil for your cherry trees?
  • Is there enough space for the trees to mature?

Learn how to prepare your soil prior to planting. You can also learn how to plant bare-root and potted cherry trees. The instructions are very easy to follow.

After getting your cherry trees securely settled in their new home, you can address the “Care & Maintenance” phase. Learn how often and how much to water and how to prevent problems that arise from under- or over-watering.

Trees need to eat, too! Fertilizing is critical to whether your trees just survive, or thrive. Equally important is when to start/stop fertilizing. Did you know that continual feeding to keep the trees from “going hungry” can actually make them vulnerable to winter damage?

The Care & Maintenance section will also instruct you how about pruning cherry trees. Pruning keeps the tree’s canopy strong and open to light — essential to the quality and quantity of the fruit. Here, we also review common cherry-tree insect and disease issues, and explain the importance of spraying to control existing problems and help prevent future ones.

Discover great tips on all these topics and others (like harvesting cherries) in our “How To Grow Cherry Trees” series. You can navigate to any article by using the “In This Series” menu, or follow the “Next/Previous” navigation markers at the end of each article.

NEXT: How to Acclimate Cherry Trees

In This Series

  • Introduction
Getting Started
  • Acclimate
  • Location
  • Planting
  • Soil Preparation
Care & Maintenance
  • Fertilizing
  • Pest & Disease Control
  • Pruning
  • Spraying
  • Watering
Other Topics
  • Harvesting

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How Long Does It Take Cherry Trees to Produce? | Home Guides

By Ruth de Jauregui Updated November 28, 2018

Cherries are hardy stone fruits that thrive in the colder regions of the United States. The sweet cherry (Prunus avium) grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, while the sour or pie cherry (Prunus cerasus) grows in zones 4 through 9. While you should provide the same care for the two types of domesticated cherry trees, they vary in the time they need to produce fruit.

Years to Harvest

Standard sweet cherries, usually enjoyed fresh, produce fruit four to seven years after being transplanted into the garden. Dwarf varieties may produce fruit as early as two years after transplanting. The tops of grafted trees are already one to two years old, while the roots may be two to four years old.

Sour cherries, also known as pie cherries, generally begin producing fruit within three to five years after being transplanted in the garden. Dwarf varieties may produce fruit in one to two years.

Grown From Seed

When grown from seed, a sweet cherry may begin producing fruit in seven to 10 years. A sour cherry may begin producing fruit in four or five years. The tree, however, will not grow true to the parent, so the fruit may resemble any or none of the parent tree's ancestors. Some trees grown from seed never produce fruit.


Cherry trees require a well-drained location that receives full sun daily. The trees do not grow well in heavy soils; a light, fertile soil that is at least 3 feet deep is preferable. Trees that do not receive sufficient sunlight do not produce well.


The weather is a factor in successful fruiting. Cherry trees require a certain number of chilling hours in the winter to stimulate flower and fruit production. Sour cherries need 1,000 hours; sweet cherries need 1,100 to 1,300 hours in temperatures under 45 degrees Fahrenheit to break dormancy.

Bloom Time

Early blooming varieties are at particular risk from frost. If the temperatures drop below freezing while the flower buds, flowers or young fruit are developing, the tree may not bloom, or it may drop the flowers or fruit. A late frost can wipe out even late varieties, such as sweet 'Stella' and sour 'Meteor.'


While sour cherries are self-fertile, also known as self-fruitful, many sweet cherries require a different variety for pollination. Heirloom varieties, such as 'Bing' and 'Black Tartarian' may be fertilized by pollen from other self-fruitful sweet cherry trees or modern self-fertile varieties. 'Stella,' introduced in 1968, was the first self-fertile sweet cherry. It is a good pollinator for 'Bing.'


Cherries produce fruit on spurs. Pruning mainly consists of shaping the tree and removing broken or crossing branches in late winter. Heavy pruning can encourage excessive foliage growth and reduce fruit production. When the spurs stop producing, remove the old spurs so new branches will develop.

Water and Fertilization

Providing adequate water for the trees during dry spells can affect fruit production. Young trees should receive at least 5 to 10 gallons of water per week throughout the summer. Mature trees need water when the soil is dry to a depth of 6 inches or more. Add 10 gallons of water for each inch of the trunk diameter. Remove the turf around the tree, and replace it with a layer of mulch to reduce water evaporation from the soil.

When planting a young tree, dig the hole 6 inches deeper than the depth of the root ball. Add 2 pounds of 0-25-0 fertilizer or 8 pounds of well-composted manure to the hole. Cover the fertilizer with soil, and then plant the tree. Spread an equal amount of fertilizer over the soil and water it in thoroughly. Continue to fertilize the tree annually. Fertilize the tree in August or September of the first year by spreading 1/8 to 1/4 pound of a 33-0-0 fertilizer or 7 pounds of composted manure 6 inches from the trunk and out to the drip line. In following years, apply 3 pounds of a 33-0-0 fertilizer or 70 pounds of composted manure over the soil and out to the drip line.


  • University of Illinois Extension Hort Answers: Tree Fruit Sweet Cherry Prunus Avium
  • University of Illinois Extension Hort Answers: Tree Fruit Sour Cherry Prunus Cerasus
  • Stark Bro's: Fruit Trees: Years to Fruit
  • New Mexico State University ACES: Why Fruit Trees Fail To Bear
  • University of California The California Backyard Orchard: Tree Selection
  • University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources: Fruit Trees: Planting and Care of Young Trees
  • University of California The California Backyard Orchard: Fertilization

Writer Bio

Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist and writer who focuses primarily on garden topics. She writes a weekly garden column and authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden. She continues to write nonfiction articles on gardening and other topics and is working on a second "50" book about plants that attract hummingbirds.

Peculiarities of life expectancy of cherries © Geostart

Topic: Trees and shrubs

Cherry blossoms in spring are an amazing sight in terms of beauty and tenderness. There are many types of cherry trees in modern gardens, each with individual characteristics, including flowering time, yield, and lifespan. Read about how long cherries grow in this article.

Cherry basics

This fruit tree belongs to the rose family. Its fruits are juicy fleshy drupes. The typical lifespan of a plant is 16 to 20 years. Some species live longer. So, black cherries (Prunus serotina) live up to 250 years, although the average life expectancy of this variety is 100 years. Plants are sensitive to microclimate, soil characteristics, susceptible to diseases and pests, so life expectancy depends on these and a number of other factors. Life span can be easily extended with proper care and application of disease prevention measures. This increases the health, vitality and resistance of the plant to pests and diseases. Instances with a long life expectancy usually grow in National Parks, and special services are responsible for their life support. The secret to longevity lies in proper summer watering, pruning two to three times a year, and strong genetics that are resistant to pests and diseases.

Cherry life cycle

In the wild, cherry seeds (drupes) are spread by animals and birds that eat the fruit. The seeds break through the ground and the life cycle of a new plant begins. Ts most varieties bloom at the end of April - May. Fruiting occurs from mid-June to July. The fruits then fall off or are harvested by humans, and the plant continues its growing season until autumn. In winter they are dormant.

How many times does a cherry fruit in a lifetime?

If we take the average lifespan of a tree as a unit of measurement - 20 years, then during this time it will have time to yield about 17 times. From the moment a sapling grows into a young tree and enters the fruiting phase, it can bear fruit every year throughout its life.

When does it begin to bear fruit after planting seedlings?

Standard varieties bear fruit 3-5 years after transplanting into the garden. Dwarf varieties can bear fruit as early as 2 years after transplantation. The graft on the roots of the tree will begin to bear fruit after the same number of years - 1-2 years. When grown from seed, cherries begin to bear fruit after 7–10 years. But it must be remembered that a plant from a stone does not necessarily repeat the features of the parent tree. Some of them may never produce a crop. You also need to take into account the influence of climate. Seedlings need a well-drained spot with daily sunshine. Violation of these parameters can lead to poor or delayed fruiting.

Why does it stop bearing fruit?

The inability of the plant to bear fruit is either due to weather conditions or improper care. The reasons for the absence of fruits can be:

  • frosts;
  • wrong fit;
  • cropping errors;
  • lack of watering.

Early flowering varieties are particularly susceptible to frost. If the temperature drops below 0°C during bud break, flowering or ovary formation, you may end up without a crop. Common cherry is a self-fertilizing plant. But not all of them are. And if you have a self-fertile cherry or a variety marked as requiring a pollinator companion, then care must be taken to plant such a tree. The distance between them should not exceed 6 m in order for pollen to reach the flowers of the pollinated plant. Greater distance will make fruiting impossible. Cherries bear fruit on spurs. Pruning consists of forming a crown, removing broken or withered branches. Pruning stimulates fruiting. Unpruned plants produce little or may stop fruiting. Always remove old shoots so that new fruitful shoots appear. Ensuring sufficient watering during drought also affects fruiting. Young trees should receive at least 22-45 liters of water per week all summer. Mature trees need water if the soil dries out to a depth of 15 cm. If the plant does not receive enough moisture, then fruit buds will be laid in a small amount.

Prevention of pest attacks on cherries

As a rule, cherries are less bothered by diseases than other stone fruits. The primary pathogens that cause disease are bacteria and fungi. Cherries need drainage. If the roots are constantly in water, the plant will die from root rot, which is caused by fungi of the genus Phytophthora. Prevention of this disease begins immediately upon planting. The junction point of the scion and rootstock should be 5 cm above the soil level. The soil should have time to dry out between waterings.

Most fungal diseases are prevented by spraying the tree with copper-based fungicides. In this case, the infected parts of the plant are cut and destroyed. Most pathogens overwinter in fallen leaves, so it is best to remove such foliage from the garden in the fall and dig up the soil to reduce the population of pests whose larvae overwinter in the ground. The dense crown increases moisture, creating conditions for the spread of pests and diseases. Timely pruning, good sunlight and free air circulation reduce the percentage of trees affected by pathogens and pests.

Farmers also practice the following methods of pest control:

  • attracting birds to the garden with the help of feeders, which are placed to feed the birds in winter;
  • installation of insect traps with pheromones during their laying period.

Pheromone traps for pest control Whatever pest control methods you decide to use, they will work. But it will be better to use several of them to maintain the health of the trees and their yields. When growing cherries, you can count on the tree to live as long as possible and bear fruit every year if you provide it with good care. When buying seedlings, pay attention to the description of the variety. This will help create optimal conditions for the development of a particular type of cherry.


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What year does a cherry fruit, after planting a seedling, how many times in a lifetime


  • Basic information about cherries
  • Life cycle of cherries, reasons why they do not bear fruit
    • Prevention measures
      • Prevention of pest attacks on cherries

      Cherry is a fruit tree belonging to the Rosaceae family, genus Plum. The oldest representative of this species is a cherry variety called Bird Cherry, but today this variety is better known as cherry. The homeland of this culture is the territory of Denmark, Switzerland and Asia Minor. Today, fruit cherries are distributed almost throughout the globe, they are grown on an industrial scale in Iran and Turkey.

      Basic information about the cherry

      The most common member of the species is the common cherry. Does not grow in the wild. It has been cultivated for over a century. Breeders tirelessly develop new varieties, for example, Bessey, Vladimirsky cherry, dessert variety Iput, Molodezhny, Morozov, Saniya, Turgenevka, etc.

      According to its individual characteristics and structure, it is divided into two types: tree-like and bushy.

      The bush form is characterized by a spherical crown, the branches are lowered down, the shoots are formed abundantly, the fruit is characterized by an almost black color. Subject to all the rules of agricultural technology and in optimal climatic conditions, it actively bears fruit for 10-18 years. The root system of a bushy tree grows around 6-7 meters, does not lie very deep. This form has high rates of frost resistance, in contrast to the tree.

      A fruit tree bears sweet and sour berries. They have a universal purpose: they are used fresh, added to baked goods, prepared compotes/jelly/liquors and much more, as well as dried and frozen.

      How many times cherry bears fruit

      Fruit contains a high concentration of tannins, vitamins A, B, C and PP, organic acids, pectins, macro- and microelements, fructose, ash and nitrogen compounds. Due to their chemical composition, the fruits are widely used in folk medicine. The composition contains pectins, which cleanse the body of toxic substances.

      Important! When boiling cherry jam, pits should be removed from berries, as they contain amygdalin. As a result of heat treatment, organic bonds break down and toxic substances are formed.

      Useful properties of cherries for the body:

      • Stimulates an increase in hemoglobin levels, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the walls of capillaries.
      • An effective preventive measure against angina attacks, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, strokes and thrombosis.
      • It is used to treat gout and arthritis, as it reduces the concentration of uric acid in the body.
      • The composition includes copper, which is effective in the fight against mental illness.
      • Fights dysentery pathogens, and is also active against streptococci and staphylococci.
      • The composition includes a high concentration of pectins, so the berries effectively cope with constipation, remove toxic substances from the body.
      • Used as expectorant and antipyretic drugs.

      Pulp can be used to make masks that nourish and cleanse the skin well and tighten pores.

      Cherry life cycle, reasons why it does not bear fruit

      How many times does a raspberry bear fruit in a lifetime

      How many times does a cherry bear fruit in a lifetime? What year does cherry bear fruit after planting? How long does a cherry grow before fruiting? These and many other questions concern beginner agronomists.

      Cherries usually begin to bear fruit 3-4 years after planting. Dwarf varieties a little earlier. This time is required to grow the crown and root system of the tree. If cherries are grown from seeds, then you will need to add at least 2-3 more years.

      Cherry blossoms but does not bear fruit

      The main reasons why cherries do not bear fruit.

      • Cherry diseases. A fruit tree may not begin to bloom and bear fruit if it is affected by coccomycosis and moniliosis. In the latter case, the tops of the shoots, young leaves, ovaries and fruits will begin to dry out, and when you see the branches, you get the impression that they are burnt. The disease is activated with excessive moisture. Pronounced symptoms of pathology: the formation of numerous small spots of red-brown color; as it develops, the leaves turn yellow, curl and fall off.
      • Planting a seedling in an unsuccessful place or low-quality planting material. It is recommended to purchase seedlings in special nurseries, where there is no chance of acquiring diseased, weak or damaged trees. As for the place, all fruit-bearing trees need abundant light. If the cherry will grow in a sunny place, you should regularly expect abundant harvests.
      • Soil acidity or nutrient deficiency. Cherry is not able to show a high yield, growing in acidic soils. Using a pH meter, you can determine the level of soil acidity. At high values, lime must be added to the ground.
      • Unsuitable trees in the neighborhood. Cherry is quite picky in choosing neighbors. It will not bear fruit well if any representative of coniferous trees grows in the neighborhood. Also, cherries do not like the neighborhood with honeysuckle and apple trees. Irises, pansies, lilies, daffodils and tulips are also better not to be planted nearby.

      Important! For abundant fruiting, it is recommended to plant peas, turnips, hazel grouses, gladioli, marigolds, lupins, etc. in the near-stem circle of cherries.

      • Lack of pollinators. If a tree blooms annually, but does not bear fruit, then there is a high probability that there is no natural pollination process. The vast majority of varieties of cherries are self-fertile, therefore, in order to set fruits, it is necessary to plant a cherry of a different variety nearby. In addition, bees and other pollinators should be attracted to the site.
      • Incorrect pruning of cherries. With a competent approach to the procedure, the tree will bear fruit abundantly. There is an opinion that the first 20 years after planting a fruit tree does not need pruning, because it reacts very painfully to this, and this is true. In order not to develop adverse consequences, all pruning rules must be observed. Use clean and sharp tools. After pruning the branches, the cut points and all damage must be treated with a solution of garden pitch.
      • Freezing of fruit buds in cherries. Return frosts can cause great damage to the health of a fruit tree, and especially cherry buds. To prevent this unpleasant phenomenon, all the rules of agricultural technology should be observed.

      Depending on the variety, the cherry may bear fruit annually or at intervals of a year or two, but not more often. How many times in a lifetime a cherry bears fruit also depends on the variety and compliance with the rules of agricultural technology. Life expectancy is higher if the start of the productive age starts later. As a rule, from 10 to 50 full-fledged crops are harvested over the entire life cycle. The number will be closer to the maximum if you plant a fruitful and productive variety, selected taking into account the climatic conditions of the area.

      Preventive measures

      To prevent diseases, you must follow all the rules of agricultural technology, namely, regularly thin out crowns and rejuvenate mature trees. To reduce the likelihood of mechanical damage to the tree, it is necessary to loosen the aisles and remove all residues of plant origin in a timely manner. Be sure to apply organic / mineral fertilizers.

      Growing healthy and fruitful cherries in acidic soils is not possible, so the soil should be deacidified regularly.

      For this, dolomite (limestone) flour is used. When planting, it is poured into the trunk circle. How much dolomite flour will you need? At least 500 g of flour is added to acidic soil, with average indicators - 400 g, and with a weak reaction, no more than 300 g per 1 sq.m.

      Regular feeding is the key to the rapid growth of a healthy plant.

      • In the summer, for cherries, the best options are liquid mineral fertilizers, which must be used in accordance with the attached instructions for use.
      • With the onset of spring, it is better to give preference to nitrogen-containing compounds.
      • In autumn - superphosphate or potassium chloride, wood ash. Alternatively, you can use compost or rotted manure.

      It is quite difficult to find suitable pollinators, it is better to consult with specialists or check with seedling sellers. It is also recommended to attract insects to the cherry orchard. This is done as follows: during flowering, cherries should be irrigated with sweet water. It is enough to dilute no more than 10-20 g of sugar in 1 liter of water.

      So that the buds do not freeze during the winter temperature drop to critical levels, it is necessary to exclude the introduction of nitrogen-containing compounds into the soil, which contribute to the freezing of the buds. Also, in autumn you need to be careful with watering - in late autumn it is better to refuse them altogether.

      You can get a good harvest from cherries

      With the onset of spring, when the plants have bloomed, but the temperature drops below zero, it is necessary to water the garden abundantly and cover the trees with felt, film material. In addition, to increase resistance to adverse environmental conditions, trees should be irrigated with special chemical compounds that do not harm the tree and do not affect the quality of the fruit (Novosilom, Epinom-Extra).

      Prevention of pest attacks on cherries

      Cherry blossoms, but does not bear fruit: what to do

      To suppress the vital activity of pests that damage cherries, preventive measures should be taken regularly.

      Learn more