Introduction to Growing Cherry Trees in Pots and Containers
Cherries are one of the most important deciduous fruit trees and they are the member of the genus Prunus of the Rosaceae family. Cherries are stone fruits that produce “drupes,” and fleshy material surrounding a single seed. They are closely related to other stone fruits and nut trees such as peaches, almonds, apricots, nectarines, and plums. Cherries are a colorful summer staple featured in pies, jams, and enjoyed on their own as a light snack. With adequate space and time, you can grow a cherry tree in the home garden.
Cherry trees can be grown in containers too, use a toy tub or a larger container in depth and diameter. Cherry trees add fragrance, beauty, and color to the landscape and make a lovely addition to any yard. If gardening is your hobby and you enjoy growing different plants, you need not always begin with seeds or seedlings purchased from your local nursery. In this article we also discuss the below topics;
- Process of growing a Cherry tree from a Cherry pit
- How to propagate a Cherry tree
- Cherry trees growing tips
- How much time it takes to grow a Cherry tree from a pit
- Growing Cherry trees in pots
- Grow Cherry tree indoors
- How to prepare Cherry seeds to plant
- Does a Cherry tree need full sun
A Step by Step Guide to Growing Cherry Trees in Pots
Varieties of Cherry Trees for Growing in Pots
Two main types of Cherry trees are grown for their fruit. The tart Cherry tree and the sweet Cherry tree, specifically. The sweet cherries are generally grown for eating ripe and the tart cherries are generally used for cooking. Both Cherry types ripen early and are ready for harvesting in the late spring. Space sweet cherries about 35 to 40 feet apart; dwarfs, 5 to 10 feet apart. Space tart cherries 20 to 25 feet apart; dwarfs, 8 to 10 feet apart.
Decide if you have space for more than one potted Cherry tree. If you select a cultivar that is not self-pollinating, keep in mind that you need enough space for growing two cherries in pots. There are some self-fertile varieties if you decide you don’t have enough space. These include Stella, Morello, Nabella, North Star, Sunburst, Duke, and Lapins.
Soil Requirement for Growing Cherry Trees in Pots or Containers
All Cherry trees succeed in a light, rather sandy soil. Avoid planting in compacted, heavy soils. In that kind of soils, cherries are quite susceptible to root and crown rot. The perfect soil for cherries would be reasonably fertile but also deep, particularly where the ground is dry. At the times of flowering and fruiting, when cherries have the greatest need for water, they can survive even in dryish soil, if their roots can go deep enough to find moisture. A pH value of 6.5 is suitable for cherries, but anywhere in the range of 5.5 to 8.0 is acceptable.
Select a sunny position for sweet cherries. Soil should be prepared in advance by removing all traces of weeds and working in plenty of well-rotted organic matter. The soil must be well-drained, moisture-retentive, and, ideally, slightly acidic. Do not plant them anywhere that gets waterlogged or your tree will struggle.
Container-grown Cherry Trees
Planting cherries from pots;
- Water the pot before preparing the planting hole.
- Dig a hole twice the size of the pot and backfill so that the potting mix inside the pot is positioned at the same height as the surrounding soil.
- Gently remove the tree from the pot and place it in the center of the hole
- Backfill with soil and firm down to remove any air holes around the roots.
Container grown Cherry trees require a pot that is deeper and wider than the root ball of the tree so Cherry has some room to grow. A 15-gallon pot is large enough for a 5-foot tree, for example. Be sure that the container has drainage holes or drill some in yourself. If the holes seem large, cover them with some mesh screening or landscape fabric and some rocks or other drainage material.
Once you are done planting Cherry trees in pots, mulch the topsoil to retain moisture; container-grown Cherry plants dry out more quickly than those in the garden. Once the tree has fruited, water it regularly. Give the tree a good deep soaking a few times a week depending upon weather conditions to encourage the roots to grow deep into the pot and prevent fruit cracking. When fertilizing your Cherry tree, use an organic seaweed fertilizer or other all-purpose organic food on your container grown Cherry. Avoid fertilizers that are heavy on the nitrogen, as this will give it gorgeous, healthy foliage with little to no fruit.
Pollination of Cherry Trees
Planting Cherry trees requires well-drained, fertile soil. Cherry trees are very susceptible to root rot, so the soil needs to drain well. They require about 8 hours of sunlight daily, so you cannot plant them where they will grow in the shade of other trees. Though, the Cherry tree care manual will tell you that sour Cherry trees are self-pollinators. This means they do not need more than one tree to produce the fruit. Though, if you plant the sweet variety, you will require at least a couple of trees for proper Cherry tree pollination.
How to Grow Cherry Tree from Cuttings
Step 1) Cut a healthy branch tip-off Cherry tree. Cut the branch about 8 to 10 inches away from the tip of the branch. Cut at an angle with your garden knife.
Step 2) Peel the bark on both sides of your Cherry tree cutting, using the garden knife. The white layer beneath the bark is the cambium. New roots will be able to break through the cambium more easily with that layer of bark gone.
Step 3) Layer newspaper on your worktable to maintain it free from dirt.
Step 4) Stick the cut end of Cherry tree cutting into the root-promoting chemical.
Step 5) Fill a pot 1/3 of the way with peat moss. Set your Cherry tree cutting into the pot and then fill the pot the remainder of the way with peat moss. Pat the peat moss down using your hands.
Step 6) Maintain your cutting moist, never allowing it to fully dry out. Check your cutting’s root system after 3 weeks to confirm the roots are growing and getting stronger. Continue to grow your cutting indoors until spring.
Grow a Cherry Tree from Seed or Pit
Growing a Cherry tree from Cherry seeds or pit is not difficult, but if you want to grow a tree that will yield cherries, there are complications in pollinating your tree and meeting winter chill requirements. You can grow cherries at home using pits from locally grown cherries, but fruit production will take longer using this process. Use pits from cherries that are grown locally or purchased from the farmer’s market. Avoid using the pits from grocery stores as they may not be compatible with the climate in your area.
Seed planting Cherry trees – Growing Cherry trees from seed can be attempted directly in the garden. In this method, you are skipping the refrigeration and letting the seeds go through a natural stratification process through the winter. After that, gather the dried Cherry pits and plant them outside. Plant a few since some may not germinate. Set the seeds 2 inches deep and one foot apart. Mark the planting sites. In the spring, the pits will sprout. Wait until the seedlings are 8 to 12 inches in height and then transplant them to their permanent site in the garden. Mulch well around the transplanted seedlings to retard weeds and aid in water retention.
Prepare the pits – Save a handful of pits from locally grown cherries. Soak in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to loosen the remaining fruit. Remove, and clean. Set the pits out on paper towels for about a week, allowing them to dry out completely. Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the fridge for 10 weeks.
Plant indoors – Remove the container from the fridge, and bring to room temperature before planting two to three pits in a pot with well-draining soil indoors. Water consistently to keep the soil moist.
Time to transplant – When seedlings appear, remove all but the strongest of the group, and when the soil has warmed in early spring, it can be transplanted into its permanent spot outdoors. Cherry trees planted from pits take about 7 to 10 years to bear fruit.
Tips for Watering Cherry Trees
Once the fruit has appeared on the tree, water them regularly. It is important not to water sporadically, as drenching one day and then leaving to dry out completely can result in the fruit skins cracking as they swell too quickly or shrivel up from lack of water. A regular good soaking will encourage the plant roots to grow deep into the pot and increase the strength and health of the tree. Plants with shallow roots are more prone to the risks involved from infrequent or inadequate watering.
Nutrients for Growing Cherry Trees in Pots
Give your Cherry tree sufficient nutrients for it to reach its optimal health and fruit production. Spreading a thin layer of compost around your tree to support new growth helps.
How to Prune Cherry Trees
You may also check this: Organic Fertlizer For Rose Plants To Boost Flowering.
Keep your tree healthy and fruitful by balancing the top growth of your tree through pruning. Pruning is the process of cutting away dead branches or stems. This is also important to keep the shape of your beautiful Cherry tree.
Cherry Tree Growing Problems
Cherry trees are relatively disease-free but are known to have issues with pests, as well as scavengers. You will want to prepare yourself to defend your harvests when necessary. You may run into issues with aphids, Japanese beetles, caterpillars, and the most notorious of scavengers, birds.
There are a few diseases that have been known to affect Cherry trees. These include brown rot, black knot, and bacterial canker. Any branches that show signs of a black knot or bacterial canker should be cut off and discarded immediately. You’ll have a chance to find aphids, various caterpillars, Japanese beetles, thrips, mites, leafhoppers, borers, and the Cherry fruit fly.
You can use a product like a general fruit and nut orchard spray to control all of these buggies. Select one that contains sulfur to control fungal diseases, and pyrethrins to control insects – but understand you’ll potentially be damaging beneficial insects as well if you resort to this option.
Neem oil is another solution that targets insects. It is “organic,” but keep in mind that organic doesn’t necessarily mean non-toxic. And it will also harm beneficial insects just like the manmade pyrethrins will.
Powdery mildew, galls, cankers, a host of rots and fungi, and buckskin are fungal issues and diseases that can cause you grief with your fruit production. These problems are more difficult to identify and control than common pests.
Horticultural oil is good for removing most plant ailments, while copper fungicide is an excellent organic method for taking care of fungal issues and various cases of rot.
Caring for Potted Cherry Trees
For getting the best results, follow the below steps when caring for the Cherry tree;
- Cherry trees need cold winter nights to set fruit and require regular water during the summer season.
- Mulch with compost in spring and again in autumn.
- Stake for the first few years to allow the roots to establish.
- Avoid wetting the fruit, as even summer rain can cause cherries to split. This is vital in areas with wet or humid summers.
- Netting is necessary to protect developing fruit from birds.
- Pear and Cherry slug can quickly defoliate your Cherry tree. Although it is not necessarily life or death, it does weaken your Cherry tree, so treatment is recommended.
- Depending on the variety, cherries will be ready to harvest early, mid or late summer. Check their size, flavour and colour to determine optimal harvest date.
When and How to Harvest Cherries
When harvesting your growing Cherry trees, taste the cherries before picking them. Sour cherries are soft and juicy when they are ripe. Sweet cherries are ready when their colour is uniform and they have a sweet flavour in a meaty fruit. Harvest your cherries with the stem attached. This helps retain their freshness after you pick them. Also, they keep better and longer if the stem is still attached after harvest. Cherries can be used in all sorts of things. You can make jams, can them, or just eat them plain. Sour cherries are the perfect pie Cherry. Just keep in mind the Cherry tree care that these trees need and you should end up with a great crop.
In case if you are interested in this: Organic Avocado Farming.