Growing Cherry Trees from Pits: A Step-by-Step Guide

Photo Cherry pits

Growing cherry trees from pits is a fascinating and rewarding process that allows you to enjoy fresh cherries right from your own backyard. While it may take a few years for the tree to mature and produce fruit, the process itself is quite simple and can be a fun project for both experienced gardeners and beginners.

The benefits of growing cherry trees from pits are numerous. First and foremost, it is a cost-effective way to grow your own cherry tree. Instead of purchasing a young tree from a nursery, you can simply collect pits from cherries you have enjoyed and plant them yourself. This not only saves you money but also allows you to have a sense of pride and accomplishment as you watch your tree grow from a tiny pit.

Additionally, growing cherry trees from pits allows you to have control over the variety of cherries you grow. You can choose your favorite variety or experiment with different types to see which ones thrive in your climate and soil conditions. This gives you the opportunity to grow cherries that are perfectly suited to your taste preferences.

Key Takeaways

  • Growing cherry trees from pits is a fun and rewarding project for any gardener.
  • When selecting cherry pits for planting, choose fresh, ripe fruit from a reputable source.
  • Before planting, cherry pits should be cleaned, dried, and stratified to mimic winter conditions.
  • Choose a sunny, well-draining location with plenty of space for your cherry tree to grow.
  • Plant cherry pits in the ground in the fall or early spring, and water regularly during the first year.

Selecting the right cherry pits for planting

When it comes to selecting cherry pits for planting, there are a few important factors to consider. First and foremost, you want to choose the right variety of cherry. There are many different types of cherries available, each with its own unique flavor profile and growth requirements. Research the different varieties available in your area and choose one that suits your preferences and growing conditions.

Once you have chosen the variety, it is important to select pits from ripe cherries. Ripe cherries will have a deep color and will be slightly soft to the touch. Avoid using pits from underripe or overripe cherries, as they may not germinate successfully.

It is also important to avoid using pits from hybrid cherries. Hybrid cherries are created by crossbreeding two different varieties of cherries, and the resulting pits may not produce trees that are true to the parent plant. Instead, look for pits from heirloom or open-pollinated cherries, as these are more likely to produce trees with the desired characteristics.

Preparing the cherry pits for planting

Before planting the cherry pits, it is important to prepare them properly to ensure successful germination. Start by cleaning the pits to remove any remaining fruit flesh. This can be done by soaking them in water for a few hours and then gently scrubbing them with a brush.

After cleaning, the pits need to be dried thoroughly. Spread them out on a paper towel or a tray and allow them to air dry for a few days. Make sure they are completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Next, the pits need to go through a process called stratification. Stratification is a method of simulating the natural conditions that cherry pits would experience during winter dormancy. To stratify the pits, place them in a plastic bag with some moistened peat moss or vermiculite. Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator for about 8-12 weeks.

After stratification, it is important to test the viability of the pits before planting them. This can be done by placing a few pits in a glass of water and observing if they sink or float. Pits that sink are viable and can be planted, while those that float are not likely to germinate and should be discarded.

Choosing the right location for planting cherry pits

Location Soil Type Drainage Sunlight Temperature Success Rate
Backyard Loamy Good Full Sun 60-70°F High
Park Sandy Poor Partial Shade 70-80°F Low
Forest Clay Excellent Dappled Shade 50-60°F Medium

Choosing the right location for planting your cherry pits is crucial for the success of your tree. Cherry trees require full sunlight to thrive, so it is important to choose a spot in your yard that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.

In addition to sunlight, cherry trees also have specific soil requirements. They prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, it is a good idea to amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility and drainage.

Consider the climate in your area when choosing a location for your cherry tree. Cherry trees have specific chilling requirements, meaning they need a certain number of hours of cold temperatures during winter to break dormancy and produce fruit. Make sure your climate provides enough chilling hours for the variety of cherry you are planting.

Planting cherry pits in the ground

Once you have chosen the right location, it is time to plant the cherry pits in the ground. Start by digging a hole that is about twice as wide and deep as the pit. This will give the roots plenty of room to grow.

Place the pit in the hole with the pointed end facing down and cover it with soil. Water the area thoroughly to settle the soil and provide moisture for germination.

After planting, it is a good idea to mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Use organic mulch such as wood chips or straw, and make sure to leave a small gap around the trunk to prevent rot.

Caring for cherry trees during the first year

During the first year of growth, cherry trees require extra care to ensure they establish strong roots and healthy growth. Watering is crucial during this time, especially during dry periods. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot.

Fertilizing is also important during the first year. Use a balanced fertilizer formulated for fruit trees and apply it according to the package instructions. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production.

Protecting the tree from pests and diseases is another important aspect of caring for cherry trees during their first year. Monitor for common pests such as aphids, cherry fruit flies, and cherry slugs, and take appropriate measures to control them. Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of diseases such as brown rot or powdery mildew and treat them promptly to prevent further damage.

Pruning is also necessary during the first year to shape the tree and promote optimal growth. Remove any dead or damaged branches, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. This will help improve air circulation and reduce the risk of disease.

Pruning cherry trees for optimal growth

Pruning is an essential part of maintaining healthy and productive cherry trees. Pruning helps to shape the tree, remove dead or diseased wood, and promote optimal fruit production.

The best time to prune cherry trees is during late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. This allows you to see the structure of the tree more clearly and make accurate pruning cuts.

When pruning cherry trees, it is important to have a plan in mind. Start by removing any dead or diseased wood, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. This will help improve air circulation and reduce the risk of disease.

Next, thin out the canopy by removing some of the smaller branches. This will allow more sunlight to reach the inner parts of the tree and promote better fruit production.

When making pruning cuts, use sharp and clean tools to minimize damage to the tree. Make cuts at a slight angle just above a bud or lateral branch. Avoid leaving stubs, as they can become entry points for pests and diseases.

Fertilizing cherry trees for maximum fruit production

Fertilizing cherry trees is important for promoting healthy growth and maximum fruit production. Choosing the right fertilizer is crucial for providing the tree with the nutrients it needs.

When selecting a fertilizer for cherry trees, look for one that is specifically formulated for fruit trees. These fertilizers typically have a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as other essential micronutrients.

The timing of fertilization is also important. It is best to fertilize cherry trees in early spring, just before new growth begins. This allows the tree to take up the nutrients and use them for healthy growth throughout the growing season.

When applying fertilizer, follow the package instructions for the specific product you are using. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the base of the tree, taking care not to let it come into direct contact with the trunk. Water the area thoroughly after applying the fertilizer to help it dissolve and reach the roots.

Protecting cherry trees from pests and diseases

Cherry trees are susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases that can damage the tree and reduce fruit production. Being proactive in preventing and treating these issues is crucial for maintaining a healthy and productive tree.

Common pests that can affect cherry trees include aphids, cherry fruit flies, and cherry slugs. Monitor your tree regularly for signs of infestation, such as distorted leaves, sticky residue, or holes in the fruit. If you notice any pests, take appropriate measures to control them, such as using insecticidal soap or introducing beneficial insects.

Diseases that can affect cherry trees include brown rot, powdery mildew, and bacterial canker. To prevent these diseases, make sure your tree has good air circulation by pruning it regularly. Avoid overhead watering, as this can create a moist environment that is conducive to disease development. If you notice any signs of disease, such as discolored or rotting fruit or powdery growth on leaves, take immediate action to treat it.

Harvesting cherries from your own cherry tree

After years of care and patience, it is finally time to harvest cherries from your own cherry tree. Knowing when and how to harvest is important for ensuring that you enjoy the fruits of your labor at their peak flavor and quality.

The timing of cherry harvest depends on the variety you are growing and your climate. Cherries are typically ready to harvest in late spring or early summer. Look for cherries that are fully colored and slightly soft to the touch. They should come off the tree easily when gently twisted.

To harvest cherries, hold the fruit gently and twist it off the stem. Avoid pulling or tugging, as this can damage the fruit or the tree. Place the harvested cherries in a shallow container to prevent them from getting crushed.

Once harvested, cherries can be enjoyed fresh, used in baking, or preserved for later use. Rinse them gently under cool water before consuming or storing. Store cherries in the refrigerator to prolong their freshness and flavor.
Growing cherry trees from pits is a rewarding and cost-effective way to enjoy fresh cherries from your own backyard. With the right preparation and care, you can successfully grow a healthy and productive cherry tree. From selecting the right pits to harvesting the fruit, each step of the process is important for ensuring success. By following these guidelines and being patient, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for years to come.

If you’re interested in learning how to grow a cherry tree from pits, you might find this article on Lawn World’s website quite helpful. They have a comprehensive sitemap that includes a wide range of gardening topics, including a specific section on fruit trees. You can check out their article on growing cherry trees from pits by clicking here. It provides step-by-step instructions and valuable tips to ensure successful cherry tree propagation.


What is a cherry pit?

A cherry pit is the hard, stone-like seed found inside the fruit of a cherry tree.

Can you grow a cherry tree from a pit?

Yes, it is possible to grow a cherry tree from a pit.

What is the best time to plant cherry pits?

The best time to plant cherry pits is in the fall, after the fruit has ripened and fallen from the tree.

How do you prepare cherry pits for planting?

To prepare cherry pits for planting, they should be cleaned and dried. The outer flesh should be removed, and the pit should be cracked slightly to allow for water absorption.

What type of soil is best for growing cherry trees?

Cherry trees prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A pH level between 6.0 and 6.5 is ideal.

How much sunlight do cherry trees need?

Cherry trees need full sun, which is at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

How long does it take for a cherry tree to grow from a pit?

It can take several years for a cherry tree to grow from a pit and produce fruit. It typically takes 3-5 years for a cherry tree to begin producing fruit.

What are some common pests and diseases that affect cherry trees?

Common pests that affect cherry trees include aphids, mites, and fruit flies. Common diseases include brown rot, powdery mildew, and bacterial canker.