Grow these impressive trees in your garden for a plentiful supply of fruit!

There are two basic types of edible cherries: Sour cherries
are used mostly for cooking and preserving, whereas sweet cherries are best to
eat fresh but a little harder to grow.

Stocked at garden centers, they are usually sold grafted on
rootstocks. ‘Colt’ rootstocks are common sweet cherries and grow to a height of
6-8m. Smaller semi-dwarfing ‘Gisela 5’ and ‘Table’ species reach 3-4m. Acid
cherries grow 3-4m on ‘Colt’ rootstocks. Colt rootstocks are better adapted to
UK climates and relatively tolerant to poor soil conditions.

Plant cherries from November to March. Both types need lots
of sun and warmth, with well-drained, light soil. For the first two years, the
trees will require a stake support.

Top tips

improve soil fertility, add an organic mulch layer.

must be taken to protect the tree from frost damage; when frost is forecast
cover the tree with a horticulture fleece, but remove this during the
frost-free days to allow access for pollinating insects.

such as Growmore or sulphate of potash may be helpful if growth is poor and
during the early stages of fruit development in mid-spring.

younger trees in the Spring, to encourage a strong branch
structure to support abundant fruit. For established cherry trees, remove about
one quarter of the older fruited shoots, particularly in crowding areas. You
want to achieve a balance between one-year-old fruiting wood and new
replacement branches.

Key timings

Jan Feb March April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Plant ü ü ü ü ü ü
Harvest ü ü ü


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