Growing Cherries at the Allotment

Growing Cherries at the Allotment

How to Grow Cherries: A Detailed Guide

Growing cherries add a burst of colour and beauty to any garden with their juicy red fruits and pretty spring blossoms. They come in two main types; the sweet cherry and the acidic cooking cherry. You can choose varieties that are dwarf if you’re short of space, or self-fertile trees if you are planting more than one.

If you are wondering how to grow cherries, let us help you with our expert insights. 

From choosing the right variety to soil preparation and planting, we will uncover all the essential tips for a healthy cherry harvest. 

When and Where to Grow Cherries

Cherry trees can be planted from November - December if they are dormant root trees and container-grown cherry trees can be planted at any time.

Cherry trees like full sun, but the acid cooking cherries can thrive in the shade.

When planting cherry trees, pick a spot with good drainage and airflow to keep them healthy. Make sure there's enough room for them to grow and get sunlight easily. Adding organic matter to the soil before planting helps the roots grow strong and keeps the tree healthy.


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How and When to Plant Cherries

Dig a hole twice as broad and a little deeper than the cherry tree's root ball to prepare the ground for planting. To encourage root penetration and growth, loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole.

The cherry tree should then be carefully taken out of its container or, if it is bare-root, its roots should be unwrapped. Make sure the tree's soil level is the same as the surrounding ground before placing it in the middle of the hole.

To settle the soil and hydrate the roots, water the newly planted cherry tree generously.

How to Take Care of a Cherry Plant

Cherry trees require regular watering until they become established. Add well-rotted manure for the best results.

Cherry trees; when blossoming, will require protection from late frosts. A fruit cage is also beneficial to prevent the birds from eating the fruits. Aphids can sometimes be an issue also, so watch out.

When and How to Harvest Cherries

If you are wondering when to pick cherries, keep reading!

After blossoming, cherry tress will form the fruits, which will be ready to harvest July - August depending on the weather. Pruning should be done after harvesting.

Common Problems with Cherries

  • Aphids can infest cherry trees, sucking sap from the leaves and causing them to distort and yellow.
  • Brown rot is a fungal disease that can affect both the fruit and blossoms of cherry trees, causing brown spots and rotting.
  • Cherry fruit fly larvae can infest cherry fruit, causing it to become discoloured and unpalatable.
  • Cherries may fail to produce fruit if pollination is inadequate, which can happen due to factors such as unfavourable weather conditions or a lack of pollinators.

Popular Cherries Varieties

Each cherry variety has its own unique flavour profile and growth features, making it suitable for a variety of climates and tastes. Trying out different cherry varieties is a learning process for beginner allotment growers, making the process of how to grow cherries experimental.

  • ‘Stella’ is a self-fertile sweet cherry variety with large, juicy fruit that ripens in mid to late July.
  • ‘Morello’ is a sour cherry variety often used for cooking and preserving due to its tart flavour. It ripens in late July to early August.
  • ‘Regina’, is another sweet cherry variety known for its excellent flavour and firm texture. It ripens in mid to late July.
  • ‘Merton Glory’ is a traditional sweet cherry variety with dark red fruit that ripens in late July to early August.

The Different Ways to Use Cherries

Learning how to grow cherries means that you will be eating and cooking with cherries. Here are some ideas:

  • Sweet cherries can be eaten fresh and raw and cooked
  • Acid cooked cherries can be used for cooked desserts, pies and jams.

Growing Cherries in Summary

Want to know how to grow cherries in a few easy steps? Read this!

Planting Cherries

  • Plant dormant bareroot trees in November-December
  • Plant ocntainer grown trees anytime 
  • Select self-fertile for one tree and dwarf for a smaller tree

Growing Cherries

  • Water regularly until established
  • Protect from frosts and birds
  • Prune after harvesting

Harvesting Cherries

  • Harvest during July - August
  • Sweet cherries can be eaten raw
  • Acid cooking cherries can be used in jams and cooked desserts

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