Sweet cherries are produced by some cherry tree varieties, whereas sour cherries, sometimes known as pie cherries, are produced by others. Sweet cherries are grown in the western United States and are regularly sold in marketplaces.
Sweet cherry trees reach a height of 30 to 35 feet and have an equal spread. Sour cherry trees can reach a height of 20 feet and are self-fruitful. Like other fruit trees, cherry trees need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to flourish and produce fruit.
What Happens if Cherries Don’t Get Enough Sunlight?
Fruit trees, including cherry trees that don’t get enough sunshine, may produce fewer blossoms, delayed fruit set, and reduced yields. Trees that are sheltered from the sun grow leggy.
If you’re going to plant a cherry tree, make sure it’s in a spot where it’ll get plenty of sunlight and won’t be shaded by other trees or structures. The importance of sunlight in the development of excellent, deep-colored cherry cannot be overstated.
Sunlight and Spacing
It’s critical to properly place cherry trees so that they have enough sunlight, excellent air circulation, and room to thrive. Pollination requires two sweet cherry-producing trees, which should be spaced at least 25 to 30 feet apart but no more than 100 feet apart.
Sour, or tart, cherry trees require less space, at 20 to 24 feet. Due to the fact that sour cherry-producing trees are self-pollinators, only one tree or variety is required for adequate fruit output. Cherry trees that produce sour cherries are poor pollinators for sweet cherry plants.
Sunlight and Pruning
Pruning a sweet cherry tree is necessary to keep its shape and size while also allowing sunlight to pass through its canopy. A sour cherry-producing tree also necessitates training and pruning. After the third year of growth, the tree’s branches must be thinned to allow enough sunshine to reach the entire tree.
For both types of cherry trees, only minor trimming is required. Pruning is primarily used to remove dead wood and thin the canopy.
Protection from Sunlight
Although a cherry tree needs direct sunlight to thrive, a young cherry tree will often require shade to avoid sunburn on its trunk and exposed limbs as it matures.
To help deflect scorching sunlight from the tree until it grows a sufficient canopy, which normally takes a few growing seasons, you can paint its trunk and exposed major limbs with a whitewash combination of half water and half white latex paint. This method is especially critical for a tree trunk that faces south or west.
How to Plant and Grow Cherry Trees
Cherry trees need healthy, well-drained soil to thrive. Because they are prone to root rot, the soil must drain effectively. They also need roughly eight hours of direct sunlight per day, so you can’t put them in the shade of other trees. Sour cherry trees are self-pollinators, according to any cherry tree care manual. This implies that they don’t need more than one tree to yield fruit.
However, for good cherry tree pollination, you’ll need at least a couple of trees if you grow the sweet kind. When growing cherry trees, make sure to plant them on higher ground. Low-lying places experience more frost in the early spring, so you don’t want to plant them there. The flowers of young cherry trees are extremely vulnerable to frost damage, resulting in a decreased fruit harvest.
Sweet cherry trees blossom earlier than sour cherry trees, making them more vulnerable to frost. When it comes to cherry tree care, it’s also important to remember to have the trees pruned so that they produce a decent crop of fruit. Cherry trees that are pruned properly yield more fruit and produce it in greater quantities.
How to Harvest Cherries
Cherries are a favorite of birds. As a result, you’ll have to either share your cherries with them or cover your tree with netting to keep the birds away from your crop. You can often deter birds from taking as much by suspending scare devices, like aluminum pie plates, from tree limbs. Taste the cherries before collecting them from your budding cherry trees.
When sour cherries are fully ripe, they are tender and juicy. When the color of the sweet cherry is consistent, and they have a sweet flavor in a meaty fruit, they are ready to consume. Harvest your cherries while they’re still attached to the stem. This helps to keep them fresh after you’ve picked them. Also, if the stem is still attached after harvest, they maintain better and last longer.
In a nutshell, cherries require direct sunlight to grow. If you don’t pay attention to this aspect, your cherry trees won’t grow properly and provide the quantities of food you desire. In addition to sunlight, there are other aspects that you need to pay attention to. These have all been discussed above.