How to take care of cherry trees? California Bing Cherry Tree Care & Maintenance

The cherry tree (Prunus avium) sways in the cool spring breeze, the petals breaking free of their buds and opening into a cloud of white and pink blossoms. As the cherry’s flowers and leaves emerge after the tree’s winter dormancy, the cycle of care begins. So, what is the best month to plant cherries?

Plant cherries in the late fall or early spring (when the ground is soft and has a higher moisture content). For sweet cherries, make sure the different varieties will pollinate each other. Plant in a sunny site with good air circulation; avoid planting near trees or buildings that shade.

Here are seven impressive health benefits of cherries.

  • Packed with nutrients.
  • Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. …
  • Can boost exercise recovery.
  • May benefit heart health.
  • May improve symptoms of arthritis and gout. …
  • May improve sleep quality.
  • Easy to add to your diet.

Fertilizing The Fruit Tree

Fertilize the tree between two weeks and one month before the flowers open, or new leaves emerge. However, if you miss that window, you can still fertilize while the tree is in bloom, up to the end of June. Fertilizing later than June encourages tender new growth; early frosts could damage the development depending on your location. Cherry trees thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, depending on the cultivar so that you may have a short growing season.

Soil analysis provides an accurate measure of the composition of the soil and nutrients needed to support your cherry tree. Still, you can use a general-purpose fertilizer to feed the tree.

Young Tree Care

In general, young trees that are not yet producing fruit need a balanced 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 slow-release fertilizer. One treatment is sufficient for the season.

Scratch 2 ounces of fertilizer for each inch of the trunk’s diameter into the soil, beginning 1 foot from the tree’s trunk and scattering the fertilizer out to the drip line. Water thoroughly after applying the fertilizer.

Next, rake 4 inches of mulch over the soil, pulling it back 6 inches from the tree’s trunk. Mulch reduces weed growth and slows water evaporation from the ground.

Mature Trees

Fertilize a mature cherry tree with a fertilizer formulated for orchards, such as a 45-0-0 slow-release fertilizer. Apply 1/4 pound, or 4 ounces, of fertilizer for every inch of the tree’s trunk in spring, approximately two weeks before the tree flowers. Scratch the fertilizer into the soil, beginning foot from the crate and scattering the fertilizer over the ground out to the drip line—water thoroughly after fertilizing to prevent the fertilizer salts from damaging the tree’s tender root.

Safety; Wear gloves and safety goggles when applying fertilizer and spraying dormant oil to protect your skin and eyes.

Watering Trees

The cherry tree requires weekly watering to produce blossoms and fruit. Apply 10 gallons of water for every inch of the tree trunk’s diameter. Reduce watering in winter, when the tree is dormant, or if it is raining, and water twice a week in scorching weather.

Cleaning up in Fall & Winter

To prevent the spread of fungal diseases and discourage pests from overwintering:

  1. Clean up under the tree in fall and again after pruning in late winter.
  2. Rake up all the dead leaves, twigs, and other debris and place them on the compost pile or in the green bin for trash pickup.
  3. Remove the old mulch and replace it with a fresh layer of mulch.

Dormant Oil Spray

Begin applying dormant oil in late winter and throughout the growing season. Apply it to the tree when temperatures are between 40- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit. To control insects, such as the San Jose scale, mix 2.5 to 7.5 tablespoons of dormant oil concentrate with 1 gallon of water. Soak the trunk and branches, especially the undersides of the limbs, with the solution. Repeat if necessary to reduce insect infestations. To control powdery mildew, mix 2.5 to 5 tablespoons of concentrate with 1 gallon of water.

Apply at 10 to 14-day intervals until the cherry pits begin to harden. Reapply after harvest to reduce overwintering fungi.

Pruning Cherry Trees

Cherry trees tend to grow upward, requiring annual pruning to encourage fruiting and maintain the tree’s shape. First, hold the tree’s body by cutting the central leader at 2.5 to 3.5 feet above the ground, with three or four large branches forming a comprehensive scaffolding. Then, in older or more significant trees, prune the central leader at a specific height every year to encourage horizontal components to develop.

Pruning Tools

Sterilize your pruning tools between cuts with a solution of equal parts water and rubbing alcohol and preventing disease spread.

Wear shoes or boots, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, and safety glasses when pruning to protect your skin and eyes from debris and stray branches and twigs.

Prune the cherry tree in late winter or early spring while the tree is dormant. Begin by removing dead, broken, and crossing branches. While removing the entire unit, cut it flush with the branch collar.

Examine the branches while pruning. If any additions show signs of disease or dark streaks in the sapwood, sterilize the pruners again and cut the stem down to healthy wood.

Remove upward growing water sprouts from the branches and all leaves, limbs, and root sprouts that may appear below the graft on the trunk—prune water and root sprouts when they occur while they’re still small and manageable.

Cherry trees in California

Cherries and other stone fruit are often out of reach in warm climates because of required “chill hours.” These usually require a winter chill hour count of 600-800 hours at temps between 32- and 45-degrees F. That would NEVER work in a warm climate like Southern California, where we usually get only a couple hundred chill hours. That has changed! I planted a couple of recently introduced “low chill” cherry trees named “Royal Lee” and “Minnie Royal,” who reliably produce with 200-300 chill hours and pollinate each other.

Cherry trees in California
Young Tree Care

Fertilizing The Fruit Tree

Fertilize the tree between two weeks and one month before the flowers open, or new leaves emerge. However, if you miss that window, you can still fertilize while the tree is in bloom, up to the end of June. Fertilizing later than June encourages tender new growth; early frosts could damage the development depending on your location. Cherry trees thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, depending on the cultivar so that you may have a short growing season.

Soil analysis provides an accurate measure of the composition of the soil and nutrients needed to support your cherry tree. Still, you can use a general-purpose fertilizer to feed the tree.

Young Tree Care

In general, young trees that are not yet producing fruit need a balanced 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 slow-release fertilizer. One treatment is sufficient for the season.

Scratch 2 ounces of fertilizer for each inch of the trunk’s diameter into the soil, beginning 1 foot from the tree’s trunk and scattering the fertilizer out to the drip line. Water thoroughly after applying the fertilizer.

Next, rake 4 inches of mulch over the soil, pulling it back 6 inches from the tree’s trunk. Mulch reduces weed growth and slows water evaporation from the ground.

Mature Trees

Fertilize a mature cherry tree with a fertilizer formulated for orchards, such as a 45-0-0 slow-release fertilizer. Apply 1/4 pound, or 4 ounces, of fertilizer for every inch of the tree’s trunk in spring, approximately two weeks before the tree flowers. Scratch the fertilizer into the soil, beginning foot from the crate and scattering the fertilizer over the ground out to the drip line—water thoroughly after fertilizing to prevent the fertilizer salts from damaging the tree’s tender root.

Safety; Wear gloves and safety goggles when applying fertilizer and spraying dormant oil to protect your skin and eyes.

Watering Trees

The cherry tree requires weekly watering to produce blossoms and fruit. Apply 10 gallons of water for every inch of the tree trunk’s diameter. Reduce watering in winter, when the tree is dormant, or if it is raining, and water twice a week in scorching weather.

Cleaning up in Fall & Winter

To prevent the spread of fungal diseases and discourage pests from overwintering:

  1. Clean up under the tree in fall and again after pruning in late winter.
  2. Rake up all the dead leaves, twigs, and other debris and place them on the compost pile or in the green bin for trash pickup.
  3. Remove the old mulch and replace it with a fresh layer of mulch.

Dormant Oil Spray

Begin applying dormant oil in late winter and throughout the growing season. Apply it to the tree when temperatures are between 40- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit. To control insects, such as the San Jose scale, mix 2.5 to 7.5 tablespoons of dormant oil concentrate with 1 gallon of water. Soak the trunk and branches, especially the undersides of the limbs, with the solution. Repeat if necessary to reduce insect infestations. To control powdery mildew, mix 2.5 to 5 tablespoons of concentrate with 1 gallon of water.

Apply at 10 to 14-day intervals until the cherry pits begin to harden. Reapply after harvest to reduce overwintering fungi.

Pruning Cherry Trees

Cherry trees tend to grow upward, requiring annual pruning to encourage fruiting and maintain the tree’s shape. First, hold the tree’s body by cutting the central leader at 2.5 to 3.5 feet above the ground, with three or four large branches forming a comprehensive scaffolding. Then, in older or more significant trees, prune the central leader at a specific height every year to encourage horizontal components to develop.

Pruning Tools

Sterilize your pruning tools between cuts with a solution of equal parts water and rubbing alcohol and preventing disease spread.

Wear shoes or boots, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, and safety glasses when pruning to protect your skin and eyes from debris and stray branches and twigs.

Prune the cherry tree in late winter or early spring while the tree is dormant. Begin by removing dead, broken, and crossing branches. While removing the entire unit, cut it flush with the branch collar.

Examine the branches while pruning. If any additions show signs of disease or dark streaks in the sapwood, sterilize the pruners again and cut the stem down to healthy wood.

Remove upward growing water sprouts from the branches and all leaves, limbs, and root sprouts that may appear below the graft on the trunk—prune water and root sprouts when they occur while they’re still small and manageable.

Cherry trees in California

Cherries and other stone fruit are often out of reach in warm climates because of required “chill hours.” These usually require a winter chill hour count of 600-800 hours at temps between 32- and 45-degrees F. That would NEVER work in a warm climate like Southern California, where we usually get only a couple hundred chill hours. That has changed! I planted a couple of recently introduced “low chill” cherry trees named “Royal Lee” and “Minnie Royal,” who reliably produce with 200-300 chill hours and pollinate each other.

Bing Cherry Tree Maintenance

The most popular type of sweet cherry in America, Bing cherries provide a healthy and tasty fruit. There is no better way to ensure that you receive the freshest and most delicious Bing cherries than by growing your trees. Bing cherries need to cross-pollinate, meaning that you need at least two trees for them to produce fruit. Once mature and pollinate it each tree can have up to 100 pounds of fruit. Therefore, proper care of all of your Bing cherry trees is vital for supplying fresh, healthy fruit for you and your family.



Things you will need

  • cherry tree
  • soil testing kit
  • shovel
  • watering pail or garden hose
  • pruning shears
  • fertilizer



 

Planting

purchase the Bing cherry tree from a garden center a nursery. Bing cherry trees begin to produce fruit when five or six years old choose your tree accordingly. Check to be sure that the tree you select does not have a history of any diseases. Purchase a soil testing kit from your local hardware store. Collect soil samples from at least two places in your yard. Allow soil to dry, then follow the steps for testing the soil for pH or acidity. Bank cherry trees prefer a pH level between six and seven.

Plant the Bing cherry tree in an area of your yard that receives direct sunlight and allows for the tree’s growth. Bing cherry trees can grow up to 35 feet tall and have up to a 25 -foot branch spread at full maturity.

Dig a hole between 2 and 3 feet deep and between 4 and 5 feet wide. Spread the roots out in the spot, fill the gap in halfway with soil, then compact it with your shovel, fill in the void, and compact the ground once more.

After planted, water the tree using a watering pail or garden hose. When you apply, the soil will stop up the water. Keep watering until the soil is thoroughly damp and stop sopping up the water.



Maintenance

  • Water the Bing cherry tree often and well. The Bing cherry tree is not drought-resistant water often enough that the soil does not dry out in between watering. Pour water until the ground stops sopping it up.

  • Prune the cherry tree each winter after you have collected the fruit and the tree is in its dormant state: your shear to trim weakly damaged or diseased branches. You can also control fruit production through pruning by ensuring that the fruits have room to grow to their fullest potential without being hidden from sunlight or airflow by other branches.
  • Fertilize the cherry trees each spring with nutrient-rich brands containing organic materials such as peat to benefit from draining.

PRIME TREE SERVICE
Lodi - Stockton - Manteca

Prime Tree Service is an expert tree service with over 27-years of experience caring for the natural landscape of communities in Lodi.  Our goal is to provide exceptional tree service to all residential and commercial clients looking to maintain or improve the natural surroundings of their homes and businesses. We always use the SAFEST tree removal methods for your property’s safety, to ensure efficiency, and to promote safety! We strive to save every tree we can, but sometimes tree removal is necessary.

With a team of qualified handymen and arborists, we have managed to keep being on top of the game. You need to hire us because we are renowned for offering exemplary services in California’s greater area. We are also licensed, insured, and certified to ensure the quality of services we provide meet our clients’ standards.

We believe we can take care of your trees and provide guidance to keep your trees healthier and more beneficial, call us today to get the best of your trees!

PRIME TREE SERVICE - Lodi - Stockton - Manteca