Q:

How do you care for a cherry tree?

A:

Quick Answer

Care for cherry trees by providing water and fertilizer and pruning as necessary. The trees bloom early and are susceptible to a late frost. While pests are less of a problem with sour cherries, protecting the ripening fruit ensures the largest harvest.

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How do you care for a cherry tree?
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Full Answer

While cherry trees require adequate moisture all year long, it is most critical during the final weeks as the fruit starts to ripen. If the roots dry, the fruit also dries up on the tree; however, too much water at this time causes the fruit to split. Provide fertilizer just prior to the opening of the flowers after the dormant period. A thin layer of compost spread under the drip line of the tree or a small amount of nitrogen fertilizer is generally sufficient.

Prune trees late in the dormant season to encourage new growth and more fruit. Remove any sucker branches that form around the trunk of the tree. Train the tree to a central leader by removing branches that grow primarily vertically.

Birds can strip cherry trees quickly of ripe fruit. Nets provide an easy way to deter them. Other potential pests include aphids, fruit flies and green fruit worms. Diseases such as brown rot, leaf curl and blight are controlled using copper sulfate spray. Painting the trunk with dilute latex paint prevents shothole borers.

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