Cherries are a delicious yet delicate fruit to grow. They can be a wonderful tree to plant in a home garden and can produce between 30-50 quarts of cherries for fresh eating, baking or canning. Our cherries enjoy warm climates with high levels of sunshine. We grow around 70,000 individual cherry trees across 290 acres, with 11 different varieties here in Hood River, Oregon. Today, our very own CEO and fruit expert, Scott Webster, is sharing his top three tips for growing cherries.
1. Growing Conditions
Ensuring your cherries have the right atmosphere to grow in is important for long-term success. Wetter climates will be more difficult to grow in, since this fruit struggles with mildew issues in areas with more precipitation. Also, soil PH levels are important. Cherries enjoy a soil PH level between 3.5 and 4.5. If you can keep a healthy growing environment for your tree, you are on your way to developing a strong tree.
2. Developing Your Tree
A cherry tree will take between 4-7 years to develop a full crop. The first 4 years should be focused on growing your tree and strengthening it from its roots all the way to its canopy. Therefore, having the correct watering system can help increase the likelihood of a healthy tree. We use a variety of watering techniques, including drip irrigation to water our trees. This technology allows us to conserve water while allowing for a near perfect feeding of our trees. Now, once your tree is developed the next step is continuing to maintain it.
Pruning your tree is recommended each year as it becomes dormant. If your tree struggles with growth, prune it aggressively. If it is growing vigorously, do a lighter more detailed pruning to build a balanced canopy. In addition, cherries can handle the cold but not as well as other fruit varieties. If your temperature drops dramatically over a short period of time, it’s recommended to cover the tree trunk and root system with a blanket or other insulated materials. Keep in mind, rain can destroy a crop and cause splitting in your cherries two weeks prior to harvest. If you can create a cover for your trees, it may save your crop if it rains!
Cherries are a great addition to any backyard, bringing a splash of yearly color and delicious, sweet snacks you can eat straight off the tree. In addition, The Fruit Company sells a variety of fruit trees, that can be shipped to you or a loved one nationwide. Also, our delicious cherries are currently on promotion with free 2-day shipping! We wish you the best of luck in all your growing endeavors.
Scott Webster is President & CEO of both Webster Orchards, Inc and TheFruitCompany.com. Webster Orchards has been growing premium fresh fruit in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area since 1942, starting with Scott’s grandfather Roy Webster. The Fruit Company, an online gift retailer has been packing and shipping beautiful fruit gifts nationwide since 1999. Both headquarters are located in the Hood River Valley, nestled between Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.