By: Teo Spengler
Gardeners love cherry trees (Prunus spp.) for their showy spring blossoms and sweet red fruit. When it comes to fertilizing cherry trees, less is better. Read on for information about when to fertilize cherry trees and when cherry tree fertilizer is a bad idea.
Gardeners should remember that fertilizing cherry trees does not guarantee more fruit. In fact, the main result of applying cherry tree fertilizer heavy in nitrogen is more foliage growth.
Fertilize the tree if the foliage growth is slow. But only consider cherry tree fertilizer if the average annual branch growth is less than 8 inches (20.5 cm.). You can calculate this by measuring from last year’s bud scale scars that formed at the shoot tip.
If you keep pouring on nitrogen fertilizer, your tree may grow longer branches, but at the expense of fruit. You have to keep a balance between giving your cherry tree a helping hand and overdosing it on fertilizer.
If your tree is planted in a sunny site in fertile, well-drained soil, it may not need fertilizer. You’ll want to run a soil test before you start fertilizing cherry trees with anything but nitrogen. If the test reveals that the soil lacks important nutrients, you can add them then.
Also, keep in mind that the best time to fertilize is early spring. Don’t start fertilizing cherry trees in late spring or summer. This timing of cherry tree fertilizing stimulates foliage growth in late summer, inhibits fruiting, and makes the tree vulnerable to winter injury.
If your cherry tree growth is less than 8 inches (20.5 cm.) a year, it may need a cherry tree fertilizer. If so, buy a balanced granulated fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10.
The amount of fertilizer to apply depends on the number of years since the tree was planted in your garden. Apply 1/10 pound (45.5 g.) of nitrogen for every year of tree age, up to a maximum of one pound (453.5 g.). Always read the package directions and follow them.
Generally, you apply fertilizer by scattering the grains around the cherry tree trunk, out to and beyond the tree’s dripline. Don’t broadcast any near to or touching the trunk.
Ensure that the tree doesn’t get too much fertilizer by taking into account any other plants you fertilize near the cherry. Cherry tree roots absorb any fertilizer used near it, including lawn fertilizer.
This article was last updated on
Read more about Cherry Trees
Most people love eating fresh cherries or fresh baked cherry pie, and nothing is more satisfying than growing your own crop of this delicious fruit. Planting and tending a cherry tree is not hard, but you should know about selecting a variety compatible with your climate zone, choosing a planting location with good sun and soil, and tending the tree by watering and fertilizing at the right times.
Sour cherries grow in colder climates than sweet cherries, and they thrive in USDA climate zones 4 to 9. Sweet cherries prefer the milder climates of zones 5 to 8. Choose a variety best suited for your climate zone.
Plant cherry trees in the winter when the tree is dormant.
Yes, but it will not be the same as the cherry it came from. Growing cherries from seed produces a hybrid with qualities different than either of the parents.
Plant your cherry tree in fertile soil with good drainage and a pH level of 6 to 6.5.
Dig the hole at least twice the size of the root ball of the tree. Mix in a small amount of organic matter with the native soil to improve drainage and add nutrients. Good sources of organic matter include:
Cherry trees do not need an abundance of fertilizer. Testing your soil for nutrients at planting time and each year thereafter helps you figure out how much fertilizer to apply. In general, fertilize with a low-nitrogen fertilizer only once per year in spring before blossoms appear.
A lot. Choose a site with full-sun, providing at least 8 hours of direct light each day.
It depends on where you live. If you have summer rain, you will need to irrigate less than if you live in a dry summer climate. However, cherry trees do need regular irrigation in summer, but it is just as important not to over-irrigate because too much water can lead to fungal diseases of the root system.
Standard size sweet cherries start bearing a fruit crop in four to seven years after planting. Dwarf trees bear fruit in about two to three years. Sour cherries begin fruiting three to five years after planting.
In general, young trees that are not yet producing fruit may be fertilized with 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. 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 soil.
Last Updated: March 29, 2019 References
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed 8,474 times.
Planting trees can give most patches of earth some color and character. Although trees generally do not require a ton of maintenance aside from regular watering and intermittent pruning, they do benefit from the occasional application of fertilizer. To avoid damaging your tree, consider testing your soil first to determine what kind of fertilizer you need. Add an appropriate amount of fertilizer in the spring or fall to help your trees recover from damage and continue growing.
Although the Kwanzan cherry tree is native to islands of Japan, China, and Korea, it has adapted very well to the climate in the US. This tree can tolerate temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes the tree ideal for growing in all kinds of climates.
This cherry tree requires irregular watering once or twice a week. Water the tree deeply after checking the topsoil. If it’s dry, then it’s time to water it.
Kwanzan cherry trees need a lot of sunlight to thrive. These trees should not be planted in partial shade and typically need a full day of sunlight.
The best soil condition for growing Kwanzan cherry trees should be well-draining and moist. That said, these trees aren’t too picky and generally do well in sandy or clay soils. They can tolerate both alkaline and acid levels.
The good news is, you won’t need to fertilize your Kwanzan cherry tree for the first two years. After the second year, boost its growth by feeding the tree with a slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer for two years. Be sure to protect the tree from pesky weeds by mulching around its base. Mulching will protect and nurture the soil while preventing the tree’s roots from drying out.Apply the fertilizer in the spring and summer by dividing the fertilizer into 2-4 applications. As a rule of thumb, apply the fertilizer once a month from March to June.
While Japanese cherry trees can be propagated from seeds, cuttings will be the quickest and easiest method. Follow these simple steps to propagate your Kwanzan cherry tree:
Step 1. Take a cutting from the cherry tree in summer. Choose a branch that has 2-4 leaf nodes and leaves.
Step 2. Trim up to 4 inches from the cutting at a horizontal angle and remove all the bottom leaves. Leave the upper leaves intact.
Step 3. Place the cutting in a rooting hormone.
Step 4. After two days, place the cutting into a soil mix consisting of half peat moss and half perlite. Make sure the cutting is firmly planted into the soil.
Step 5. Place a plastic bag over the pot and put it in a sunny location. Lightly spray the cutting with water twice a day to keep the soil moist.
Step 6. After 3 months, check the cutting to see if it’s rooted. The roots must fill the pot before the cutting is repotted.
Step 7. Repot the cutting in a gallon-sized once it has rooted properly. Fill the container with potting soil and move the plant outside. The potted plant needs full sun (at least 6 hours a day).
Step 8. After one week, plant the cutting in the ground.
Kwanzan cherry trees don’t require much pruning unless their twigs or branches are attacked by pests or diseased. In these cases, you must cut the infected twigs immediately. It is also advisable to prune the limbs that have grown too heavy starting from the base of the tree. This will ensure the tree doesn’t get overloaded with out of shape twigs.
As a rule of thumb, you should only prune the flowering tree in the fall after it has completed flowering. Important: sterilize your pruning tools with alcohol in order to ensure healthy trimming and prevent fungus infestation.
Follow these quick steps to safely prune your cherry tree:
Step 1. As stated previously, start pruning your tree in the fall or after the spring season once the tree has completed its floral blooms. This will help eliminate any damaged branches that are susceptible to disease.
Step 2. Using a sharp trimming shear, trim off the discolored branches. Make sure you wipe down the tool after you finish in order to kill any lingering fungus on the shear.
Step 3. Any connecting branches also need to be cut off. These branches will grow bigger and rub on each other, thus reducing air circulation. A cherry tree can’t stay protected against fungal diseases if it doesn’t have proper air circulation. Moisture from overcrowded branches will cause rot disease. Once the tree’s trunk and branches get discolored, they will decay and infect the entire tree. By pruning the connecting branches early in the season, you will help your tree grow in the healthiest possible way.
Click to read full answer. Accordingly, what is the best fertilizer for cherry blossom trees?
Most flowering cherry trees can benefit from a balanced blend fertilizer with compositional values of 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. These values represent the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) mix in the fertilizer. Nitrogen is responsible for promoting foliar growth.
Beside above, how long does it take for a Yoshino cherry tree to grow? In only 3 to 4 years, the tree can reach up to 15 feet tall and have a trunk diameter of around 3-inches. After 4 years, the growth rate slows down, but the tree can still grow up to 3 or 4 feet each year for the rest of its life, which is relatively short -- 15 to 20 years at most.
Thereof, when should I fertilize my flowering cherry tree?
Typically for cherry trees, once a year is enough — apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer in early spring, about two or three weeks before the tree blooms. You can still fertilize after bud break, but by no means any later than July.
How far apart should you plant Yoshino cherry trees?
Fertilizing is an excellent way to replenish the nutrients in your soil, especially nitrogen. Nitrogen encourages green vegetative growth, which is exactly what you want to promote before your cherry tree reaches its fruit-bearing years.
Always test your soil prior to applying any fertilizers. Different soils can have varying amounts of native elements needed to support cherry tree growth and development. If you discover your soil lacks any necessary nutrients (nitrogen, phosphates, potash, etc.), be sure to choose a fertilizer that supplements the soil’s nutrient deficiency.
Get to know your soil and discover the importance of soil testing prior to making any changes.
NOTE: This is part 6 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow cherry trees , we recommend starting from the beginning.
Cherry trees are light feeders and prefer a low-nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 10-15-15. Take care not to over-fertilize, or you may produce a tree that is unbalanced, which can affect fruit production and leave the tree susceptible to pests and disease.
Nitrogen, phosphorus/phosphates, and potassium/potash are the “big” macronutrients cherry trees need to grow normally. They are present in healthy soil, but may be added when soil is deficient. Nitrogen is the nutrient most used by growing cherry trees it moves throughout the soil, is leached off by normal growth and must be replaced by synthetic or organic compounds. The main source of nitrogen is decaying organic matter. Signs of macronutrient deficiency in cherry trees include reddish or pale colored leaves, narrow or shrunken leaves and dead spots on leaves.
Cherry trees also need micronutrients in the soil, which help make the macronutrients available to the tree. For example, molybdenum helps fix nitrogen to the soil. Copper and zinc prevent color mottling and misshapen leaves. Calcium is another essential micronutrient that cherry trees thrive on that improves leaf and fruit quality. The easiest way to add micronutrients is by adding aged compost or a good, balanced fruit tree fertilizer that states micronutrients are part of the formula.
To prevent the chance of injury as the growing season winds down, do not fertilize past July 1st.