How to Grow Bing Cherry Trees From Seed
Bing cherry trees, also known as Prunus avium, are medium-sized fruit trees that produce sweet, dark maroon colored cherries that are popular for both cooking and eating fresh from the tree. Bing cherry trees grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, in areas where the average annual minimum temperature is between negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit and 20 degrees Fahrenheit. With proper care, your bing cherry tree should begin producing cherries in its fifth or sixth year. By its 10th year, when it reaches maturity, your bing cherry tree will be able to produce up to 100 lbs. of delicious cherries each year.
Save the pits from your store bought bing cherries. Wash the pits with water to remove the pulp. Lay on a towel to air dry.
Wet a dish towel and wring out some of the excess water. Wrap the clean bing cherry pits in the dish towel and place the towel in a gallon size zipper bag.
Place the zipper bag into the refrigerator for between 60 to 90 days to stratify them. Manual stratification mimics the natural cooling process the pits would experience if planted in the ground.
Fill a 6 to 8 inch pot with 2 inches of a rich potting compost. Add your stratified bing cherry pits to the pot and cover them with another inch of potting compost.
Water your bing cherry pits as often as necessary to keep the soil moist, but well-drained. Give your bing cherry pits at least four weeks to germinate. Once the bing cherry pits have sprouted, move them to their own individual pots. Plant the seedlings outside when they are about 4 inches tall. For best results, wait to plant your seedlings until the spring, after the last frost.
Planting and Care Instructions
Choose a planting location for your bing cherry tree seedlings. Select a location that offers at least six hours of full sunlight each day.
Prepare the soil at your planting location. Remove any sticks or rocks, then mix a rich potting compost into the top 4 inches of soil.
Dig a small hole in the amended soil and insert the bing cherry seedling. The hole should be deep enough that, when planted, the seedling sits in the soil at the same level it did in its pot. Fill the hole with the amended soil and pat down. When planting multiple seedlings, plant them at least 15 feet apart.
Use a slow-watering method to water your seedlings. A soaker hose can be purchased from your local garden center for this purpose. Slow watering will allow the water to sink deep into the soil and better hydrate your seedlings.
As your bing cherry tree grows, provide supports as necessary. Put up a protective fence made of chicken wire to protect your young cherry tree from being accidentally stepped on or eaten by wildlife.
Fertilize your bing cherry tree with a fertilizer that has been specially formulated for cherry trees. The amount of fertilizer used and the frequency of fertilization will depend on the type of fertilizer used. Apply your specially formulated cherry tree fertilizer according to package directions.
Prune any dead, damaged or diseased branches from your bing cherry tree in the late winter.
Things You Will Need
- Bing cherry pits
- Dish towel
- Gallon size plastic zipper bag
- Potting compost
- Soaker hose (optional)
- Chicken wire
- Pruning shears
- You can also purchase bing cherry seeds from garden centers or gardening websites.
- Avoid pruning your bing cherry trees too early in winter to reduce the risk of your cherry tree contracting a bacterial infection. For best results, wait until between late February and mid-March to prune your bing cherry tree.