Things You'll Need
Cherry trees are relatively large fruit trees at 40 feet in height, and grow in both sweet and sour varieties. These trees require a deep winter chill to set their spring fruit, and thrive only up to USDA hardiness zone 9. South Carolina's zones 7 to 8, which offer both bright, hot summers and winters that drop to freezing, are ideal for cherry growth. Mid-state Irmo falls into zone 7b, and supports both indoor and outdoor cherry trees. To grow your own cherry harvest, pick the right outdoor site and get started.
Plant cherry trees in early spring to give the saplings time to grow and prepare for winter. The last frost in Irmo generally falls in mid-April, so plant cherries in the third week of the month.
Prepare two planting sites to plant two cherry trees. These are self-infertile trees, and can't self-pollinate; you'll need at least two trees to gain a fruit harvest. Find sites that sit 18 to 20 feet from each other, to give the trees room to grow. Each site must get at least eight hours of full sun every day, with quick drainage through the soil. Cherries won't bloom or bear fruit if you plant them in the shade.
Mix one part quick-draining soil with one part organic compost to amend your soil. Turn 3 to 4 inches of this mixture into the top foot of soil, in a 2-foot wide area in your planting site. Cherries will grow in poor soil, but always need good drainage.
Dig holes as deep and wide as the cherry trees' pots, and plant cherries so that their crowns are at soil level. Fill the holes 3/4 full with amended soil, then water the trees with 1 gallon of water each to settle the soil down. Finish filling the holes in and pack down the soil.
- Purdue University Department of Horticulture: Growing Cherries in Indiana
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Ornamental Cherry, Plum, Apricot & Almond
- Growit.com: South Carolina USDA Hardiness Zone Map
- Victory Seeds: Average First and Last Frost Dates fo South Carolina
- Flower Pot Heaven: Cherry Trees--Hints on How to Grow and Plant Cherry Trees