Are Cherry Trees Self Pollinating?

Cherries are a perfect addition to any meal or dessert, and planting cherry trees in your backyard can be rewarding. You might be curious whether cherry trees are self-pollinating, so we've researched this question to provide a reliable answer.

Most sweet cherry trees do not self-pollinate and need cross-pollination to set fruit.  However, some cherry trees, including sour or tart cherry trees, are self-pollinating. 

Growing cherry trees can be tricky since there are two classifications of cherry trees, those that self-pollinate and those that may need cross-pollination. Continue reading to learn more about cherry trees and how to grow them successfully in your area. 

Do Cherry Trees Self-Pollinate?

A photo of beautiful cherry trees with cherries in orchard.

Depending on the type, a cherry tree may be self-unfruitful and need cross-pollination to set fruit. However, some cherry trees, including sour or tart cherries, are self-pollinating and have complete flowers.

Self-pollination happens when the anther transfers the pollen into the same plant's stigma or another flower of the same plant.

Although some cherry trees are self-pollinating, growing other cherry trees close to them can help you achieve a larger harvest. Bees, wind, and other pollinators will also help complete pollination to ensure fruit production.

What Cherry Trees Are Self-Pollinating?

Cluster of cherries hanging from a cherry branch.

Cherry trees are of two kinds: sour and sweet. Tart cherries are primarily used in cooking and baking, while sweet cherries are ideal for appetizers and desserts.

Most sweet cherries are not self-pollinating, while sour or tart cherries self-pollinate. Planting one tart cherry tree variety is enough to ensure fruiting. Here are self-pollinating sour cherry varieties you can check.

  • Stark Montmorency Pie Cherry: Native to France, this variety bears fruit three to five years upon sowing and is suitable for zones four to seven.
  • Early Richmond Sour Cherry: Native to England, this variety produces a fruitful harvest. The waiting time for fruit harvest is three to five years. This variety is suitable for zones four to nine.
  • North Star Pie Cherry: This sour variety is perfect for desserts and beverages. You can harvest fruit three to five years after sowing. This variety suits zones four to eight.
  • Stark Surecrop Pie Cherry: This variety is native to Louisiana. This variety bears fruit three to five years after sowing and is suitable for zones four to seven.

What Cherry Varieties Require Cross-Pollination?

Dessert, creamy panna cotta with cherry sauce in in vintage glass jars on a light concrete background. Desserts without baking. Desserts for Valentine Day. Italian food

People love sweet cherries since they are perfect for snacks and desserts. But most sweet cherry varieties can bear fruit only through cross-pollination. Here are some popular sweet cherry varieties.

  • Rainier Cherry: This sweet cherry variety produces fruit that is yellow and red with a light sugary flavor.
  • Bing Cherry: This variety produces heart-shaped fruit and is the most popular variety of sweet cherry on the market. Bing cherries are crisp, luscious, and very sweet. 
  • Lambert Cherry: This variety is large in size and ideal for snacks and baking.
  • Lapins Cherry: This type is a cross between Vans and Stella cherries. The fruit may be an inch size. This variety is sweet-tasting and delectable.

What Conditions Prevent Cherry Trees From Setting Fruit?

Regardless of whether your cherry trees are sour or sweet, there will be instances when they bloom but don't set fruit. Like most trees and plants, cherry trees need nourishment, hydration, water, pollination, and a stress-free environment to become fruitful.

Here are some of the conditions that hinder cherry trees from setting fruit.

Ripening cherries on orchard tree. - Are Cherry Trees Self Pollinating

Excessive Pruning

Properly trimming your trees can help them produce more fruit. Some gardeners trim their cherry trees during late summer when the leaves turn yellowish and fall on the ground.

If trimming happens during wintertime, your trees won't have the energy to fend off germs and contamination.

Note that sour cherry varieties are more complex than sweet ones, and you can prune sour cherries over winter. Make sure that you disinfect your pruning shears before using them.

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Wrong Amount Of Water

Too much or too little water may cause your cherry trees to catch plant diseases. The right amount of water given at the right time is essential to keep your trees healthy.

You should water your cherries when the topmost one to two inches of soil seems dry. If the soil is very dry, water it frequently. If the ground becomes too damp, decrease the watering.

Make sure to use organic compost to enhance the soil's texture and decrease dehydration. The right amount of water and the soil's nutritional elements can boost the growth and development of your trees and help them yield luscious fruits.

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Unsuitable Climate

Cherry trees grow productively with sunlight, as most trees do. They require sunlight six to eight hours per day to receive the nutrition they need and help them produce fruits. Sunshine also aids in ripening the fruit and prevents mildew from harming your cherry trees.

Cold weather can aid in the fruiting of cherry trees. The trees need at least 700-800 hours of chilling time to prepare for dormancy in winter and assist with healthy growth by springtime. Letting them chill and become dormant during winter will help them survive frost and cold.

You can help your cherry trees survive frosting by positioning them in raised locations and protecting them with plant covers. Sour varieties are more likely to survive winter than sweet varieties, so think about planting tart varieties if you live in a cold area.

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Inadequate Nutrients

Fertilizing your soil can result in a plentiful yield. When to fertilize and the right amount of fertilizer to use are important considerations. You should supply your trees with the nutrition they need.

Over and under-fertilizing your cherries can result in unfruitfulness. Cherry trees need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to stay healthy. Note that natural fertilizers are available on the market.

Also, one way to keep your trees healthy is by using compost to fertilize them. Compost fertilizers will supply the right amount of balanced nutrition and minerals for a more extended time.

Give your trees fertilizer over the spring or fall. Do not apply fertilizer during late autumn to prevent root burning.

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Cherry trees need moderately acidic sandy soil with a pH level of 6.0-6.5. Adding coffee dregs to the soil will help maintain its acidity. You should remove weeds by putting mulch around your trees to keep the ground rich in minerals.

Inadequate Pollination

Bee gathering pollen on bird cherry tree flowers

The absence of pollination is one of the significant reasons why cherry trees don't bear fruit. Your cherries may be of the sour variety, but it doesn't ensure a hundred percent fruit set. Cherry trees may still need pollinators to complete the breeding process.

You can expect a more extensive and fruitful harvest with the help of wind, bees, and bird pollination. Try planting other trees and plants around to attract pollinators and maintain pleasant surroundings for your trees.

If birds and bees are not attracted, you can manually pollinate the flowers with a paintbrush or electric toothbrush.

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Harmful Insects

Aphids on leaves. Little black insects that suck the sap of plants, pests of fruit trees. A lot of harmful aphids on green damaged cherry leaves.

You should keep the trees free of harmful insects in order to avoid plant sickness and nutritional deficiency. Regularly check the leaves for pests and inspect the roots for injuries and punctures.

When there are patches and marks on cherry leaves, plant illness can be the cause. You can try growing other plants and trees to keep insects from damaging your cherry trees.

How Long Do Cherry Trees Take To Produce Fruit?

Cherry trees take time to bear fruit. Sour cherry varieties start bearing fruit four to six years after sowing, while sweet cherries yield fruit five to nine years after sowing. They produce fruit in late May, June, or July.

When your cherry trees are properly pollinated and cared for, you can expect bountiful harvests. To ensure you get fruit from your cherry trees, purchase trees from nurseries. Planting seeds from cherries will most likely produce non-fruiting cherry trees. 

Final Thoughts

Most sweet cherries are not self-pollinating, while sour cherries can self-pollinate. Both sweet and sour cherries need enough nutrients, sunlight, protection, and pollinators to ensure growth and productivity. The two kinds may vary in shape and taste, but both need proper care in order to grow. 

Before you go, check out these related articles:

What To Plant Under Cherry Trees?

Are Cherry Trees Messy?

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