The Q&A Archives: Cherry Tree Never Bloomed

Question: I planted a 4 foot young cherry tree last spring that was on the verge of budding. It never did. The buds swelled but never opened up. It is still alive (branches are flexible). Other plants in the yard have done ok. What did I do wrong? What can I do this spring? We have clay soil and a very dry climate.

Answer: Transplanting can be quite a shock to a plant's system. If your tree is otherwise healthy, it should be okay this spring. You didn't mention what type of cherry. Most sweet cherries are not self-pollinating: 'Garden Bing" and 'Stella' are the two exceptions. (In other words, they need another cherry tree within 200 feet to pollinate.) Sour or pie cherries are self-pollinating. Cherry trees generally take 3 to 8 years to bear fruit.

Water when the top 3 inches of soil is dry. Let the water soak slowly down to about 3 feet, at least past the root zone. Use a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) in early spring after the last chance of frost. For young trees, apply 1/2 pound per year of age. Water thoroughly before and after applying to prevent fertilizer burn to the roots, and spread fertilizer out to the plant's canopy, or drip line. I hope this info helps!

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