Gyekis Forest Management

  Black Cherry
   Economic Value
   Growing Conditions
   Planting Instructions

Black Cherry Seedling Planting Instructions

Select an open site that has plenty of sunshine. Black cherry seedlings will survive in the shade of other trees but will not grow. In open land (not shaded) they can grow at a rate of 4 to 5 feet a year, soon reaching sapling and pole stages, shading out all other competing vegetation.

American black cherry trees will grow well on most soils but not in poorly drained (wetland) soils or extremely dry (desert) soils. If a site is too wet for typical agricultural uses, then it will not permit easy black cherry seedling establishment.

Remove all wild saplings and large wild tree seedlings from the planting area - to insure the black cherry seedlings receive most of the available sunlight, water, and nutrients. Seedlings should be planted 8 to 10 feet apart - to force them to grow straight and naturally prune their own limbs (side limbs die off as tree grows taller, thus improving tree's vertical growth rate and crown vigor). When black cherry trees reach large pole-size ( 6 to 9 inch diameters) they can be gradually thinned back to 16 to 20 feet apart.

If planting seedlings in a grassy/weed-infested field, either remove the sod layer (2 feet diameter) at each seedling location or pre-treat the sod/weeds/ferns with a mild ecologically safe herbicide such as Roundup (made by Monsanto Inc). Wait at least one week after herbicide application before planting black cherry seedlings. An alternative to herbicide treatment would be to have the soil disked. This treatment will break up the sod mat and turn it over, thus giving the seedlings a head-start against their nutrient robbing competitors.

black cherry seedling

If hungry deer are abundant, consider installing a high-tensile electric fence to keep them from heavily browsing the seedlings. Inexpensive electric fence equipment can be obtained at nearly any farm supply store. Keep in mind, though, that a high-tensile electric fence can take quite a bit of time to install.

Seedlings do best if planted in early spring, although they can be planted in late spring or early summer if soils are moist enough for the first several weeks. After the seedlings are planted, they require little care. They typically grow fast and become quite robust. To make the initial growth rates even faster, one can apply balanced fertilizer, but this is normally not necessary.

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