The idea of planting seeds and watching it turn into a fruit producing cherry tree is and intriguing but unrealistic idea. The pits from the cherries you buy at the grocery store come from grafted trees. The trees are made from two different varieties and their seeds will not produce fruits, so lets take a look at just what you can do with those seeds.
The first step is to determine which kinds of cherries to use. The cherries you buy in the store do not necessarily come from your area. One thing all states have is a cooperative extension service. Contact them about what cherries grow in your area and what types of trees can be grafted together. If it turns out that cherries will not grow in your area, try planting the seeds indoors. You have a good chance of growing a tree that can eventually be large enough to transplant into a container that can go outside in the summer and inside in the winter. No fruit, but you will for sure have a conversation piece.
Give the seeds a good wash. Leave them on paper towels for a few days until they are all dry. Cherry pits need to chill before they are planted, so put the dry seeds in loosely covered jars and leave them in a refrigerator at 40 degrees F for anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks. Next, mix the seeds with dampened peat moss and set them to chill again
The seeds will be ready to go outside once all danger of frost has passed. Plant each seed to a depth that is twice as deep as the size of the seed and cover them with sand. Keep them just moist, not wet and the waiting game begins.
Many types of fruit trees give different options for grafting . Not so with cherry trees. The recommended grafting method is budding. Timing is of the essence with budding. It has to be done in mid summer when the buds are fully formed. Cut a branch from the tree you are going to graft to your tree. Make sure it is about the with of a pencil and has the live buds. Keep them wrapped in moist burlap until ready to graft. On the other tree, select one of the branches and at a point about 15 inches from the trunk, make a T cut just across the bark. Use a knife or bark separator to gently lift up the corners and loosen the bark. Insert the other stick into the slot and wrap around with rubber strips, electrician’s tape, or adhesive tape. Check out the University of Michigan for detailed pictures of the whole process.
This is a big job and it is time consuming as well. It is a lot easier to buy a tree that will produce fruit a lot faster, but it is an interesting experiment and a good lesson in biology. Think about planting the seeds as a classroom or Boy or Girl Scout project.
Sources: University of Michigan
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