How to Properly Plant a Carolina Cherry Tree

How to Properly Plant a Carolina Cherry Tree

By Lindsey Paramore on June, 7 2018

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Lindsey Paramore

The Carolina Cherry is a heat-loving, ornamental evergreen tree that thrives in Southern and Southwestern states. The dark, glossy leaves form a dense privacy screen when grown as a hedge, making for an excellent border or street tree. Clusters of creamy white flowers in the spring give way to attractive black berries that persist through the winter, adding a unique charm to these gorgeous plants for most of the year. Though the fruit isn’t edible, it gives the tree a pleasant aroma reminiscent of maraschino cherries.

Carolina Cherry trees withstand heat, drought, and wind and are very durable once established. The key is to plant your cherry tree properly and set it up for success.

Where to Plant a Carolina Cherry Tree

While native to North Carolina and Texas, Carolina Cherry grows in hardiness zones 7 through 10. A location with full sun exposure (at least six hours per day) is best, though the tree can also grow in partial shade. Carolina Cherry also adapts well to coastal exposure and needs only occasional watering once established. Soil requirements range from sandy loam to clay loam—just make sure the soil drains well because prolonged saturation can cause root rot.

When to Plant a Carolina Cherry Tree

Late fall and early spring are the best times to plant a Carolina Cherry. Compared to summertime, the air temperature is cooler, the ground is softer, and the tree has access to higher moisture content.

How to Plant a Carolina Cherry Tree

Follow these simple instructions to ensure your Carolina Cherry has the best possible start in your yard:

  • Soak the roots in a bucket or tub of water for one to two hours. This prevents the roots from drying out while you prepare the planting hole. Avoid soaking for more than six hours. NOTE: If you purchase a potted cherry tree, don’t place it in a bucket of water, as this could cause root rot. If you can’t plant your tree immediately, place it in a sheltered location and keep the roots hydrated until you’re ready to plant.
  • Dig a deep, wide hole where you want to plant the tree. It’s vital to give the root system plenty of room to grow.
  • As you dig, place the nutrient-dense topsoil in a separate pile so you can add it to the bottom of the hole, where it will do your tree the most good. You may want to mix garden compost, aged manure, coir, or peat moss into the topsoil to provide your tree with even more nutrients.
  • Position the cherry tree in the center of the planting hole. Spread the roots down and outward, being careful not to bend them. Then, have someone hold the trunk to keep it vertical while you backfill the hole, starting with the amended topsoil. Tamp the soil down firmly as you go. Make sure the graft union (the “bump” in the lower trunk) stays 2 to 3 inches above the soil level.
  • Create a rim of soil, called a berm, about 2 inches above ground level in a circle several inches away from the tree. This helps catch and hold water near the trunk so it soaks in rather than running off and causing erosion.

How to Care for a Carolina Cherry Tree Post-Planting

Follow these tips immediately after planting your Carolina Cherry:

  • Provide a deep soaking with about a gallon of water.
  • Apply 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch around the root zone to retain moisture, discourage weeds, and prevent water pooling.
  • Depending on the size of the tree, consider staking it to help the trunk grow straight.
  • Wait a few weeks after planting to apply fertilizer to avoid stressing the sensitive roots. If you plant in the fall, wait until spring to fertilize.

Buy a High-Quality Carolina Cherry Tree for Your Yard

At Moon Valley Nurseries, we carry the “Compacta” strain of Carolina Cherry, an incredibly hardy and durable variety that makes growing this tree a breeze. Carolina Cherry “Compacta” is more densely branched and easily tamed. We guarantee the highest quality trees available, grown from only our best specimens. Due to the plant’s slow growth rate, you may want to purchase a bigger tree to take advantage of the many benefits it provides, starting on day one.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of planting a Carolina Cherry yourself, we can handle the job for you! Our professional planting services ensure success by accounting for everything from HOA standards to community-specific weather trends. With our help, your Carolina Cherry is bound to thrive for years to come.

Ready to speak with one of our professionals? Looking for more Carolina Cherry placement ideas and planting tips? Contact Moon Valley Nurseries online or visit one of our locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, or Florida.


Moon Valley Nurseries - |

Locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Florida


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