The Stella cherry tree produces sweet, almost black fruits that are ready to harvest in midsummer. It is self-pollinating, making it an ideal choice for gardeners with limited space. Standard Stella cherry trees can reach heights of up to 16 feet, while dwarf varieties grow from 8 to 10 feet tall. The Stella cherry tree does best when planted in a location that has well-drained soil and receives at least eight hours of sunlight each day.
Dig a hole that is double the width and the same depth as the tree's root ball. Examine the roots and clip off any that are damaged.
Place the root ball into the hole at the same level it was previously growing and backfill with two-thirds of the loosened soil. Add enough water to moisten the soil well and settle it around the roots. Finish filling the hole and add enough water to saturate the top 3 to 4 inches of soil.
Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the tree, beginning 3 inches from the base of the trunk and extending to the outer tips of the canopy.
Water whenever there has been less than 1 inch of rainfall in a week during the first year after planting. Once the root system is well-established you will only need to water during very dry weather.
Prune the main stem of the Stella cherry tree back to 30 inches during the first summer after planting. This will encourage lateral growth and keep the tree from becoming too top-heavy. Thin the tree to improve air circulation by pruning the lateral branches that develop, leaving 8 to 10 inches between each.
Clip off dead or damaged branches as necessary. Trim the tips of the scaffold branches each year, during spring or early summer, to maintain even growth.
Fertilise with nitrogen in spring at a rate of 0.1 pound for every year of age. Broadcast the fertiliser around the tree, starting 1 foot from the trunk and extending out to the edge of the canopy. Do not apply more than 1 pound of nitrogen per tree.
Cover the tree with netting when cherries start to develop to keep birds from stripping the tree.
Do not plant this tree in a low-lying area where frost is likely to occur, as the blooms are easily damaged by cold.
Tips and warnings
- Do not plant this tree in a low-lying area where frost is likely to occur, as the blooms are easily damaged by cold.