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Are Cherry Trees Self Pollinating? (Read This First!)

In mid-July, you will notice the streets and gardens surrounding you have turned pink, and the breeze is getting warmer.

The mighty cherry trees welcome spring like no other else. So, it is a common dream to have a cherry tree in your garden to welcome the warmth of spring in your life.

If you have a plan to implant a cherry tree, you should know whether cherry trees self-pollinate or not.

Because the production of fruits and capacity of a cherry tree depends on how and with what it can pollinate itself. So, let’s find out about the pollination process of cherry trees.

Are cherry trees self-pollinating?

All sour or tart cherry trees are self-pollinating. This means that they can receive pollen from the same flower or cultivar for the production of fruits. only a few varieties of sweet cherries are self-fruiting. they require cross-pollination, mostly done by honeybees, to bear fruit on them.

If your backyard contains small space for one plant only, you have to opt for the sour cherry tree so that it can bloom and blossom within itself by self-pollinating.

All sour cheery trees can transfer pollen to the same flower, to another flower of the same tree, or to another sour cherry tree of the same variation. Let’s find out whether these popular cherry trees are self-pollinating or not.

Black cherry trees:

Black cherry trees are not self-pollinating. It made its fame for pollination of sweet cherry variations. It cross-pollinates with other sweet cherry trees and produces sweet, flavorful cherries.

Bling cherry trees:

This heart-shaped, dark, deep cherry tree is not self-fruiting as well. This tree does not self-pollinate, but by pairing it with some suitable mate, it can produce a huge number of sweet, and juicy cherries per harvest season. 

Rainier cherry trees:

Rainier cherry trees produce one of the sweetest versions of cherries but unfortunately, they also do not self-pollinate. For fruition, you have to plant some other varieties to perform cross-pollination. 

Stella cherry trees:

Stella cherry trees are capable to self-fertilize, and their small dimension makes them perfect to place in a compact garden or backyard.

Van cherry trees:

Van cherry trees require a pollinizer to produce fruit since it is also not self-fruiting. It is actually a very popular variety of sweet cherry trees for cross-pollination.

Van variety goes together with rainier and black cherry varieties and together they bore the sweetest and tastiest cherries.

Barbados cherry trees:

Barbados cherry trees are self-fruiting. It is a sturdy and low-maintenance plant. It does not need another tree to produce fruits. Barbados cherry tree is a fan favorite for indoor or outdoor gardening.

Montmorency cherry trees:

Montmorency cherry trees are self-fertile. Only one tree can grow and resume growing sour or tart cherries. However, an additional pollinizer can ensure an exponential increase in number and size.

Black Tartarian cherry trees:

Black Tartarian is Self-sterile. That means it requires another variety of trees to bear and produce fruit. Usually, the pollinizers are Van, Stella, or Bling.

Dwarf cherry trees:

Dwarf cherry trees are compact in size but require a second tree as a pollinizer as it is self-sterile and can’t produce fruit of its own.

Lapin cherry trees:

Lapin cherry trees are self-pollinating. It doesn’t need a pollination partner and can produce fruit of its own.

Do you need two cherry trees to pollinate?

There are two kinds of cherry trees, Sweet and sour. While sour varieties do not require additional trees to pollinate, most of the sweet cherry trees need two or more trees to pollinate.

Without a second tree of a different variety, sweet cherry trees are unable to bear fruits.

Sour or tart cherry trees are self-pollinating. That means, the pollens can produce fruit from the same flower or the different flower of the same tree. So, one tree is sufficient to bear and produce cherry fruits.

However, to increase productivity and the number of fruits, it is advisable to plant more than one tree.

Sweet cherry trees, with some exceptions, are self-sterile and unable to self-pollinate. They require a pollinizer buddy of different varieties.

Usually, honeybees are the harbinger of pollen from one tree to another. So, for sweet varieties of cherry trees, you will need two trees to pollinate.

Can cherry trees cross-pollinate?

Most sweet varieties of cherry trees require cross-pollination to bear and produce fruits since most of them are self-sterile.

Cross-pollination happens when the pollen of a flower transfers and reforms into another flower, but the catch is that the 2nd flower must be from another plant of the same species. Most cherry trees follow this heterogamy process.

Usually, honeybees, butterflies, birds, or bats pollinate the cherry flowers by transporting pollen from flower to flower.

For cross-pollination, at least two varieties of cherry trees must be located nearby. So, to see cherry fruits on your cherry trees, you must plant another variety of trees at least 100 feet near the 1st tree.

However, cherry trees won’t be able to cross-pollinate if the pollinizer tree is not compatible with the first tree. Before planting the trees, you should test the compatibility of the pollinizer with the main cherry tree.

How to pollinate cherry trees?

Sour or tart cherries are self-fertile and can pollinate themselves without the help of another variety or tree.

When it comes to the pollination of sweet cherry trees, sometimes there might be a need for manual intervention to ensure maximum fruition and production.

Especially, when the accessibility of pollinators is hindered or compromised, you need to know how to pollinate cherry trees.

Plant a tree of different variety:

When the plant is not self-pollinating, an additional tree of a different variety is a must. First, do a compatibility test to ensure whether the two varieties will suit or not.

Then, plant the second tree at least 100 feet near the first tree. The nearer, the more chance of pollination.

Observe the blooming season:

If the variety you have is a sour cherry tree or self-pollinating sweet cherry, on a blooming season when the flower pops out, you can start to manually pollinate the flowers when they open and manifest pollens.

When two self-sterile trees are in blooming season, you must wait until both trees blossom flowers and open themselves.

Implant the pollen:

With a help of a painter’s brush or cotton pad, carefully swap the pollens from the anthers of the flower so that the grains of pollen can be seen on the implementation.

Make a connection with the stigma:

Take the pollen-filled pad or brush to the receptive stigma. Locate the shiny and sticky stigma in the center of the flower and swap the pollen to make pollination between anthers and stigma through pollen.

Repeat the process:

Until the blooming season expires, repeat the process of transferring pollen from anthers by swapping it and implanting on stigma from flowers of one tree to stigmas of another flower of the same tree of different tree of similar species.

Why is the cherry tree not producing fruit?

The cherry tree is not only for its artistic, and pinkish vibe. Rather, the attraction is towards its delicious, juicy fruits.

So, when you see your cherry tree barren during the blooming season, it is inevitable to crush your heart. So, let’s find out why cherry trees failed to produce fruit.

The tree is self-sterile:

The main reason for not producing fruit is that the variety is not self-pollinating and the option for cross-pollination is not available for bear fruits.

Lack of pollinizers or pollinators hinders the pollination process and without pollination, how can they produce fruit?

Unfavorable weather:

Environment, climate, and weather play a critical role in the production of fruits. Cherry trees can’t function in temperatures under -1 degrees Celsius. Moreover, frost and cold breezes are big reasons behind cherry trees not producing fruits.

Age of the tree:

It takes 4-5 years for a tart variety to bear fruit. And for the sweet cherry trees, the number exceeds to 4-7 years. But the dwarf varieties take two years to start producing.

And the life expectancy of a cherry tree is 15-30 years. So, when the tree reaches that mature age, it will stop producing fruits altogether.

Final thoughts

Between the two variations, sour or tart cherries are self-pollinating. It can produce fruits on its own without the intervention of another tree.  On the other hand, most of the sweet varieties require cross-pollination. It takes two varieties of trees of similar species to produce cherries.