Cherry Trees

Asked September 30, 2018, 1:28 PM EDT

Hello. I live in Rochester, Michigan. I'm going to attempt to plant several seed soon before winter. I have a red plum seeds and peach seeds from origin Bellaire. MI. I'd also like to attempt to plant cherries. After googling info I've decided that the plums should be fine. The peaches may possibly work. Not sure about cherries in my area. I have family friends up in Elk Rapids that cherry farm and I could get clippings or seeds from them. Looking for any advice that your willing to share. I realize it will be quite a few years before I get fruit so I'd like to do this correctly. It's my intention to plant thur seeds directly into my soil and I'll be adding black soil from Rochester SOCCRA compost . Thank you in advance for your response. Jason

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

Fruit trees are not propagated from seed. A few of the rootstocks used in stone fruit production are seedlings but those are generally for full sized trees.
Fruit trees raised from seed are different than their parents, much like peoples children are different than the parents. To get the fruit variety we want nurseries take buds from the parent trees and graft them on to rootstocks so they have a clone of the parent tree.
You will probably have good luck with seedling peaches they will probably be edible. Seedling peaches look like peaches and the eating quality is usually fair. The same may be true with the plum. Since you say they are red I assume that they are Japanese plums so the fruit color and shape may differ from the parent in fruit color and shape. All plums need pollinizer trees as a pollen source since they require a different plum's pollen to set fruit. Commercial plum orchards have 2 or more different varieties of plums growing together for cross pollination.
You do not say if you have sweet or tart cherry seeds. Tart cherries are self fruitful so I would expect the seedling to look and taste a lot like tart cherries. Sweet cherries require cross pollination so the tree and fruit can be quite different. I have seen many seedling sweet cherry trees in the woods (planted by birds after they ate cherries) and I have never seen any with good fruit size but only small cherries.
Now for planting the seeds. Before they sprout they require a cold treatment called stratification. If you plant the seed now you should see plants coming up next spring but I would expect the some may need 2 winters before they sprout.
Trees from seed go through a period of "Juvenility" when they do not bloom. Here is an article to explain the concept
Basically the young plant is Juvenile and will not bloom. After several years the new tissues produced by the plant will be mature and begin to bloom but the oldest portions of the plant which started out as juvenile tissue will always be juvenile and never bloom. This means that the outer parts of the tree will have fruit but the interior never will. The time it takes for mature tissue to develop can be 2 to 25 years depending on the plant. Generally stone fruit have relatively short periods of Juvenility, less than 5 years.
Avoiding juvenility is another reason why we graft fruit trees as we take the buds from the mature portion of the tree which has already changed from juvenile to mature tissue and can flower and bear fruit.
You could plant the seeds in small groups close together where it is easy for you to take care of the young plants and then graft them to the cultivars you want in the summer of the second year. You can replant them where you want them in the beginning of the third year and cut off the seedling above the graft.
If you want to try the peaches and the plums from seed you might be pleased with the results but I doubt you want to grow cherries from seed.