How not to plant a cherry tree

The Victorians used to tell their children cautionary tales to warn them to avoid incorrect behaviour.  I see merit in this as often when you are shown the correct procedure performed by experts it looks all too easy and can give a false sense of security.  So this post is my cautionary tale of what not to do and will make real gardeners cringe.

When planting trees it should be remembered that they have a tendency to grow and produce branches which in turn will become entangled with other trees if they are planted too close together.  Makes sense?

The move begins

The cherry tree was much too close to the large plum tree which also serves as a parasol for our table when we eat outside in the summer.

Up rooted cherry tree

A trench was dug around the condemned tree and its anchoring roots were severed with a chain saw.  All that was left was to lever it out of the hole.  Problem – even with my not negligible (?) strength we could not move it.

Take a length of rope...
Take a length of rope…

The only option was to attach the base of the tree to the back of the car and move off gently.

The car moves off
The car moves off

The car moved forward, the rope became taut – and then broke.  Ah, yet another root was cleverly hiding and  holding the root tightly in place.  The last root was cut by the chain saw.


Some more rope – and we have lift out!


Once the tree was successfully uprooted  it looked a long way to take it to its new home.  Energy levels were fast depleting (coffee time was approaching) so the car was called upon again to take up its new multi-tasking activity as part-time tractor.

Stop, you're in position!
Stop, you’re in position!

A bit of ungentle persuasion and the cherry tree was happily(?) ensconced in its new position.  We gave it a good watering and luckily it rained all the next day.

Extra support
Extra support

The cherry tree is now supported by two stout poles to stabilise it while it grows more roots.  It had a few days of respite but then it has had to deal with a sharp frost and cold spell.

It will be interesting to see if survives its manhandling but it will be springtime before there could be signs of life and next summer will be the true test and struggle for survival.

19 thoughts on “How not to plant a cherry tree

  1. I’m envious of all the space you have for an orchard! I would recommend skaking the tree lower (closer to the ground); the wisdom is that the roots and rot ball are held firmly but that the upper tree can move and so strengthen. Fingers crossed for you than it lives. Christina


    1. Christina, whilst I agree withy you re: staking the tree lower, that really only refers to young bare-rooted trees that are less than three years old and less than five foot tall to the tip of the leader. This specimen is a size that one would regard as a “standard with rootball” as the minimum.
      Amelia has staked this tree correctly for the first two years from a transplant of this nature… this needs following up by a sling system from years two to six… three posts at equilateral points round the tree… the posts connected to each other to make a trivet shape [rather like a school laboratory bunsen burner tripod]… wide hessian straps are then looped to the uprights tightly around the tree so that the tree is firmly supported in three equal directions. Care is then needed to make sure that the straps are adjusted each year [undone and redone] to allow for tree girth expansion… after year six it is always worth just loosening the straps so that they will catch the tree in strong winds and leaving the frame in place until it rots!
      Amelia, bonne chance… that is a pretty good root bal and cherries normally grow away fast. This coming year, pick ALL flowers that you can reach…. this should force it to put out sucker roots… further strengthening your planting.


  2. Thank you and best wishes to you in 2013. As far as the fruit goes everyone was disappointed this year with their garden produce, we think because of the long, dry spring that stretched into summer. At least no-one had any gluts and there was enough for any jam and compote that we needed. Perhaps 2013 will be fruitful.


  3. Oh, poor cherry tree! I was wincing all the way through this post, but enjoying it too in a strange kind of way. ;). It reminded me of the time when we had to remove an amelanchier in an even less dignified way. Could be the subject for a post, when amelanchier season is upon us.


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