Cherry trees are renowned for their beautiful blossoms in spring and their sweet, juicy fruit in summer. These popular flowering fruit trees come in over 900 varieties and are grown in temperate regions worldwide. But exactly how large do these stunning trees get at maturity?
The maximum size a cherry tree reaches depends on several key factors. By understanding ideal growing conditions and providing sufficient space, you can expect your cherry tree to thrive within its natural height and width potential.
Optimal Conditions for Growth
Like most plants, to reach full mature size cherry trees need adequate sunlight, nutrients, moisture, space and appropriate growing temperatures.
Climate and Hardiness Zones
Cherry trees grow best in Hardiness Zones 5-9, with defined cold temperature tolerances.
Most varieties require chilling hours under 45°F over winter for flower and fruit production. Extreme summer heat over 90°F can inhibit growth. High humidity levels also promote disease.
Ideally aim for a climate with cool winters and warm, dry summers for your cherry tree to maximize growth potential.
Cherry trees need at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight daily. More sun exposure results in faster, stronger growth.
Without sufficient sunlight, cherry trees become spindly and produce less blossoms and fruit. Position new plantings in full sun whenever possible.
Cherry trees thrive in deep, loose, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Ideal pH range is between 6.0-7.0.
Before planting, till amendments like compost into native soil to enrich and help retain moisture. Get soil tested to determine any nutrient deficiencies needing correction.
Ongoing fertilization is recommended, especially with nitrogen-rich mixes when planting and during fruit production. This fuels plant growth and yields.
Finally, cherry trees need adequate space for root expansion and to accommodate their spread. Confined sites severely limit mature size.
When planning, research species spacing needs and consider dwarfed cultivars for small areas. Proper site selection and preparation sets up your tree for success!
Typical Mature Cherry Tree Dimensions
Now that environmental growing requirements have been covered, what are the actual expected dimensions of popular cherry tree types at maturity?
Sizes vary significantly based on cultivar genetics and growth conditions. But here are some general averages:
Sweet Cherry Trees
Probably the most widely recognized is the sweet cherry (Prunus avium).
Sweet cherry trees reach an average mature height of 15-25 feet tall, with an equal spread.
Some particularly large specimens may hit 30 feet tall by 25 feet wide under ideal conditions. Trunk diameters typically range from 1-2 feet thick when fully grown. Dwarfed sweet cherry cultivars top out around 8 feet tall on smaller rootstocks.
Sour Cherry Trees
This trees (Prunus cerasus) are slightly smaller.
Sour cherries average 10-15 feet in height at maturity, with a 10 to 15 foot spread.
Exceptionally large sour cherry trees can get 20 feet tall and wide. Trunk size is 1-1.5 feet diameter normally. Dwarf sour cherry trees mature under 10 feet tall.
Weeping Cherry Trees
Weeping cherry trees are graceful small ornamentals, with branches that cascade weeping to the ground.
Mature weeping cherry trees reach 8 to 15 feet in height, with branches spreading up to 20 feet wide.
Contorted branching structure creates impressive focal points in the landscape when they hit full size.
Ornamental Cherry Trees
Lastly, ornamental cherry tree cultivars like the Kwanzan cherry are prized for bountiful pink flower displays rather than fruit.
Ornamental cherries generally reach 15 to 30 feet at maturity, though some exotic Japanese tree cherries can grow even taller. Spread is often equal to or greater than height, extending to 25 or even 40 feet wide for the largest varieties.
Now that you know typical dimensions by type, let’s look at how large these stunning trees can potentially get!
Maximum Cherry Tree Size Potential
All cherry trees vary substantially in mature dimensions depending on variety, cultivation methods and growing conditions. Exceptionally large specimens definitely exist out there!
Accounts of massive cherry trees are often recorded in ideal climates or on fertile sites where they’ve grown undisturbed for decades.
While 25 feet tall is average, monster sweet cherry trees over 30 feet in height have been documented. The record for tallest sweet cherry is 60 feet! Similarly, spreads up to 40 feet wide occur.
Trunks can reach enormous diameters topping 5 feet thick on plus-sized cherry trees.
Sour cherries don’t get quite as gigantic. But orchard-grown trees can still hit 20 to 25 feet tall and wide given sufficient space and time.
18 inch diameter trunks have occurred on huge sour cherry specimens grown for timber.
Japanese ornamental cherry trees hold the greatest size potential.
Exceptional ornamental cherry specimens 40+ feet tall and wide have been measured in arboretums and public landscapes. Much of this impressive growth happens fast too, in just 20 years after planting. To support such large structures, ornamental cherry tree trunks may expand over 3 feet thick at ground level.
Now those are some truly giant cherry trees!
To reap ideal fruit production and regulate tree size, annual cherry tree pruning is a must.
Here are some specific pruning tips to control overgrowth:
- Thin dense interior branches for increased sunlight and airflow exposure
- Shorten excessively long limbs back to an outward facing bud
- Remove fast-growing vertical shoots that shoot up in the center
- Cut main branches and leaders back to subordinate shoots
Follow this diagram for where to make pruning cuts on cherry trees.
In terms of timing:
- Prune spring flowering cherries soon after they finish blossoming
- For fruiting cherries, prune in late winter just before bud break
- Remove crossing, damaged or dead branches anytime
Pruning frequency varies upon tree age, but 1-3 years is typical. Always sterilize cutting tools before use to avoid disease transmission.
Final Mature Cherry Tree Size Summary
In perfect growing conditions, cherry trees can become quite large at maturity ranging from:
- Sweet cherry – 30 ft tall and 25 ft wide
- Sour cherry – 20 ft tall and wide
- Weeping cherry – 15 ft tall, 20 ft wide spread
- Ornamental cherry – 40+ ft tall and wide
However, even properly cultivated trees more commonly reach:
- Sweet cherry – 15-25 ft tall and wide
- Sour cherry – 10-15 ft tall and wide
- Weeping cherry – 8-15 ft tall, up to 20 ft wide
- Ornamental cherry – 15-30 ft tall and wide
Maximum cherry tree height, spread and trunk thickness depends largely on variety, climate, soil, sunlight and available cultivation area.
By selecting the right cultivar for space limitations and providing ideal growing conditions, cherry trees can thrive within landscapes of any size!
Cherry trees are prized ornamental additions to any landscape. They come in a wide range of sizes to fit both small courtyard gardens and expansive orchards.
Miniature varieties under 10 feet are suitable for tiny areas, while full size cherry trees easily tower well over 25 feet tall and wide. The impressive scale of blossoming boughs or lush fruiting branches never ceases to delight.
With hundreds of cultivated cherry tree varieties, proper siting and growth conditions, even the grandest species can thrive while kept to appropriate dimensions.
So choose a size that best fits your space limitations. Then let the simple beauty of cherry trees grace your outdoor space for years of seasonal bloom and bounty to come.