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Tree Stages


The dormant period for fruit trees, including cherry trees, begins when the last leaves have fallen from the tree in the fall. It extends until spring when the buds formed the previous year begin to swell.


Buds formed the previous year tend to have a brown coloration. When the tree has left the dormancy stage, its buds begin to swell and the tips of the buds turn green, an indicator that growth has begun.


Bloom begins when the first flower opens completely. The term is commonly used to convey the fact that the majority of the buds have opened and the cherry tree is covered in open blossoms. This is the period when pollination occurs. No pesticides should be applied during the time when blossoms are open and pollinators like honeybees visit the tree.


Once the blossoms have been open for a while, the petals will begin to fall. This stage is apparent when the stems are left but virtually no petals remain on the tree.


The cherries continue to grow in size, remaining green for more than half of their development time. As they near maturity, the colors begin to change. Most cherries go from green to yellow and later to various shades of red. Some varieties stay yellow.


When cherries have reached their mature color, usually some shade of red, they are ready for harvest. The time of year varies from one variety to another and from one geographic region to another. The color, taste and texture of the fruit are the best indicators of ripeness.



For the remainder of the year, mature cherry trees do very little growing. In the fall, their leaves, like those of other deciduous trees, change colors and fall, bringing the cycle full circle. Buds for next year's blossoms begin to form at this time.

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