If your cherry pit comes from a low-chill variety and you live in a cold area, it will blossom early, only to have the fruit killed off by spring frosts. Freezing cherries with pits can also solve this problem if you plant the pits after the first few spring frosts come in. Try growing trees from seed with this variety by sprouting the pit indoors in a flower pot and then planting it outdoors once it is warmer outside.
To stratify in a refrigerator, clean the pits of any clinging flesh and let them air dry. Put them in a glass jar or plastic container with a loose fitting lid and store them in a refrigerator for 90 to 140 days at a temperature of 33 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A 41-degree temperature is ideal.
A cherry pit is a hard shell surrounding the seed. Don’t try to remove the shell to extract the seed, stratify and sow the pit.
Nurseries often sell dwarf cherry trees that are cultivars grafted onto rootstocks. The rootstock determines tree size. If you grow a tree from a pit, the tree will likely be a full-sized tree, meaning you have to give it enough space to grow. Sour cherries need 20 to 25 feet between trees. Sweet cherries need 25 to 30 feet between cherries.
You will have to make sure that in order to try freezing cherries with pits by checking what type of cherries they are, and setting a refrigerator or freezer to the required 45 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
Many people think fertilizer always helps plants and the more fertilizer the better. That is not the case with sowing a cherry pit. The pit gives the cherry seedling the nutrients it needs to get started. Seedlings cannot handle the nitrogen in fertilizers. Give a cherry seedling at least 1 year of growth before fertilizing.
You can expect to wait seven to 10 years for your tree to bear cherries. You can reduce that time by grafting your new seedling onto an existing cherry tree.
To stratify a cherry pit outdoors, sow it in a furrow no deeper than 1 to 2 times the width of the pit. Cover the pit with soil and put 1 or 2 inches of sand over that to prevent the soil from forming a crust on the soil as winter cold stratifies the seed. Do this any time after you pick the cherry, the pit won’t germinate and produce a seedling until after it has been stratified.
If a cherry tree doesn’t receive enough winter chill hours, it will develop leaves late in the spring growing season and will grow fewer buds needed for cherries the next year. They will also yield fewer cherries of poorer quality. If you get a hold of a seed late in the season, you can try freezing cherries with pits.
Using cherry seeds to grow a tree isn't difficult, but there is a specific process for having a tree that yields fruit during the spring. It's best to use a local cherry seed because not every cherry grows well in every environment. Sweet cherries need to be pollinated by nearby trees to grow well.