Cherry Fruit Guide

Sour and sweet varieties of cherries produce clusters of small, round fruits on long stems. Sweet cherries are generally deep or bright red in color, the exception being the yellowish hues of Rainier cherries, and sour cherries are often brighter shades of red.

How to Care for Cherry Trees


When pruning, be careful not to remove the short spurs growing off the branches, as those are the part of the tree that bears fruit. We offer fruit tree pruning January through March in Salt Lake County.


Fertilize yearly in the spring when the trees are in bloom. We offer compost tea fertilizing for fruit trees and gardens. Compost tea has many benefits, some of which are improved plant growth and increased nutrient retention.



Young trees need extra water to grow, while all fruit trees need additional water during periods of hot, dry weather. Thoroughly soak the soil around your fruit trees every other week. Mulching around the base of your tree can help retain soil moisture as well.



Cherries will not ripen off of the tree; they must be picked ripe. When picking cherries, leave the stems attached to the fruit to maintain freshness longer.

Cherries are ready to harvest when…

  • The fruit is plump and juicy and has reached its full color.
  • The stems detach from the branches easily.
  • Sweet cherries taste sweet.

Schedule a Harvest with Us!

A good time to schedule a harvest is when the stems detach from the branches easily. We cannot harvest if...

  • The load is too low. Must be at least 50 lbs of fruit.
  • The fruit is overripe.
  • There is too much pest damage to the fruit.

Disease & Pest Control


Image taken from Farm & Ranch, The Bug Box.

Western Cherry Fruit Fly

The most common pest afflicting both sour and sweet cherries in Utah is the western cherry fruit fly. Damage from this pest can be seen in the photos on the right. Though cherries can still be eaten and/or processed with minor presence of this pest, too much damage can render the fruit inedible and unable to be donated.  Sign up for our pest control service hereFor more information on the western cherry fruit fly and on other minor pests that may affect your cherry tree, click here.

Storage Tips

  • Store ripe cherries uncovered in the refrigerator and use within a week. Wash and remove stems just before use/eating.
  • Cherries can also be dried, frozen, or canned. Click here for more information on preserving cherries.

Join the volunteer team!

We love our volunteers and would love to have you join us! There are many ways you can volunteer–from picking fruit to helping in a garden to sitting on a committee.