If you want to be able to pick your cherries and eat them right off of the tree, then you're better off planting a sweet cherry variety than a sour one. One of the difficulties in planting sweet cherries is that many of the common varieties are not self-pollinating, meaning that you need to plant more than one variety of tree on your property in order to obtain fruit. If you want to have only one sweet cherry tree, then you must be careful to select a self-pollinating variety, such as one of the following:
A very hardy cherry variety, the Sunburst will typically begin producing fruit just 2 years after planting. Its cherries are dark red in color and have a very sweet flavor, making them perfect for eating when fresh. A single tree can produce plenty of fruit for a whole family to enjoy. Sunburst cherries are dwarf-sized trees, so they only reach about 6 feet in height when mature. If you're looking for a compact tree to plant in a garden bed or along a fence line, this is it. Sunburst trees grow best in full sunlight.
If you're willing to wait 4 – 7 years for your first cherry crop, then Blackgold cherries are a good choice. These trees prefer full sunlight and loamy soil, and they reach about 15 – 18 feet in height when mature. They're small enough to keep well-pruned without too much struggle, but large enough to provide a little shade. Blackgold cherries are large, red, and glossy. They are resistant to cracking, even when soils are moist, and typically ripen in mid-June.
It's a common misconception that all sweet cherries are dark red. Whitegold cherries prove this myth to be false. They have mottled yellow and blush pink skins with white flesh. The trees' disease resistance means that you can get away with spraying it less heavily and still enjoy a plentiful crop. Whitegold cherry trees are about 15 – 18 feet tall when mature and begin producing fruit when they're about 4 years old. They require plenty of sunlight to thrive.
All cherry varieties do require some care if you want them to thrive and produce bountiful crops. You'll need to have your tree pruned and sprayed every spring, and perhaps also pruned in the fall when it's young. Luckily, if you choose a self-pollinating variety, you only have to provide this care for one tree. And if you don't want to do the work yourself, you can always hire an arborist company like Lawn-Tech, Ltd.