Sweet cherries are the ones most often found in markets. They have a thick, rich, and almost plumb-like texture. Sweet cherries grow in zones 5 to 7; they are self-sterile and best for an orchard or a large garden. You’ll need at least two or three trees so that they can pollinate each other. However, a recent and exciting development in sweet cherries is the dwarf self-pollinating “Stella.”
Sour cherries are not usually eaten raw, but are widely used for preserves and other cooking uses. Sour cherries are much smaller than sweet cherries and all varieties are self-fertile. They grow in zones 4 to 6.
Cherry trees generally start bearing fruit in their fourth year: dwarf trees bear fruit a year earlier. One mature, standard-size tart or sweet cherry tree will produce 30 to 50 quarts of cherries each year; a dwarf tree, about 10 to 15 quarts.