I planted a cherry seed this summer and I have a tiny tree. It's maybe four inches tall and six inches wide. I planted it in a wooden box so it drains well and I watered it every day.

What should I do to protect my tree for the winter? Should I leave it in the wooden box? After all the leaves fall, should I bury it in mulch? Since it's in a wood box, I'm going to assume that the whole thing is going to freeze through when it gets cold.

2 Answers 2


Depends where you are and where your box is , and what kind of cherry. In northern IL the biggest danger would be rabbits if they can get to the box. Sour cherries are relatively cold hardy and would be good outside with some mulch in IL. Sweet cherries are less cold hardy. And since you grew it from a pit, the tree may be different from the fruit you had.

  • What do you mean the tree maybe different from the fruit? It was a supermarket-bought cherry.
    – mj_
    Sep 4, 2021 at 19:15
  • The flower that produced the cherry you had ,may have been pollinated by a different variety. That has no affect on the particular fruit but it does affect the seed. Some fruits are routinely crosspollinated to increase production but I can't remember if cherry is one of them. Sep 5, 2021 at 0:10

I'd protect it with a cylinder made from hardware cloth (3/8" galvanized mesh screen). Use twist-ties to attach one end of the cloth to the other (to form the cylinder), then add a stake and use twist-ties to attach the cylinder to the stake. Pile mulch on the outside and you're good to go. You can keep this up year-round. Unlike the plastic sleeves that you can buy, this won't harbor insects or allow fungus to grow. It also, of course, doesn't use plastic.

Photos of hardware cloth are here.

  • So just a fabric cylinder around the plant? Will the cold affect the plant? I'm in Chicago.
    – mj_
    Sep 4, 2021 at 19:16
  • Not a fabric cylinder - hardware cloth is galvanized steel mesh. Yes, it's a very odd name for a steel product. I added a link to photos to my answer. I'm in Wisconsin and use this without any issues on hardiness or sunscald.
    – Jurp
    Sep 4, 2021 at 22:34
  • What about wheeling my box into the (unheated) garage? That would protect it from rabbits and keep it a tad warmer.
    – mj_
    Sep 7, 2021 at 12:14
  • A garage could work, but it's essential that once the soil freezes it remain frozen until the end of the winter. Frost heave caused by thawing during a sunny day (as the garage heats up a bit because of the sun coming through the windows) and then freezing at night easily damages roots and could kill the tree. You could wait until the ground freezes, then place the box (if it's small enough), into a box lined with newspaper or packing peanuts - the idea is to insulate it from thawing. A potential problem with this is that rodents like to nest in these, and could strip the bark.
    – Jurp
    Sep 7, 2021 at 12:32

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