Growing cherry trees from seed is not difficult, but can take a long time. Trees grown from seed usually produces basic cherries. Hybrids, like bing or Rainier cherries, must be grafted and can usually not be grown from seed. Cherries produced on trees grown from seed are usually tart and better suited for cooking than for eating.
Gather seeds from fresh cherries and wash the seeds to remove any remaining sugary pulp. Begin gathering and preparing seeds around six months before you intend to plant outside.
Dry the seeds for several days on paper towels to remove any remaining pulp. Sugary pulp can contribute to fungal diseases in seedlings and roots.
Put the seeds in loosely sealed jars and put the jars in the refrigerator for eight to 12 weeks. The refrigerator should be around 40 degrees F.
Mix the seeds with damp peat moss and put the mixture back in the refrigerator. The moss should be damp, but not dripping wet. Keep the mixture in the refrigerator for an additional three or four months.
Plant the seeds in soil after the risk of a hard frost has passed. The seeds should be planted at twice the depth of their diameter. For example, a 1/4 inch seed should be planted a 1/2 deep. Prepare the soil with a shovel and rake. Loosen the soil and break up clumps.
Cover the soil with about a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of sand to keep it from crusting. A hard crust on the top of the soil can prevent the seedlings from sprouting.
Cover the planting area with chicken wire to keep squirrels, chipmunks, or other critters from digging up and eating the seeds.
Keep the soil moist, but not too wet. If the soil is too wet, the seeds can rot. Some varieties of cherry trees in some climates can take a year to germinate.