Planting height for grafted North Star cherry

I’m planning on adding my first sour cherry next spring; a North Star on Mazzard rootstock. I’ve seen recommendations suggesting that all cherries on Mazzard should have the graft union buried an inch or two below the soil level, but I’ve also seen recommendations for “dwarf and semi dwarf cherries” to keep the graft union a few inches above soil.

Since North Star is naturally dwarfing, does it matter which approach I take? Will the natural dwarfing abilities be limited by the Mazzard stock if I keep the union above ground? Or, conversely, if I bury the graft, will I lose any benefits of the Mazzard?

Any feedback from North Star growers would be appreciated!


I have a North Star will be in 3rd leaf next spring. I planted graft above ground. It’s on a well draining hillside. Don’t know the rootstock but as you said no matter the stock North Star will be tiny

I have 2 Northstar cherry trees. Both are on their own roots. My 3 year old is a seedling from my larger cherry. Northstar cherries are a bit more sour than Montmorency. I would be inclined to stick with Montmorency if you haven’t bought your tree. The Northstar cherry is smaller than Montmorency and its seed is a little smaller to. It still probably takes 3 cherries to equal 2 of the Montmorency even after pitting. Graft should always be above ground and the tree should not be any deeper than it was when dug up