Serviceberry comes in both shrubs and trees, and both of them are absolutely gorgeous to grow in the garden. This article is here to give you some tips on how to grow and care for serviceberry trees. The special thing about them is that you can grow them as either shrubs or trees which is really nice. I include everything you need to know about a serviceberry tree below, so check them out.
What Is A Serviceberry Tree?
To make things easy to understand, serviceberry trees (and shrubs) are members of the Rosaceae family. This family is a huge group of roses as well as many other flowering fruiting trees and shrubs. As for the serviceberries alone, they are the deciduous shrubs that provide beautiful blooms in four seasons throughout the year. You will get to see their autumn leaves in fall, bark color in winter, and pome fruits in spring and summer.
The special thing about the flowers of the serviceberries is that they attract birds, butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden. When the flowering months come, you will see them coming to feed on the nectar and pollen from the flowers. As June approaches, the blossoms will offer sweet juicy berries that also attract birds like bluebirds, finches, mockingbirds, and more. Having serviceberries on your properties simply makes the area more cheerful and lively with the company from pretty birds and insects.
Serviceberry trees have the reputation of being amazing and valuable host trees to a wide variety of wildlife species. More than that, these trees also provide delicious fruits for both animals and humans. Their berries are edible, and they resemble blueberries in color and size but taste sweeter. You can eat them raw or use them for jams, jellies, and pies which is so nice. With so many benefits, serviceberries are among the most popular native plants to grow.
9 Serviceberry Shrub & Tree Species
Serviceberry or Juneberry comes with varieties that you can choose for your gardens or homes. We are going to talk about some of the gorgeous species that you might find perfect for your available spots. There will be 9 of them below so take a look and let’s see which one you like the most.
This species is a small tree that provides various beauty and interests in all four seasons throughout the year. In spring, you will see their white flowers that will turn orange-red when fall approaches. As for late summer, the purplish-black fruit will appear to attract birds to your gardens and homes. The beauty remains even in winter, thanks to the striking gray bark of the tree trunks.
Allegheny Serviceberry is a small deciduous tree that grows up to 25 feet when mature. You can plant them in either partial sun or shady areas, as long as they receive 4-6 hours of daily light. This serviceberry species loves moist and well-drained soil, but it can also tolerate alkaline and clay soils. They attract birds, insects, pollinators to your home, and they will turn the atmosphere to be so gorgeous and lively.
The combination of pink and white flowers with beautiful fragrances makes this species one of a kind. It smells nice, and it attracts pollinators which makes your garden a place for useful insects to hang out in. Besides the pretty look, Apple Serviceberry also provides edible berries both cooked and raw. The berries are safe to consume by both animals and humans, so these trees are safe to have at home. You can use their berries to make jams and jellies, or you can dry them for later consumption.
Since it is a shallow-rooted plant, you should add a layer of mulch to conserve moisture and keep the soil temperature moderate. The unique thing about Apple Serviceberry is that it grows as a multi-stemmed shrub or tree. As a tree, you will need to remove the root suckers regularly to deter a shrubby appearance. In case you want to leave it as a multi-stemmed shrub, then pruning is not necessary. Apple Serviceberry fits in any landscape, and it complements your area with both beauty and grace.
This is a hybrid species that makes an excellent landscape shrub due to its clusters of beautiful white flowers. The blooms are so large and they blossom in early spring, showing off the magnificent beauty in the middle of the garden. As for the foliage of the tree, it is dark green and it will turn burgundy in spring. When late spring approaches, the tree produces purple berries that will last all the way to early summer.
The tree grows up to 20 feet tall when mature, and it does best in full sun to partial shade. It is a low-maintenance tree that only requires pruning once in late winter which is so easy to care for. You can have these serviceberries as accent trees or for general garden uses, and they look amazing.
When it comes to the most beautiful serviceberries, Canadian Serviceberry has to be on the list. It is a large multi-trunked shrub or a small understory tree that grows in clumps with multiple branches full of flowers. Either way, this plant attracts birds pollinators with their graceful blooms in mid-spring and delicious fruits in early summer. The edible berries that it produces are blue-black, and you can use them in jams, jellies, and pies. Plus with the green foliage, it looks amazing pretty much anywhere you grow it.
A Canadian Serviceberry loves full sun to partial shade, and it grows well in moist and well-drained acidic soils. At the same time, it is also adaptable to both dry and wet sites as well as various soil types. If you want their berries to grow at their best, plant them in an area with full sun. The nice thing is that they are easy to care for due to their low-maintenance growth. Not to mention that they are disease-free and pest-free, this species is perfect to have.
As one of the shrubs to flower in spring, Common Serviceberry is also among the most popular species to grow. The moment the ground starts to thaw, these serviceberries will begin to bloom. This pretty multi-trunked shrub or small tree can grow up to 15 feet tall or larger in the wild. The special thing about Common Serviceberry is the white flowers that grow in drooping racemes. On top of that, its young leaves have soft woolly hairs that are absolutely unique yet beautiful to look at. They also attract birds and pollinators with their clusters of blooms and sweet berry-like fruits.
Just like some serviceberries, this species also form root suckers. You can leave them if you want them to be a shrub or prune them if you want to maintain the tree look. However, make sure to prune them once in the fall to prevent the root suckers to form a small colony. Fall is the best time to prune in order to avoid excessive loss of sap. You can grow them in a wide range of areas as accent plants, screening hedges, or shade trees.
You can easily recognize this species of serviceberry due to its vibrant reddish branchlets which stand out completely. Along with the unique color, it also has clusters of stunning star-shaped white flowers that bloom in spring. At the same time, there are also purple-black berries that emerge and attract birds to your garden or lawn. People love to grow them mainly because of their unique color and the highly ornamental fruits that they produce.
Pick a location with full sun to partial shade for the best flower and fruit productions. As a low-maintenance shrub, growing and taking care of one of these is so easy and simple. You can just prune it in late winter once, and that is it. You can plant them in various landscape applications such as hedges, mass planting, screening, and they are great for general garden use.
While a majority of serviceberries provide four-season interests, Saskatoon Serviceberry offers only three seasons of beauty and interest. You will get to see its gorgeous white blooms in spring that flourish with a sweet fragrance in spring. The flowers attract butterflies and pollinators to your garden, making it so lively and natural. When summer comes, the juicy purple berries will emerge to attract birds of various species in your area. The bluish-green leaves will turn to shades of orange, red, and yellow in fall, transforming the garden into a wonderful vibe.
Similar to other serviceberries in the family, this species also like full sun to partial shade. It also grows well in moist and well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Add a light dressing of manure in fall is a nice addition to keep the root system of the tree healthy. Caring and maintenance are rather simple since you won’t need to do anything besides the yearly pruning.
If you love large flowers, then this serviceberry species is the type that you should go for. Snow Mespilus is a serviceberry species with the largest flowers in the family, and they look absolutely incredible. The clusters of white flowers start to bloom in mid-spring, showing off their slight fragrance as the wind blows. These flowers are not only beautiful but also attractive to both our eyes and the pollinators. When early summer comes, the tree will produce small round berries with dark purple or red colors. Those berries are edible but not so tasty to us; however, birds love them.
Snow Mespilus can grow up to 20 feet tall, and it is an amazing ornamental shrub that offers beauty all year long. Grow them in a spot with full sun or partial shade with moist and well-drained soils. Another great thing about them is that they are low-maintenance, and these trees are also disease-free and pest-free. This makes them perfect as hedges, screens, and specimen plants which is super nice to have at home.
As you probably can tell by the name, Utah Serviceberry is a serviceberry species native to Utah. It is a large shrub or small tree with clumps of branches with an average height of about 15 feet when mature. The pretty thing about this tree is the flowers with white petals that grow in tiny clusters. These gorgeous blossoms will bloom in early spring, turning the entire plant snowy white which is absolutely stunning to look at. The flowers will flourish from April all the way to June, making your garden extremely magnificent.
Growing and caring for this serviceberry species is also easy and simple, especially after it is established. It grows best in coarse to medium well-drained soils, and it needs moist soil to grow. With full sun, the tree will produce delicious fruits that attract birds to your garden and home. Even the foliage of the tree is useful because domestic livestock and wildlife can feed on it. Utah Serviceberry trees are scattered throughout the state, especially in arid areas like canyons, foothills, and rocky places.
How To Grow Serviceberry Trees
The great thing about serviceberry trees is that they are so easy to grow, and you won’t have to do much. One of the first things that you should know about them is that they grow better and faster in the fall. If you choose to grow them in spring, the plants will take longer to become established and require more water also. Let’s take a look and see the steps on how to grow serviceberry trees below.
- The first thing to do is dig out the planting hole for your serviceberry tree. You want to loosen the soil deeply before digging so that the roots of the shrubs or trees can establish. Its size should be at least twice bigger than the size of the root ball, this is to leave some room for growth.
- Then put some compost or fertilizer into the soil, choose the ones with long-term organic effect. This is to ensure that the young plants receive all the nutrients that they need during their first growing stage.
- Take the shrub from the pot and place it in the middle of the hole that you dig. Make sure that the depth of the hole is about the same depth as the pot the plant comes in.
- Once you put the plant in place, fill the hole then water it.
Serviceberry Tree Growing & Maintenance Tips
- Plant serviceberry trees in moist and well-drained soils from spring to early fall.
- You can plant them as a border or along the property lines, paths, or walkways. They make great privacy screens and windbreaks also.
- When planting, space each shrub or tree around 12 to 15 apart from each other for a neat look. You can also group the trees closer together if you want to form a thicket.
- Serviceberry trees flower and fruit best in full sun, and they tolerate some shade also. Cover the trees with netting to protect them from birds if you want to harvest the berries in summer. The harvest time is between June and August, and you can tell by the dark coloration of the fruits.
- Remove dead, diseased, and broken branches from the base regularly to keep the area clean. This is also to prevent bugs and insects from attracting to the dead branches or leaves to avoid invasion.
Serviceberry Trees Care & Maintenance Tips
Serviceberry trees are very easy to grow, and things are the same with the caring and maintenance of these trees. Just like other trees, all you need to do is provide them with what they need to thrive. We are talking about light, soil, water, and other relevant things that aid their growth. Some of the most important factors that you should focus on are all below so check them out.
Fertilizer is necessary for young plants, and older serviceberry trees will not need fertilization, so you can leave them be. In spring, feed your young serviceberries with compost or tree plant food. This is to aid their growth while making them healthy at the same time. However, do not be too generous with the fertilizer; once a year is enough for the plants. Apply once ins spring, and that will suffice the entire year. Use a long-term organic fertilizer to provide long-term nutrients without the risks of over fertilization. Fertilization is crucial during the first and second years, and you won’t have to give them anything when they mature.
You want your serviceberry trees to be in full sun if you want them to provide both flower and fruit productions. They also thrive in light shade, so you can plant them with larger trees or at the end of the yard. These trees will live with partial shade, but the full sun makes them grow at their best. Generally, serviceberry trees need at least 4 hours of direct sun each day.
Serviceberry trees are one of the trees in the garden that need mulch for additional growth and support. You can spread a layer of mulch that is around 3 inches over their root zone. You can use bark mulch or wood chips as mulch, and either of them is very easy to find. Doing so helps to regulate soil temperature while holding moisture at the same time. This does not only makes the trees grow better but also healthier which is a total plus.
When it comes to ornamental shrubs and trees, pruning is one of the things that you will have to do. The thing is that serviceberries rarely need pruning, but you need to because these trees grow suckers. You should trim the trees when they are young because it is easier to shape them that way. What you need to do is prune the rook suckers when they appear, and you have to do it every year. This is to maintain the tree form and keep their appearance checked as they grow. Without the annual trimming, the plant will have a shrubby growth habit which is not easy to care for.
So when is the time to prune your serviceberry trees? Make sure to prune them immediately after flowering which is in April all the way through June. Do it before July because that is when the trees begin to set buds for next year. Once you make a pruning schedule for every year like so, your serviceberries will look amazing as they mature.
Serviceberry trees grow best in acidic soil that is both fertile and moist, so make sure to provide them with that. Another thing to have in mind is the pH level of the soil should be between 5.5 and 7.0. Serviceberry trees can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions even clay and sandy ones, but they love well-drained soil. So if you are able to provide them with the best soil quality, their growth will also be at its best for you.
Watering is always one of the most tricky parts of growing trees and other plants. Things are the same with serviceberry trees, and here is what you should know about them. With these trees, you want to keep their root ball moist during the first year until they are well-established. After that, the trees will be drought-tolerant, so watering does not have to have as frequent as the first year.
Just make sure to water them when the temperature gets extremely hot in summer so that the soil won’t be too dry. Even if they are hardy, leaving the soil dry for too long can make the trees become stressed. So water them occasionally and more frequently on hot days, and you are good to go.
How To A Propagate Serviceberry Tree
You can easily expand the collection of your serviceberry trees at home, and that is through propagation. There are quite a few ways that you can use to propagate them, and the decision is all yours to make. I am going to introduce you to the 3 most common methods that you can use to propagate a serviceberry tree. Let’s see which one you find the most interesting and appropriate for you.
One of the most common ways to propagate a serviceberry tree is by cutting the roots from the plant. The good thing about root cuttings is that it is an easy and fast method that anyone can do. Simply follow a few steps below, and you are ready to propagate your next serviceberries right from home.
- Look for root sections with smaller roots attached, and cut them for your propagation purposes.
- Make sure to keep them fresh so put the roots in a pot of fresh potting soil right away. This is to avoid them from drying out before you plant so that they will grow healthily.
- Leave your pot in an area with proper airflow and sunlight, and water it regularly. There will be small tree approaches, and they will be ready to be planted when the next growing season comes.
For those who want to propagate a serviceberry tree in a tree form, choose this method. Growing a serviceberry tree from a seed is so easy and simple, and its growth is also beautiful. Among the 3 methods, growing serviceberries from seeds is probably the easiest way that you can try. And it begins with the fruit that you collect from your existing serviceberry trees.
- Collect the fruits from your serviceberries in early summer when they are ripe. You can tell that the fruits are ready when they are fully colored.
- Then separate the seeds from the fruit, and you can do so by using a blade to cut them. It is a very easy and fast way to remove the seeds from the fruits.
- Dry the seeds on a sheet of newspaper for several days, or you can store them in airtight containers.
- Plant the seeds in late fall in full sun or partial shade at a depth of ¼ inch. Make sure to water them regularly, especially during dry spells. Germination may take as long as 18 months, and its growth rate depends on the species.
Tips: You can also scarify them by putting them in a medium that is filled with peat, perlite, and vermiculite. In this case, you should plant them in spring, and germination takes a similar amount of time as regular seeds.
As you have read about serviceberries above, these plants produce so many root suckers. You can take that advantage and use them to propagate and duplicate your trees, and it is so easy to do. There will be plenty of suckers at the base of the shrubs or trees, and here’s what you should do.
- Carefully probe the soil around the suckers, look for the ones with roots attached to the base of the plant. Cut them, then remove debris from the base of the plant. This is to get rid of rust or scab in case there is any.
- Put a tag on each sucker with the date of cutting, then plant it in a pot of fresh potting soil. Remember to plant it in the same depth and soil level as where you found it from.
- Place the pots in an area with proper sunlight and water them regularly. When the next year’s growing season approaches, your little suckers will be ready for you to plant in the garden.
Serviceberry trees are both ornamental and stunning to have, and they are also easy to care for. With them at home, you will be able to create a lively atmosphere with birds, pollinators, and more. Not to mention that their fruits are edible and useful; these trees provide so many benefits. You can have them as hedges or privacy screens while their gorgeous flowers complement the entire area with grace. Serviceberry trees are amazing, and you will not regret planting them on the perimeter of your home.