How to Grow Serviceberries

Like roses, serviceberries (Amelanchier spp.) By another name — plus they have many — could smell just as sweet. Also called shadbushes, shadbow and mountain blueberries, serviceberries bloom in early spring across U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 though 8. Their snow-white, fragrant spring blooms yield edible, blue summer berries. Use the fruit from preserves and baked products, and enjoy watching the blue-green leaves brighten to fall’s yellow, orange and red before dropping to reveal the serviceberries’ red-tinged, silver-gray winter bark.

Plant serviceberry trees in always moist, well-drained land with an acidic-to-neutral pH between 5.5 and 7.0. Plants receiving six or more hours of daily sun flower and fruit heavily, but serviceberries also function well in partial shade, with four to six hours of sunlight.

Space serviceberries at a distance equivalent to one-half their adult spreads. An Allegheny serviceberry’s canopy, by way of instance, reaches around 10 feet across. Planting these trees 5 feet apart means they’ll create nearly continuous shade when adult. To distance varieties of different widths, utilize one-half the sum of their adult canopies’ measurements. Plant little cultivars, such as 4-foot alderleaf serviceberry “Regent” (A. alnifolia “Regent “), 1 1/2 feet apart to make a hedge.

Water serviceberries when the top 3 inches of soil feel dry to the touch during their first two years after planting. Established plants are relatively drought-tolerant; water them when rainfall averages less than 1 inch per month.

Spread a 2- to 2-1/2 inch layer of organic mulch, such as chipped bark or pine needles, around the trees to discourage weeds and keep the soil moist, but never saturated. Keep the mulch away from the trunks, where an accumulation may trap water. Replenish the mulch to maintain its original thickness as it decays.

Feed serviceberries with organic 5-3-3 fertilizer in spring and autumn at the speed of 1 cup of fertilizer for every foot of branch spread. Sprinkle the food evenly around the soil beneath their driplines, where mud falls in the ends of the branches. Water well after applying to soak the fertilizer into the soil.

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