what serviceberry to buy

vonyonMarch 14, 2004

Anyone have any suggestions for serviceberrries? I am creating a mixed border, and I have a variety of soil types. I have heard that some types can be leggy. I am looking for a couple of different varieties, but have no experience with them. Any advice would be helpful.

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roseunhip(z5b QC)

Amelanchier canadensis or A. laevis (both preferring slighlty acidic soil) tend to grow leggy, either as small tree or as a shrub. I also have A. alnifolia (Saskatoon serviceberry, prefers more neutral soil), that grows very differently, as a shrubby bush, 8-9 ft tall, with lots of suckers. Simply beautiful, with the most delicious berries of the genus I gather!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 8:54PM
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vonyon

Rose, would the saskatoon be very invasive because of the suckers. If so, I will just leave loads of room. I think we have very acidic soil here.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 10:40PM
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roseunhip(z5b QC)

My book says it is tolerant of acidic soils. You might double-check on the Net. It suckers quite a bit in my more alcaline soil, but these always seem to run on the very top layer, so they might be easy to contain with a barrier.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2004 at 7:33AM
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vonyon

Thanks for the suggestions Rose. I'm not too worried about the suckering. I have plenty of space, but I don't want one thing to take over the whole border. I have lots of plans at the moment.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2004 at 7:01AM
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northeastwisc(4)

Running serviceberry (Amelanchier stolonifera) is another one that you might want to consider. It stays small (4 - 6 ft) and is supposed to have tasty fruit. Like A. alnifolia, it does sucker, so it would require some attention in that respect.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2004 at 12:32AM
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vonyon

thanks for the suggestions!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2004 at 5:27PM
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Wizard_of_Noz(Z4 WI)

Can someone please tell me how fast Saskatoon Serviceberry grows?

Thanks!

Robin

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 1:53PM
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roseunhip(z5b QC)

Although my books say "averagely fast", I would say pretty fast instead, at least one foot a year. They like a good loamy soil mixed with sand.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 3:20PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

From my experience, Regent Serviceberries flower very small and are quickly very productive. I had planted 4 large sized Regent shrubs in 2002. In the spring of 2003 they flowered and fruited like crazy. But I wanted more Serviceberries so I made a new garden bed and planted seven small Regents that I was able to find at a local Nursery. They were just potted up sticks about 8 inches tall when I bought them. Put on growth nicely during the summer last year. This Spring every one of the seven littler guys is loaded with blossums on the small shrubs. The larger Regents are even more full of blossums than last year so I can't praise the Regent variety enough!!
I have Honeywood and Smokey varieties that I planted as nice sized shrubs in Fall of 2002 that are also going to be blooming this spring. Not anywhere near the number of blooms that the Regents have. The Graniflora hybred Serviceberry I also planted in the summer of 2002, at the same time as the Regents flowered alittle last year but this year is loaded with blooms almost ready to open. They will be the first serviceberry to bloom in my yard, as they were last year.

The potted up little guys haven't broken dormancy yet. Those were the Allegheny Serviceberry that were selling as 6 inch seedlings from Oikos Tree Crops I bought last Spring. But I also put in 12 of the Northern Juneberry (A. gaspensis) from Oikos last year that were really small. They are leafed out this spring but no blooms yet. Didn't really expect them to bloom but hoping for next spring.

A local nursery I like to go to has Serviceberry 'Rainbow Pillar' and 'Robin Hill' listed on their website that they will have this year. Going to check them out. It's the same nursery that I got the small Regents locally last year.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2004 at 7:05PM
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roseunhip(z5b QC)

And BTW, this "Regent" variety is also an Amelanchier alnifolia, so same species than the Saskatoon serviceberry!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2004 at 8:29PM
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vonyon

Rose and Rita: Thanks for all the info. The Regents sound great. I have a few on order from St. Lawrence Nursery so maybe I made a good choice. I talked to the guy there and he said that those were the best choice of alnifolia that would tolerate the acid soil here. I hope so as they sound wonderful.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2004 at 9:38PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

So far the Regents are my favorite Serviceberry. Mine have set fruit heavily and I have been eating the fruits right off the shrubs for afew days now. So have the birds!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 12:31PM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

The canadian and running serviceberry also have delicous berries better than blueberries . 2 of my neighbors tried the berries and loved them! Sarah

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 10:23PM
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vonyon

Sarah, I just bought and planted both, so I'm glad to hear that.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 6:41AM
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goingwild(z5 PA)

I planted two Regents last fall,which I ordered from Forest Farm, and they seem happy and healthy. I ammended the soil a bit, because I have somewhat compacted acid clay. They both blossomed and fruited.T he birds seemed to have missed the fruits, so I ate them instead . They were really tasty.

I also planted a Prince William (Amelanchier Canadensis)which developed rust, and a running serviceberry (Amelanchier Stolonifera)which is also doing well in a partly sunny location.The berrys aren't as good though.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 2:34PM
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christie_sw_mo(Z6)

The leaves got completely eaten off of my Amelanchier canadensis over the summer which was disappointing. I see amelanchiers recommended so much for beauty. Mine are too young to set fruit but I'm hoping I don't have to spray them to get berries.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 11:32AM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

I planted several different ones and got fruit on two and three didn't fruit at all. I think they are prone to rust like crabapples. But I am really glad I planted them. I wouldn't spray them though. Sarah

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 11:54AM
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vonyon

Christie: I found out of the hundreds of young shrubs in my border, amelanchier are the favorite of rabbits. They started on one and when I caged that they moved on to another type, so I ended up having to cage them all. Good luck to you.

Sarah, I think if you have serviceberries near cedars you will get rust. Do you have cedars near them? I think it is spread by the cedar gall.....from what I understand which is fairly little. It might give you something to start your research from though.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 3:43PM
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vonyon

Oh, I forgot to mention that I ended up buying all sorts of varieties of serviceberries. I bought mostly straight species (canadensis), then I bought running serviceberry, Regents, Autumn Brilliance, Success. When I talked to St. Lawrence Nursery, they suggested that my soil would be better with the larger canadensis than the shorter alnifolia type. We have more of an acid soil.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 3:49PM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

I have two eastern red cedars in my back yard the serviceberries are in the front. Although the one stolonifera and canadensis closest to the eastern red cedars bloomed and produced fruit But the stolonifera, arborea, laevis furthest away did poorly. Vonyon I'm glad you got different varieties I'm sure you will be happy with all of them. Christie probably should get the alnifolia since it's a midwestern serviceberry and I think the soil out in the midwest is more alkaline from the limestone.or maybe amend the soil with peat moss. Sarah

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 7:30PM
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johnCT(Z6 CT)

The two Autumn Brilliance I bought this spring from St Lawrence are doing very well and look very healthy. I'm looking forward to next year's growth.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2004 at 1:30PM
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vonyon

John, I too like the Autumn Brilliance. I'm looking forward to them all in the spring. I bought quite a few shrubs from SLN. They were all small when I got them, but they have done quite well. I think that is their claim to fame. I believe the work hard on the roots and then feel the plant will be stronger in the long run. The only thing that worries me about buying from them at the moment is that viburnum beetle.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2004 at 5:24PM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

That's a scary thing. I think it prefers the arrowood more so than the other viburnums I might be wrong though. Sarah

    Bookmark   November 18, 2004 at 9:32PM
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roseunhip(z5b QC)

To sarahbn:
Some years, here in Montreal, it did terrible damages to V. trilobums, including mine. Now I don't know if it was my regular treatments with Safer soap for the usual aphids, or some other causes unknown to me, but my trilobum has been free of any viburnum beetle damage for two summers in a row now. And there still WAS damage in the City's plantations, as well as in my own arrowood.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 9:18AM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

Thanks for the info roseunhip. I have three trilobums and three arrowwoods I lost one of the arrowoods and one of the three trilobums is doing poorly I didn't see any beetles though. So I don't know for sure if thats what killed the arrowood and damaged the trilobum. Sarah

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 11:45AM
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roseunhip(z5b QC)

You're welcome sarahbn!
The specific damage of this beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni, I have forgotten the English name) is eating away the full limb of the leaf, so leaving just its "skeleton" (nervures): thus it's much worse than the damages of the "snowball viburnum aphid" (Aphis virbuniphila).
Look it up on the Web: there might be some good, specific treatments. I know that this critter is not easy to see and destroy like aphids are.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 12:34PM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

It sounds awful! But from what I have read it seems to affect the native arrowood, cranberry and mapleleaf viburnums. It doesn't seem to affect the native nudum,lentago and prunifolium yet. Sarah

Here is a link that might be useful: viburnum leaf beetle

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 2:16PM
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pankhi(z7Md)

I have a 9 year old serviceberry (A. canadensis) and I noticed orange rust on the branches 2 years ago. The plant has also started loosing most of its leaves by mid-late summer. Will the diseases affect berry production? I don't want to keep applying pesticides. Do I need to cut it down? I had an rust-infected washington hawthorn (removed) and have rust-infected apple trees in the area. Is there a rust-resistant serviceberry? I read in one place that Princess Diana was resistant to rust but no one else (growers, nurseries, etc.) says this when advertizing this plant for sale.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 3:16PM
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vonyon

Pankhi: I'm not sure whether or not there is a rust resistant variety, but I have been cautioned to avoid planting cedars near serviceberries or apples. The cedar gall (I believe) spreads rust. I may be wrong with this because I am doing this from memory, but it might give you a place to start researching. It sounds like you have a problem in the area. You could also post this on the shrubs forum. The experts seem to be over there. Lately, this forum is more about animals than gardening, so I think a lot of them have been over at shrubs.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 9:48PM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

Vonyon and Pankhi, it's true serviceberries, crabapples, flowering quince, hawthorn and alot of trees/shrubs in the rose family are vulnerable to the cedar apple rust. Sarah

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 7:21AM
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pankhi(z7Md)

Thank you both for your information. I will post my question on Shurbs

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 10:15AM
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marys1000

Oh my - had no idea there were so many varieties of Serviceberry. Just was recommend that Serviceberry are good shrubs for wildlife.
There are lots of easter Cedar in Nebraska so I will have to deal with the rust along with everyone else I guess.
But the other question is - I have alkaline soil, or at least on the neutral side of alkaline (silty loamy clay).
Any recommendations for that? (its also sort of dry and windy here, zone 5a)
Mary, NE

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 8:51PM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

Mary I may be wrong but I think Saskatoon serviceberry is native to Nebraska it's supposed to be the tastiest berry. I don't grow it so I don't know. I think it should probably do well in alkaline soil since it's from the midwest. Sarah

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 9:08PM
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vonyon

Mary, From my research, Sarah is correct, the Saskatoon is the best for alkaline soils. You are lucky. They grow shorter (easier to pick) and have a tastier berry.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 9:48PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

My Regent Serviceberries were just spectacular in flower this year. Gotta be loaded with fruit. The Mockingbirds, Catbirds and Orioles should be happy!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 3:38PM
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tbt3(z9 FL)

Does the Regent variety sucker? I bought a little one and would like to put another in my back yard. I was hoping to root a sucker and get anoither bush out of it.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 12:13PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

It does sucker from the roots but only after the shrub gets some maturity. Plus the suckers are very close in spacing to the other stems so it might be very difficult to get one dug out without damaging the mother plant.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 3:59PM
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njbiology

Hi,

Last year, I discovered a hedge-row of juneberries that were around 7' tall x 4' wide and featured small, blueish berries that were exceedingly sweet; they consisted of a rush of thin branches. They tasted nothing like the Amelanchier canadensis, A. x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance, or the wild A. laevis (I think) I am familiar with.

I have a feeling that these would be A. stolonifera (running serviceberry). I have heard it said that A. alnifolia (Saskatoon serviceberry) will not do well in the Northeast (New Jersey), except for perhaps the cultivar 'Regent'. Is anyone particularly familiar with A. alnifolia and A. stolonifera. I'm looking to see if I can plant a number of A. stolonifera seedlings instead of A. alnifolia and get as good a flavor; I've heard that A. alnifolia is the best serviceberry - yet others say A. laevis or A. x grandiflora tend to produce the best flavor.

Thanks,
Steve

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 12:15AM
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christie_sw_mo(Z6)

Steve - I think you'll get more replies if you start a new post in the Fruit forum. If your growing serviceberries for yourself to eat rather than just for wildlife, it's nice to have them low enough to be able to net so the birds won't get all of them.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 12:55PM
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