119 Concord Place
Syracuse, New York
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Paperbark Maple


River Birch

Flowering Crabapple

Tree Lilacs

Recommended Trees -


This serviceberry is in full bloom along a stream just outside of Marcellus, New York.Nearly twenty species of serviceberry (Amelanchier) are native to North America, and at least eight are native to New York according to the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Plants Database.

In the woods and along fencerows throughout Central New York, you’re most likely to find downy serviceberry (A. arborea) and Allegheny serviceberry (A. laevis) coming into bloom during the last week or so in April through the second week or so in May, above. In fact, the two are very similar in appearance and readily hybridize, giving rise to an intermediate hybrid species A. x. grandiflora, or Apple serviceberry.

Serviceberry can be grown as either single or multiple-stemmed trees.So, are you already thoroughly confused? Don’t worry, because they hybridize so readily, their positive identification is often difficult - even for experts!

What’s most important to remember is that in landscape settings, serviceberry is most often a single, at left, or multiple-stemmed small tree that ultimately grows twenty to twenty five feet tall and spreads to about twenty feet. It’s also adaptable to a wide range of conditions including fairly dry soils as well as those that are occasionally damp to wet during cool weather. And, while it will grow best in full sun, it will survive and grow relatively well in open woodland settings.

The pure white, five-petaled flowers of serviceberry are effective for about a week in late April through early May.Serviceberries are smothered by countless clusters of pure white, five-petal flowers that open at the same time as the purple-tinged leaves begin to expand, at right. Unfortunately, the petals start to drop almost as soon as they open, resulting in a flower display that lasts barely a week when the weather is warm and dry.

Clusters of marble-sized serviceberry fruit turn from red to deep purple as they ripen.In late June, plants produce clusters of red, blueberry-sized fruit that turn deep purple as they ripen, left. If you can get to the fruit before birds do, you’ll find that they’re very similar in taste to blueberries – maybe even a bit sweeter!

Finally, in mid- to late September, the leaves of serviceberry turn various shades of yellow, through bright orange to scarlet, depending upon the cultivar, below right. `Autumn Brilliance’ serviceberry, for example, was selected specifically for it’s brilliant red fall foliage color.

The fall foliage color of serviceberry ranges from yellow, through orange to scarlet.The tree-form cultivars most often available from local garden centers and landscape contractors include the above-mentioned `Autumn Brilliance,’ as well as `Princess Diana,’ and `Robin Hill.’ All three are similar in size and ornamental traits and are, therefore, generally interchangeable.

Meanwhile, if you’ve been frustrated in your attempts to grow blueberries, the shrubby saskatoon serviceberry, A. alnifolia, may be worth a try. It grows well in harsh, wind-swept locations and in soils that are quite alkaline – conditions that would do in blueberries in very short order! The online publication, "Growing Saskatoons – A Manual for Orchardists," is certainly your best bet for more information on this unique small fruit!