Planting and Caring For Serviceberry Shrubs

Planting and Caring For Serviceberry Shrubs

serviceberry

Gorgeous drifts of white blossoms and flavorful fruit, the Serviceberry Shrub is a graceful and airy deciduous plant also known well for its dramatic fall color!

Fragrant spring flower? Check!

Edible fruit? Check!

Fall color? Big Check!

Easy to grow & adaptable? You bet!

Pollinator & Songbird Friendly? Check & Check!

Going by many names ranging from Juneberries, Serviceberries, or Amelanchier… They’re all the same thing! Also going by such names as Shadbush, Shadblow, May Cherry, Saskatoon, Servicetree, and Sarvisberry. No matter what you call them, these shrubby plants have it all! 

Serviceberry Flowers

Where do you start describing these incredible plants? Well, spring is always a great place to start! The Serviceberry has beautiful, perfectly formed, 5 petaled, fragrant, white flowers! Despite many months of seeing fluffy white snow, the fluffy drifts of white flowers that smother these plants will be a welcome sight!

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The other wonderful thing is that it blooms before Redbud and Crabapples! Making Serviceberry an incredible pollinator plant!

Blooming profusely during the spring, your local pollinators are as grateful for the nectar and pollen-rich show as you will! The flowers can be so numerous that they are sure to have a dazzling effect on your spring landscape.

Cole's Select Serviceberry and the Cumulus Serviceberry will have the biggest floral display each spring and the bees and butterflies will be swarming around the entire shrub all spring!

Serviceberry Foliage

The leaves emerge with a bit of bronze color and age to a two-toned leathery green with a silvery underside. The tough and shiny leaves are smaller and create lighter shade that you have more options to plant beneath if so desired.

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Then Serviceberry shrubs fill out in airy, finely textured leaves all summer! These cast light shade without smothering your lawn or shading out smaller plants that grow below their graceful canopy!

Serviceberry bushes reveal their next magic trick and transform their leaves into their brilliant fall color wardrobe! Fall color will vary depending upon the variety that you have selected, but overall does not disappoint! Dependable and outlandish orange fall color that is very characteristic of those two varieties. Some of the others will offer some yellows, purples, and reds!

None are more striking than the Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry! The reddish-orange fall leaves are large and reminiscent of the fall colors of a Burning Bush! The characteristic orange-red fall color may even exhibit some purple color rivaling any shrub as the very best fall color.

Growing in a variety of heights and widths depending on the cultivar, these began their garden journey as pretty native shrubs that jumped into garden beds and commercial sites throughout the country because of their beauty and adaptability!

With so many options, this makes Amelanchier perfect for multiple uses! Try a columnar First Editions® Standing Ovation™ Serviceberry as a street tree, and the large-sized Lustre® Serviceberry will become your favorite all growing season long!

Nature Hills offers several different selections! Some are grown as a multiple stem shrub, and others are grown as a single stem plant that is to be used in your yard as a small tree! It is the same plant, but just grown in a different form. There are many different kinds available and a lot of mix-up in the nursery industry, but they all do the same thing … they PERFORM!

Amelanchier is a stout-growing, suckering shrub! The single stem, and tree form Amelanchier are sweet because they are smaller in stature and they can tolerate some shade. Having some shade tolerance opens the door to many more options in your yard.

Juneberry plants offer a lot of versatility in the landscape. The shrub form selections are killer backdrops for your large shrub borders, outstanding screening plants to block out those nasty views, and let’s not forget the best wildlife attraction in your landscape. Amelanchier belongs in the native landscape too!

A natural grouping at the prairie’s edge or how about in your woodland garden? If flowers and fall color are not enough…then the fruit will sell you on the plant not only for you to eat, but for the birds and wildlife.

Use Serviceberry for screening, specimens, lawn trees, and informal groupings to create naturalized, woodland-like areas!

Serviceberry Berries!

As if all this isn’t enough, then these beautiful flowers quickly transform into large blueberry-sized and blueberry-looking reddish-purple fruit that songbirds love!

Ripening in June and earning them the nickname June Berry (Juneberry), the Amelanchier species is great for wildlife aficionados! Set up a garden bench and binoculars and get ready to start identifying all the birds that will be making your summer garden their new favorite hotspot!

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And not just the birds and local wildlife, but humans watch eagerly as the fruits turn dark purple and juicy!

Serviceberries produce a pome fruit, botanically similar to apples and pears. Harvest these juicy berries and resist the urge to pop a few in your mouth. But if you do, you’ll taste why. Blueberry-like flavor, mildly sweet and fruity, with an almond aftertaste. The seeds are entirely safe to consume when ripe and offer a myriad of health benefits.

However, it's important to be aware that, like many fruits, the seeds of Saskatoon berries contain small amounts of cyanogenic glycosides, compounds that can produce cyanide when ingested in large amounts. Fear not, as the concentration is incredibly low and would require a vast quanity to pose any threat.

Amelanchier berries aren't just delicious; they're also packed with nutritional goodness. They provide an excellent source of fiber, supporting digestive health, and are rich in antioxidants, which aid in protecting our cells from damage.

Treat Serviceberry as you would Elderberry - cook down the fruit and turn them into juice, straining out the seeds. The juice can be then made into preserves and syrup! The fruit can also be baked into pies and pastries since cooking breaks down the cyanide and renders it inert!

The fruit is a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, and carotenoids! One of the fan favorites for just fruit is the Saskatoon and Allegheny Serviceberry!

The fruit of Juneberries are excellent mixed with other berries too! Toss into muffins and crumbles, and don’t forget to whiz them up in smoothies! Freeze the bounty for later use or leave the excess for the birds!

As you can see, the fruits do not all ripen at the same time. Better yet, buy multiple varieties of these self-fertile shrubby trees and enjoy enough fruit for everyone and everything!

Caring For Your Serviceberry!

Serviceberries are easy to grow and need very little extra care! This is what makes them ideal landscape additions and for commercial sites! Smaller varieties even handle being planted in large pots and containers!

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  • They can tolerate some shade but will perform best in full sun for the most fruit.
  • Plant in any kind of well-drained soil with moderate moisture
  • Drought-tolerant once established, but for best fruit set, provide supplemental water
  • Flowers on new wood - Prune late winter or early spring before new growth emerges
  • Hardy, cold-hardy, and pest-free!

Provide your Serviceberry a site with good air circulation, because of their close relations to Pears and Apples, can occasionally have similar pest and disease issues, so choose your Serviceberry shrubs location carefully.

Smaller shrubs like Standing Ovation™ or Regent Saskatoon will even handle being potted up in large planters!

Planting Serviceberry Bushes

Once you receive your new plants, follow the instructions included to prep your root system for planting right away. Soaking the roots primes them for planting and rehydrates the tree after its journey in a box.

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While your Serviceberry is soaking, go ahead and get your planting site ready.

  1. The hole should be dug large enough to house the entire root system, and not be too crowded.
  2. Loosen and dig an area twice the width of your new tree root system but keep the depth the same.
  3. Be careful not to plant too deep or too shallow - maintaining the same planting depth as it came in its nursery container.
  4. Fill the hole with water and soak the entire area. Then sprinkle in the Root Booster.
  5. Remove your Tree from its container, Grow Bag, or the bareroot from its bag, and set it into the hole. Add or remove soil to bring the current root depth up to level with the surrounding soil. 
  6. Backfill with native topsoil and tamp down to fill in any air pockets.
  7. Water well until it pools and let that water drain away, then water again. 
  8. Provide a 3-4 inch layer of mulch over the soil surface. Mulch not only enriches the soil as it breaks down, but arborist bark chips insulate the roots from heat and cold while regulating soil moisture.

When planting young Serviceberry trees, a stake may be required to protect the plant from wind or other natural circumstances. Check out the Tree Starter Kit which has everything you need to get started!

Showy Serviceberry Shrubs!

No matter what you call this plant, you will find it a winner in all seasons. Amelanchier plants can be grown as large shrubs or smaller trees.

Dreamy clouds of white for your spring landscapes, add airy lightness to mixed borders, and show off big time every fall - Plus delicious fruit - You can’t go wrong planting an easy-care Serviceberry Shrub for your landscape today!

Nature Hills offers several varieties of Serviceberry Shrubs and Trees that will look great in your landscape all growing season long! Check out all the amazing options we have and their incredibly flavorful fruit for your edible landscape today!

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