How to grow Amelanchier

Commonly known as the 'Juneberry' Serviceberry' or 'Snowy Mespilus', the genus Amelanchier contains approximately 15 species of very beautiful and very hardy small trees or shrubs. They are mostly native to north America, but can also be found in Europe (Amelanchier ovalis) and Asia (Amelanchier asiatica and ovalis).

The number of species is only an approximation as the various species have been difficult to characterize and identify due to their readiness to hybridize and the occurrence of polyploidy and apomixis (asexual seed production).

A good example of this is Amelanchier lamarckii where some within the scientific community believe that it is not a true and distinct species, but is instead a naturally occurring hybrid of A. canadensis x A. laevis or even A. arborea x A. laevis! To throw further doubt into the equation, Amelanchier lamarckii also grows true from seed, a characteristic not generally associated with hybrids.

Amelanchiers thrive in a sunny or partial shaded position in moist, well-drained, lime-free soils. The most lime-tolerant species being Amelanchier ovalis, Amelanchier asiatica, and Amelanchier alnifolia. If you do not have acidic or lime free soil then dig in plenty of ericaceous compost before planting.

In exposed areas it is advised to support newly planted trees with a sturdy stake to prevent wind rock. The stake should be no taller than one-third of the stem or trunk height.

Wind rock is the movement of an unsecured tree or shrub which can damage the root system and lead to water collecting in the ‘socket’ caused by the stem moving at soil level.

Amelanchier do not like to be in soils which are prone to drying out, so newly planted specimens will need to be watered during periods of drought. However excessive water around the roots caused by wind rock can all increase the risk of root death and the incidence of fungal infections.

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