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Extension > Garden > Yard and Garden > Trees and Shrubs > Serviceberry or Juneberry (Amelanchier spp.)

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Serviceberry or Juneberry (Amelanchier spp.)

Kathy Zuzek and Beth Berlin

Plant description

Mature height: 4 to 25'
Mature width: 4 to 15'
Growth rate: Medium
Plant form: Upright, rounded, spreading
Deciduous or evergreen:Deciduous
Native range:See maps
Native to Minnesota: Yes
Invasive in Minnesota:No

Culture

Light: Full sun to full shade
Soil texture: Prefers loam soils, tolerates sand and clay
Soil pH:
5.5-7.0, tolerates higher
Soil moisture: Slightly moist to moist soils and well-drained soils
Hardiness zone: 2-8, cultivar dependent
Pests and stresses: None series. Visit What's wrong with my plant? – Serviceberry for most common serviceberry pests in Minnesota.
Other:

Serviceberry in the landscape

There are 18-25 species of serviceberries in the United States. Identifying a serviceberry to the species level can be difficult because of strong physical similarities and a strong tendency for interspecific hybridizing. Eight of the U.S. species are native to Minnesota, and three of these species (Saskatoon, downy, and smooth) are ancestors to the cultivars that are grown in Minnesota gardens and landscapes for their displays of spring flowers and fruit, their beautiful fall color, and their edible fruit.

Saskatoon serviceberry (A. alnifolia) is a native of western Minnesota's prairies and is a 6-9 foot shrub. Several cultivars of Saskatoon serviceberry have been developed for commercial fruit production. Downy serviceberry (A. arborea) is a 15-25' multi-stemmed shrub or small tree that is native to forested areas in 7 counties along the eastern border of Minnesota. Smooth serviceberry (A. laevis) is larger shrub or small tree, often reaching heights of 40-45'. It is found most commonly in deciduous or evergreen forested areas of the east central counties of Minnesota. Many ornamental cultivars have been developed from downy serviceberry, smooth serviceberry, and their hybrids.

Amelanchiers are large shrubs or single- or multi-stemmed small trees that are used as border, screening, specimen, or wildlife plants in the landscape. The sweet, blue, edible fruit can be eaten fresh or used in jams, jellies, and pies. The fruit is also loved by birds. Serviceberries grow well in full sun to full shade as long as wet, poorly drained soils are avoided. Cultivars grown for fruit production will produce maximum yield in full sun.

Serviceberries provide multi-season interest. In spring, expanding buds open to expose silver-green, furry, expanding leaves and flowers that are ornamental in the landscape for 1-2 weeks. In late April or May, clusters of small, 5-petaled, white flowers with bright pink anthers appear. After flowering, 1-3" oval leaves provide a backdrop for pendulous clusters of small, ⅓ - ½", round fruit that progress from green to red to dark purple. Fruit ripens in June. All stages and colors of fruit can often be seen within one fruit cluster, creating colorful displays in spring landscapes. Beautiful fall color is produced in shades of orange, yellow, and red.

white flowers

R. Routledge, bugwood.org

Flower

red berries amongst leaves

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Foliage and ripening fruit

 

USDA, NRCS Plants Database & Minnesota DNR

Native range of Saskatoon serviceberry in North America & MN

USDA, NRCS Plants Database & Minnesota DNR

Native range of downy serviceberry in North America & MN

USDA, NRCS Plants Database & Minnesota DNR

Native range of smooth serviceberry in North America & MN

bush with white flowers

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Bloom on serviceberry shrub

tree with many limbs

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Multi-stemmed tree form

close up of fuzzy buds

Furry expanding buds in spring

red-orange bushes

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Fall color

Some cultivars grown in Minnesota:

Cultivar traits:
Cultivar Plant form Hardiness Fall color Drought tolerance
'Autumn Brilliance' Rounded 3b Red  
Rainbow Pillar® Upright 4 Orange,red  
'Regent' Compact, rounded 2 Yellow, red X
'Princess Diana' Spreading 3b Red  
Standing Ovation™ Upright, narrow-crowned 2 Red, orange  
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