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  • Writer's pictureAmy Johnson


Plant serviceberry to attract birds to your yard!
Serviceberry blooms in the spring

Did you miss Arbor Day on April 26th? We did! Sparrow was on a quick retreat to Tuscon, AZ to enjoy some sunshine and the old, soulful saguaro that we don’t see in the Midwest!  

But back to trees. In honor of (belated) Arbor Day, let’s showcase the serviceberry, a small tree that is a sure bet in Midwest and Eastern landscapes. 

Serviceberries – also known as juneberry, saskatoon, shadbush, sarvisberry, and sugar plum – are a member of the Amelanchier species. They are a woody, deciduous shrub – a small understory tree. What we love about the serviceberry is its versality. While it’s often found in swamps, lowlands, and thickets – it can thrive in non-wetlands and adapt to many soil types, including course loamy sands. It is also moderately drought and salt tolerant.  

Spring is a great time to talk about serviceberries, as it is one of the earliest blooming trees - bursting in white, fragrant flowers in April, followed by red to purple fruit. The berries play an important role attracting early pollinators – providing a great springtime meal for orioles, cardinals, thrushes, catbirds, woodpeckers, waxwings, and robins. Tiger swallowtail butterfly larvae, viceroy, admirals, and striped hairstreak feed on the leaves.  They are moderately deer resistant.  

And it gets better - YOU can eat serviceberries too! Rich in minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and copper – serviceberries are a great substitute for blueberries in any recipe. (As with anything edible, allergies can happen, so test it in small servings before consuming an entire serviceberry pie!) While you can eat the fruit from all Amelanchier species - cultivars of Amelanchier alnifolia are the most productive and delicious. 

a native landscape will benefit from Serviceberries!
Serviceberries are relished by birds and humans!

Serviceberries grow well in USDA hardiness zones 4–7. Easy to maintain, the trees will need regular watering the first year – but only during droughts thereafter. You can provide a thick bed of mulch one inch away from the trunk – but pruning and fertilizing are not usually required unless they block a path or roadway. 

One shortcoming of the serviceberry is sensitivity to environmental pollutants. Because of this – it is a good plant to use as a bioindicator of airborne fluorides.  

Consider a serviceberry tree or two on your property this season – you'll be happy next spring that you did!  



plant serviceberries to attract birds to your yard.
Serviceberry is a beautiful addition to a native landscape!

1 comentario

01 may

Great information here. I always learn something!

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