This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mid-June and the Serviceberries are Ripe

A great year for serviceberry fruit! My family has been enjoying them in front of the Bank of Ann Arbor on Fifth Ave, at the entrance to the Quality 16 Theaters, and most recently, thanks to a friend, in the form of a delicious pie. This friend has four trees, which have yielded enough fruit for three pies. The biggest challenge is to beat out the waxwings, robins and catbirds.

In the odd chance you are unfamiliar with this fruit, it comes from a common native small tree that grows in the understory in our oak-hickory woods. It's also become quite popular as a landscape plant. There are a handful of species in the genus (Amelanchier). Unfortunately the tree suffers from having no good common name: serviceberry, shadbush, juneberry, etc. There is a northern species that is now being cultivated for fruit production in the Traverse City area. Growers are calling is 'saskatoon.'

So what else is going on at this time of year? One thing I have noticed is the expanded use of the Asian tree lilac (Syringa reticulata) as a street tree in Ann Arbor. I think it is unfortunate. The flowers have a very pleasant spell, but they are only attractive for a very short period before the white flowers begin to turn a rotten yellow-brown. I'm not positive, but I believe this plant has spread into the woods around Nichols Arboretum. It wouldn't surprise me to see it show up more often where it might be unwelcome.

Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) is putting on a fabulous show (much later than our native flowering dogwood). The picture to the right shows only a small portion of the crown of the tree by my house. I am unable to get a good picture because of the intense contrast between the white flowers and the dark shade underneath. Trust me, it's fantastic. AND, I have half a dozen babies that have sprouted from seeds underneath. Let me know if you would like one.

It's only mid June but the leaves of many crabapples are already showing signs of the leaf disease called apple scab. Leaves are beginning to fall, and trees will be barren by August. If you like crabapples, the best thing to do is to plant a cultivar that is resistant to the fungus. If you are stuck with an old-fashioned cultivar, the disease can be held in check by a couple fungicide sprays when the leaves first begin to develop. My company GreenStreet Tree Care sprays a large number of them every spring. In fact, spraying to control fungal diseases on crabapples, pines and spruces makes up about 80% of our chemical interventions. 


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  4. Thanks for sharing amazing information !!!!!!
    Please keep up sharing.

  5. I have to agree with you on the tree lilac - ugly brown when done blooming. I love the Amelanchier and have wanted one for a long time. This might be the year. Would they grow under black walnuts?