How to plant and prune serviceberry?

How to plant and prune serviceberry?

The characteristics of the serviceberry

  • Type: fruit tree
  • Height: up to 12m
  • Flower color: white, pink
  • Desired exposure: sunny, shaded
  • Type of soil: clay, stony, drained
  • Foliage: obsolete
  • Interview : easy
  • Sanitizing: no
  • Sickness : fire blight

Origins and characteristics of serviceberry

The serviceberry is a flowering and fruiting shrub capable of both adorning your garden and providing you with delicious little berries.

Belonging to the Rosaceae family, the serviceberry is a deciduous tree with white star flowers. In summer, you can pick up sweet red or purple berries to taste in various ways. These sweet and juicy fruits are called Saskatoon berries. Edible, they are best cooked. They can be used in particular in pie, jam, or even as a side dish for meat.

There are a dozen varieties in France among which we find serviceberry of Canada (amelanchier canadensis) with its white flowers, serviceberry x grandiflora "Robin Hill" whose white flowers are tinged with pink or serviceberry laevis whose fruits are blue-black. All these varieties are hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -30 °. An ornamental shrub par excellence, it dazzles your garden in spring with its white flowers and in autumn with its orange foliage.

Planting and sowing of serviceberry

Whether you plant it in spring or fall, it will not flower until the following spring. If you plant it in the spring, it is recommended to water it regularly during the summer following its planting.

Dig a fairly large hole and add compost to enrich the soil. The shrub will appreciate being installed in a place sheltered from the wind, sunny or partial shade and in a rich and cool soil. Depending on the variety, this shrub appreciates more or less calcareous soils.

Not very sensitive to cold weather, serviceberry feared on the other hand soils and summers that are too dry.

At the heart of a hedge, in clumps or isolated, it will naturally find its place wherever you place it. However, be sure to space it at least two meters from other plantings.

If you choose to sow, do this in the fall in the shelter and thin out in the spring to transplant in place in the fall.

Cultivation and maintenance of serviceberry

Watering is essential the first summer if you plant in the spring. The rest of the time, it is not necessary to water a lot, except when the temperatures exceed 25 °, in which case it is advisable to water every 3 days. Do not hesitate to mulch to keep some freshness on the feet.

In the fall, you can add fertilizer to stimulate Saskatoon berry spring growth, which can sometimes be quite slow.

Nothing requires you to prune your shrub. However, this can be useful for thinning and removing dead wood to give it more vigor. Pruning is also recommended to suppress certain shoots and prevent the shrub from spreading. Note that pruning takes place after flowering.

Saskatoon berry diseases and pests

Fire blight is the only disease known to attack serviceberry. This disease has no known treatment and is spreading very quickly. If your shrub is affected by fire blight, cut it and burn it.

As a preventive measure, spray a decoction of horsetail on your shrubs in March / April. Bordeaux porridge is also a great way to protect your serviceberries against fire blight.

Harvest of Saskatoon berries

Be sure to harvest Saskatoon berries when they are dark and before they fall from the shrub, usually mid-July. During the summer season, several harvests will be necessary because the fruits do not all ripen at the same time.

After harvesting, Saskatoon berries do not keep fresh for very long. You can then cook them, and use them to make jam, pies, clafoutis, etc.