The serviceberry or Juneberry is a small bush-like tree that is grown for its ornamental properties, and its sweet fruit which attracts birds and pollinating insects into a garden. The purple or black fruits can be made into tasty preserves, although it is hard for the gardener to reach them before they are picked clean by wildlife. Planting and growing the Serviceberry is relatively easy, as the most that it will demand is regular watering and a good supply of mulch. The tree lasts for many years, and encourages insects into the garden, helping pollinate fruits and difficult flowers. During the summer, it is an attractive addition to any garden.
Planting Serviceberry Trees
Serviceberries prefer the full sun, although they can adapt to living in areas with a partial shade; choose an area that is protected from winds and other severe climates. Choose a soil that is moist and well-drained.
Serviceberry trees can be bought from local garden centers; they will either be potted in containers or wrapped in polyester bags. If the tree is potted, lay it on the soil and roll from side to side to loosen it. Once the pot is loose, the serviceberry tree can be gently eased from the pot. If they are wrapped in a bag, use scissors or shears to remove wire or twine from around the plant, and cut away the plastic. Use secateurs to trim away dead or over-large roots.
Make a hole in the soil which is about 5 times as wide as the root ball. Don’t worry about the plant becoming invasive, as serviceberry trees can be grown near to buildings without problems. Put in a large amount of water and wait for the soil and root to fully absorb this liquid. Fill the hole until it is almost at the original level of the ground, and then add mulch or compost to the base. Water the ground and tree again, creating a water pool at the base of the tree.
Growing the Serviceberry tree
The serviceberry can grow up to 40 feet in height, with a width of about half that; if you desire the tree to have a single trunk, prune other stems vigorously, and encourage the trunk with careful cutting of branches. If the serviceberry is being used for hedging, then multiple trunks can be encouraged by trimming back the strongest trunk during the winter.
The serviceberry plant should be kept watered regularly, up until Halloween; although it likes a very moist soil, be careful not to overwater – if there is a severe flood, for example, leave the tree until conditions improve, checking regularly that the base of the tree does not dry out. It is preferable to keep a 2-inch deep area of mulch and damp ground around the base of the serviceberry. For the first few years after planting, fertilize and mulch the tree during November; even after a decade, occasional fertilizing and mulching will do the serviceberry tree a lot of good.