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SORBUS americana

Image of Sorbus americana

Jesse Saylor

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Name

SORBUS americana

Plant Common Name

American Mountain Ash, Mountain Ash

General Description

A striking sight from late summer into winter when its branches are laden with dense clusters of showy fruit, this exceptionally cold-hardy large shrub (or small tree) from eastern North America is also worth growing for its handsome ferny foliage. Divided into 11 to 19 toothed, lance-shaped leaflets, the feathery deciduous leaves are medium green before turning orange or yellow in fall. Flattish heads of dull white flowers open in late spring, giving rise to pea-sized fruits which ripen red. The fruits are a favorite of birds. Upright, weak-wooded, and rather open-crowned, this typically slow-growing plant remains low-branched if grown in ample sun.

Grow this mountain ash in moderately fertile non-alkaline soil and full sun for best form, fruiting and fall color. It requires moderate summers, and may benefit from some afternoon shade in the warmest parts of its hardiness range. Use it in a shrub border or wildlife planting or as a specimen. Like most other mountain ashes it is susceptible to fire blight and rust. The astringent fruits can be used in preserves.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 6

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    10'-30' / 3.0m - 9.1m

  • Width

    8'-25' / 2.4m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Orange

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Fruit / Fruit Tree, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes