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Sorbus americana

Phonetic Spelling
SOR-bus ah-mer-ih-KAY-nah
Description

American Mountain Ash is a relatively small, deciduous, understory tree or shrub in the rose family that is native to northeastern North America from Newfoundland to Georgia. In North Carolina, it is typically found in the mountains around forests and rock outcrops (often with Picea, Abies, and Betula alleghaniensis) and less often in the Piedmont. It typically grows to 15 to 30 feet tall and wide with an open rounded attractive crown. The white spring flowers and bright orange-red fall fruit and foliage add additional interest to this tree. It is relatively short-lived due to fireblight and other diseases and pests.

American Mountain Ash requires moist, rich, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun but tolerates partial shade. It is intolerant of hot humid summers and will do best in the mountain areas of NC. It can be used as a shade tree, in naturalized areas or on slopes.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: 

Bacterial fireblight can be a severe problem. Scab can cause significant defoliation. Cankers, crown gall, powdery mildew, and rust may also occur. Insects include borers, aphids, sawfly, and scale. Browsed by deer. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#shrub#wildlife plant#showy#native tree#tree#native shrub#flowering tree#food source#NC native#fire resistant#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#fruits#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#bee friendly#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#shrub#wildlife plant#showy#native tree#tree#native shrub#flowering tree#food source#NC native#fire resistant#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#fruits#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#bee friendly#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sorbus
    Species:
    americana
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northeastern North America
    Distribution:
    USA: CT , GA , IL , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are eaten by many birds and mammals. Preferred plant for browsing by moose and white tailed deer.
    Edibility:
    Berries may be made into jellies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Long-lasting
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Pome
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Bright red-orange 1/4 inch berry-like pomes ripen in late summer and fall (September-October) and remain on the tree into winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Urn
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    3-6 inch across dense flattened corymbs of 1/8-1/4 inch urn-shaped creamy white flowers with 4 petals appear in June-July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    6-10 inch compound leaves have 9-17 dark yellow-green, 2-4 inch leaflets with unequal wedge-shaped or rounded bases and serrated margins. Undersides are paler. New leaves are downy but become smooth with age. The foliage turns yellow in fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    Smooth gray with numerous lenticels when young. As the tree ages, cracks, splits, and scaly patches develop.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stems downy at first, later become smooth, brown tinged with red. Stem buds are dark red with hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds