April 2023 - Serviceberry

Common Name:  Serviceberry, Junebush, Shadbush, Saskatoon

Botanical Name:  Amelanchier arborea.

Native Range:  Native to New Jersey and to most of the eastern half of the United States. In USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.   

Height:   Typically grows to 15 to 25 feet but can grow to 30 feet.

Spread: Typically grows to a spread of 15 feet.

Form: A small deciduous tree or multi-stemmed small tree or shrub.

Growth Rate:  Moderate depending on soil and light conditions averaging 9-15 inches per year.

Sun Prefers sun but will tolerate shade or part shade. Fruit production is dependent on sun exposure. 

Soil Prefers loam soil but can tolerate sand and clay. Does best in moist, well-drained soil.

Leaf Description:  Small, oval, or elliptical leaves, with finely toothed margins and downy undersides. The foliage ranges from yellow to red in fall.

Fall Color:  Ornamental in fall.  The color varies from yellow-orange to bright red.

Flower Description:  Pendulous racemes 2”-4” long. The flowers produced are described as showy but short lived. The flowers are usually white but newer varieties range from shades of pink to yellow. Flowers bloom mid to late April.

Fruit: Produces an edible ¼” purple-blue-red pome. which attracts many varieties of birds. The fruit can also be used in cooking and canning. Fruit will ripen in June.

Bark Description:  Smooth gray bark contrasting with foliage and flowers throughout the season. Ornamental.

Wildlife Benefit:  A host to many birds and pollinators attracted to the tree’s edible fruit.


  • Tolerates shade.
  • Tolerates a wide variety of soils. 
  • Naturalized areas

Possible Disease and Insect Problems: In the rosaceae family. Susceptible to rust, leaf blight, powdery mildew, leaf miner, and borers.  

Uses: Amelanchier can be used as a specimen in plantings, in naturalized borders, and for screening. Due to its upright growing habit and small size, Amelanchier is also on the utility friendly street tree planting list. 

Where to be found on municipal property:  

  • Multiple 4” Amelanchier can be found as street tree plantings along Burr Drive in the Campbell Woods neighborhood. 
  • There are Amelanchier that are featured near the main parking lot and also along the woodland edge of the Mountain Lakes House lawn area.
  • Along the red trail in Mountain Lakes, visitors can spot the white early spring blooms within the deer-enclosure fence of the forest restoration project site.

Additional Facts: 

  • Amelanchier is in the rosaceae family. Subject to many of the same issues as apple trees but are primarily cosmetic. 
  • The ‘service’ in the tree’s common name refers to the plant usually being in flower during the Easter season.
  • Folklore suggests that the tree’s name came from its early bloom which indicated the ground had softened enough to serve as a site for digging graves. 
  • Amelanchier attracts beneficial insects that prey upon insect pests.
  • Amelanchier is self-pollinating and attracts native pollinators. 
  • Serviceberry's fruit can be used to make pies and sweetbreads and can be dried like raisins.
  • Although the fruit is called a berry, it is a pome having small seeds and pigmented sections.
  • Lambertville, NJ has a festival called the SHAD Fest. The festival is at the same time as the shad fish are running and the “Shad”bush Serviceberry are blooming.
    1. https://www.lambertvillechamber.com/shad-fest/ 


www.adventuresci.org › visit › arboretumTrees | Adventure Science Center 

www.arborday.org Trees > treeGuideServiceberry 

Dirr, M. A.; Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. 2019 

extension.umn.edu › trees-and-shrubs › serviceberry

hgic.clemson.edu › factsheet › serviceberry

mortonarb.org › plant-and-protect › trees-and-plants Allegheny serviceberry | The Morton Arboretum

www.thespruce.com › nine-species-serviceberry9 Recommended Species of Serviceberry Trees and Shrubs

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