Bulletin #2563, Native Trees and Shrubs for Maine Landscapes: Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)

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Developed by Marjorie Peronto, Associate Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension; and Reeser C. Manley, Assistant Professor of Horticulture, University of Maine.

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Go native!

This series of publications is the result of a five-year research project that evaluated the adaptability of a variety of native trees and shrubs to the stresses of urban and residential landscapes in Maine. Non-native invasive plants pose a serious threat to Maine’s biodiversity. Plants such as Japanese barberry, shrubby honeysuckle, and Asiatic bittersweet, originally introduced for their ornamental features, have escaped from our landscapes, colonizing natural areas and displacing native plants and animals. By landscaping with native plants, we can create vegetation corridors that link fragmented wild areas, providing food and shelter for the native wildlife that is an integral part of our ecosystem. Your landscape choices can have an impact on the environment that goes far beyond your property lines.


Amelanchier canadensis
Photo by Reeser C. Manley

Form: a shrubby tree, with multiple upright stems forming a rounded crown

Size: 35 to 50 feet in height and width

Ornamental characteristics:

  • nodding, pyramidal spikes of white flowers in mid April, before the leaves appear
  • clusters of mid-summer berries that change color from red to purple
  • orange to red fall foliage

Landscape Use

Amelanchier canadensis spring landscape.
Photo by Reeser C. Manley

In the wild, shadblow serviceberry grows in the deciduous forest understory, along with common witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) and pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia). Although it has a high tolerance for shade, you can grow it successfully in full sun if extreme heat and drought are avoided. Trees under severe summer drought stress often defoliate by mid August, depriving the landscape of the rich orange and red autumn leaves. In sun or shade, a moist, well-drained soil, mulching, and summer irrigation are keys to success with this species.

Amelanchier canadensis can be a focal point of the spring and autumn landscape, and thus is effective as a specimen tree. Or, consider planting it as an understory tree in the woodland garden, where birds and small mammals will quickly take the ripened berries. In either case, give it the room it needs to flourish.


Hardiness: USDA zone 3

Soil requirements: tolerates a wide variety of soils

Amelanchier canadensis
Drawing by Margery Read

Light requirements: full sun or partial shade

Stress tolerances:

soil compaction — intolerant
pollution — intolerant
deicing salts — tolerant
urban heat islands — intolerant
drought — intolerant
seasonal flooding — tolerant

Insect and disease problems: infrequent

Wildlife Value

Shadblow serviceberry is an early spring nectar source for bees and butterflies, and an occasional host for viceroy, striped hairstreak, and Canadian tiger swallowtail butterflies. The berries are relished by cardinals, waxwings, hairy woodpeckers, thrushes, catbirds, orioles, and robins, as well as squirrels and chipmunks.


Irrigation: During the establishment period, defined as one year after planting for each inch of trunk diameter at planting time, water your trees regularly during the growing season. Give the root zone of each tree 1 inch of water per week; in general, a tree’s root zone extends twice as wide as its canopy. After the establishment period, provide supplemental irrigation during periods of severe drought.

Fertilization: Landscape trees and shrubs should not be fertilized unless a soil test indicates a need. Correct soil pH, if necessary, by amending the backfill soil. No nitrogen fertilizer should be added at planting or during the first growing season.

To learn more about native woody plants

Visit the Eastern Maine Native Plant Arboretum at University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Penobscot County office, 307 Maine Avenue in Bangor. Established in 2004, the arboretum displays 24 different native tree and shrub species that can be used in managed landscapes.

Reviewed by Cathy Neal, Extension professor, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.
Photos by Reeser C. Manley.
Illustration by Margery Read, Extension Master Gardener.

project canopy logoThis series of publications and the associated research were made possible in part by the Maine Forest Service’s Project Canopy.


Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2008

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