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Amelanchier spp.

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Juneberry harvest
Juneberry harvest

Juneberry fruit
Juneberry fruit

Juneberry blossoms
Juneberry blossoms

The fruit is technically a pome (like and apple), not a berry. These small trees grow up to 25 feet tall and are very attractive, with plentiful white flowers blooming in late April to early May, usually showing before the fine-textured leaves fully develop. Juneberries have attractive gray bark, an upright branching habit that becomes horizontal with age, and showy red fall foliage. Use a dark background to emphasize these fine landscaping qualities.

The fruits are to 3/8 inch in diameter, and fleshy red, turning purplish-blue to black. They are juicy with a mild flavor, ripening in late June. Birds are fond of Juneberries. Native Americans and early settlers gathered them and dried them for winter use. Juneberries are commonly used in pies and preserves, and lemon enhances their flavor.

Growing Juneberries

Most Juneberries are hardy in Zones 3 to 9 (some are hardy as cold as Zone 2), and grow well throughout most of New York. They prefer full sun and acidic, moist, well-drained soil, but will tolerate shade and a wide range of soil types.

Naturalistic sites are ideal for Juneberries. They are difficult to train to a single stem. You can remove suckers to train to a single stemmed small tree or leave them for a multi-stemmed shrubby effect. Otherwise, they require little or no pruning.

'Shannon' and 'Indian' are very productive cultivars with larger fruit. 'Smoky' and 'Pembina' have the best flavor. 'Success' and 'Dwarf Mountain' are common older cultivars.

Red spider mites are an occasional pest problem on dry sites, and Juneberries are susceptible to common apple pests.

Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.

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