The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sorbus alnifolia: Loaded with Fruit and Teeming with Birds

A glimpse of the trio of Sorbus alnifolia trees at PES

The Korean Mountain Ash Grove

Beautiful Fall Foliage and Loaded with Fruit

Close-up of the Fruit

Several years ago, Sue Copley, the former principal of Peterborough Elementary School (PES) asked me to help with landscaping the campus. Given that school was across the street from our house and the fact that my wife, Betsy, was a third grade teacher there, it was easy to say yes. It was also an opportunity to try a tree that I had always longed to have on my own garden but didn't have room for: Sorbus alnifolia, the Korean Mountain Ash.

Sorbus alnifolia originates from nothern Korea and is hardy to Zone 3. Its attributes include pretty white flowers in May, brilliant fall foliage and spectacular coral-red fruit. Michael Dirr states that it is "one of my favorite all around trees." In October, the trees are loaded with juicy fruit and the leaves are turning yellow to orange to a lovely golden brown. Probably the nicest attribute of the tree for a schoolyard is that it attracts flocks of birds. Other day when I took these photographs there were dozens of robins and cardinals devouring the abundant fruit.


  1. I have admired this tree for sometime now, but we are too hot and humid here for it to be happy. It is great that you were able to have a part in getting them planted at the school.

  2. Les, it is pretty subtle in the summer, but certainly a standout now--a great tree for a elementary school campus.



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