Hi, I have another question about this plant.
I would like to plant one at the back of my house, south facing, full sun. My garden plot is 8 ft wide. Please see attached photo. This location has exhaust vents from the dryer, gas furnace and gas water tank. Is this detrimental to a serviceberry?
Finally, please confirm that a serviceberry will not develop rust if planted near a white cedar hedge.
Thanks very much.
Hi again and thanks for your additional questions regarding serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis). First, to answer your question about rust, A. canadensis is not at increased risk of developing rust because white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) is not an alternate host of rust diseases, according to this publication by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Red cedar, on the other hand, is an alternate host.
Regarding your desired planting location, in addition to the exhaust vents from your house, I also notice an air conditioner and utility meters in that corner (which meter readers will need to access). The exhaust vents will blow warm air and water vapour onto the tree year-round, and the air conditioner will blow additional warm air in the summer. The added heat and air flow will not only dry out the soil faster, but it will also increase moisture loss from the leaves of the tree in summer. For a newly planted tree, this causes added stress and increases moisture requirements. More frequent watering will be necessary. Adding mulch around the base of the tree (remember – mulch in a donut shape, NOT a volcano around the trunk) may help to prevent the soil from drying out too fast.
However, of greater concern is winter injury to the tree trunk due to freezing and thawing from the temperature fluctuations caused by the exhaust vents, plus the south-facing exposure. Winter injury can cause permanent damage to your tree that will increase its susceptibility to diseases and pests and, ultimately, place the health of the tree at risk. Therefore, if possible, plant your tree as far away from the exhaust vents as you can. You may want to consider installing a temporary physical barrier (ex. a fence made of burlap) between the tree and the vents during the winter months to reduce some of the temperature fluctuations, but you should check with a heating professional to make sure you are allowing enough clearance for the exhaust vents.
All of the above factors need to be considered before you plant your tree, as well as the ultimate height and spread of the tree when it matures. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, A. canadensis can reach up to 30 feet and spread up to 20 feet across. Do you want a tree of that size situated close to your house? Too often, we plant trees in spaces that are not ideal for their mature size, and many trees are eventually cut down because they have outgrown their location. Instead of facing this eventual reality, and in light of the added stressors discussed above, consider locating the tree in a different location in your yard, if at all possible. Alternatively, consider growing a more compact shrubby relative of A. canadensis that also produces edible berries — the Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia).