Serviceberry Tree leaves shrivelling



I have a serviceberry tree that was planted about 6 yrs ago. It’s growing and flowers very well in the spring, however, I’ve had 2 concerns with it:
1) the base/roots still appear to not be fully established. It still moves a bit when I push or pull on the trunk
2) although it flowered beautifully just the other week, the fresh leaves have already started to dry up and turn brown along the edges of most. This is my main concern.

It gets a good dose of light, although it can be fairly shaded from my plane tree and a large neighbouring silver maple. It’s been fairly dry the last 10 days so it’s not over watered. The soil is fairly compact and can be clay heavy.
Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Amelanchier are mainly woodland plants that prefer full sun to partial shade. They should be planted in rich, moist, well-drained soil.

Given its location near your large silver maple tree and the shade from your London Plane tree, your serviceberry may not be getting enough light, and/or water to grow successfully. The soil in which the tree is planted could be adding more stress to the tree. While the serviceberry can adapt to living in alkaline or neutral soils, it much prefers to be planted in acidic soils. These trees do not thrive in clay soils. To improve the drainage and composition of your clay spoil, it is best to use organic material. Compost is excellent but you can use other organic matter such as wood mulch, composted manure, shredded leaves, cover crops and composted pine bark. When adding soil to gardens it is best to minimize digging and to leave it on the surface. Let nature mix it in for you.

To maintain a good habitat in your soil a layer of mulch can help enhance the soil , regulate water retention and temperature and decrease weed growth. As the mulch breaks down it will also feed your garden. The mulch should be spread  a couple of inches away from the trunk, applying it to a depth of three or four inches. Application of the mulch will not only provide nutrients to the trees roots but will help the soil retain moisture and insulate the roots from fluctuating temperatures.

It is possible that your serviceberry has been attacked by a disease or pest. According to the fact sheet Common Diseases and Treatments  from LEAF, the curling leaves could be a sign that your serviceberry is suffering from blight disease- “A fungal or bacterial disease affecting flowers, leaves, and shoots causing young growth to turn black or brown and curl up.”  For control of this disease LEAF suggests ” In summer, remove limbs, cutting well outside infected area (6-12) and dispose

You may wish to contact a certified arborist for a definitive diagnosis. You can find certified arborists at:

Hopefully with a little TLC, proper watering  and the addition of  organic matter your tree will recover and bounce back.

May 26, 2021