Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension
https://extension.umn.edu

Serviceberry

Tree form of serviceberry with multiple stems
Multi-stemmed tree form

Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) are large shrubs or single- or multi-stemmed small trees.

They are used as specimen and key plants in landscapes as well as in group plantings as borders, backdrops and screens.

Serviceberry provides year-round interest in white spring flowers, yellow to red fall foliage, smooth gray bark, and edible purple fruit.

Also called juneberries or Saskatoon berries, several serviceberry species are native to Minnesota and other parts of the United States.

A branch of ‘Autumn Brilliance’ serviceberry with red fall color
‘Autumn Brilliance’ serviceberry fall color
Silver-green leaf buds about to unfurl on serviceberry branch
Furry expanding buds in spring
Five-petaled white flowers of serviceberry
Serviceberry flower

Description

  • Deciduous small tree or shrub.

  • Height: 4 to 25 feet.

  • Width: 4 to 15 feet.

  • Upright, rounded, spreading form.

  • Early leaves are silvery-green and furry, changing to oval leaves after flowering.

  • Clusters of 5-petaled, white flowers with brightly-colored anthers in late April or May.

  • Pendulous clusters of small, round fruit ripens to dark purple in June.

  • Ripe fruit can be eaten fresh or used in jams, jellies and pies.

  • Excellent wildlife plants attractive to pollinators, birds and other animals.

Growing serviceberry

The shrub form of serviceberry with small, white flower blossoms
Bloom on ‘Regent’ serviceberry shrub
  • Hardiness zone: 2 to 8, cultivar dependent.

  • Full sun to full shade; cultivars grown for fruit will produce best in full sun.

  • Prefers loam soils, tolerates sand and clay.

  • Does best in lightly moist to moist soils.

  • Needs well-drained soils; avoid wet, poorly drained soils.

  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.0; tolerates higher. Have your soil tested by the U of M Soil Testing Lab.

Common problems

None serious. See What's wrong with my plant? – Serviceberry for most common pests in Minnesota.

Serviceberry species

Green oval leaves and clusters of red and green ripening fruit of serviceberry

There are several species of serviceberry.  The species described below are all native to Minnesota.  

Many cultivated varieties have been developed using these three species and their hybrids for use as ornamental landscape plants and for commercial fruit production.

  • Downy serviceberry (A. arborea) is a 15-to-25-foot multi-stemmed shrub or small tree that is native to the eastern border of Minnesota.

  • Smooth serviceberry (A. laevis) is larger shrub or small tree, often reaching heights of 40 to 45 feet, and is native to east central Minnesota.

  • Saskatoon serviceberry (A. alnifolia) is a native of western Minnesota's prairies and is a 6-to-9-foot shrub. This species produces the best quality fruit.
Small tree with white flowers in a garden bed with a stone wall behind it and other plants in front
‘Autumn Brilliance’ serviceberry

Cultivated varieties of serviceberry for Minnesota

  • 'Regent' - 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide, compact rounded growth habit, yellow and red fall color, drought tolerant.

  • 'Autumn Brilliance' - 25 feet tall by 15 feet wide, rounded growth habit, red fall color.    

  • Rainbow Pillar® - 20 feet tall by 10 feet wide, upright growth habit, orange and red fall color.    

  • 'Princess Diana' - 30 feet tall by 20 feet wide, spreading growth habit, red fall color.    

  • Standing Ovation™- 15 feet tall by 4 feet wide, upright and narrow-crowned growth habit, red and orange fall color.

Kathy Zuzek, former Extension educator; Beth Berlin, Extension educator; and Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2018

Share this page:

© 2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.