Rowan Tree choice for Front Garden

Hi All,

I am considering a Rowan tree in our front garden.

Which kind produces the strongest and nicest looking red berries ? I realise there are European and Asian sub species.

Can anyone recommend where I can find a strong healthy one.



  • I would avoid some of the developed cultivars. 'Joseph Rock' is prone to disease, 'Chinese Lace' doesn't colour very well in autumn,  Sorbus hupehensis (now 'Pink Pagoda), has pink fruits and is ok. I would go with the native sorbus aucuparia. It's tough, berries as well as any of the other species and cultivars and is a magnet for thrushes (different species) in winter. However, thin chalky soils aren't the best for it, Very happy on extremely acid sites like the New Forest and several places in Scotland.  Two cultivars of it are 'Streetwise;, with orange berries and 'Sheerwater Seedling'. Both are prolific with fruit production in good years, like their parent, but more upright in habit. Any good tree nursery, especially one which has that neutral to acid soil where the trees are grown.  


    Last edited: 08 January 2017 08:24:29

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,069

    You can't beat the native rowan. As H-c says, it's happy on neutral soil as well as acidic, and copes with anything the weather throws at it. It wouldn't survive on our hillsides up here if it didn't. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,080

    what it doesn't like is stiff, hard, dry, alkaline soil in full sun and prevailing wind. Just ask mine how it feels out there.image

    Last edited: 08 January 2017 10:37:06

  • Nut, I feel for your tree!


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,069

    nut -  I should have asked the OP that - if it's an area of low rainfall and dry soil, it might not be too happy!  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,080

    My excuse is I was young(er), ignorant, and given a free rowan.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the advice. I have a new build home and the builders have left us a mess of a garden. I have dug out most of the rubble, concrete bits and added new soil in a South Facing front garden. I think I will add a root barrier as the tree will be on the edge of a front lawn 10 feet from the front of the house. Hopefully the Rowan will do well and the local thrushes and other birds will love the additional berries next winter.

  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    If your front garden is limited in space, a Rowan which doesn't grow too big and has red berries is Sorbus sargentiana. It has large leaves  [for a Rowan] that turn fiery red in autumn. Individual berries are small and red, but there are lots of berries in each panicle.

  • dpndpn Posts: 1
    I'm new to gardening and have just planted a Rowan Joseph Rock tree. I searched for a tree that didn't attract bees and wasps but one that was pretty to look at. After buying from a reputable nursery I discovered rust on most of the leaves. Now I'm reading it's the worst tree I could have bought! Why are they grown at all if they're so riddled with disease?!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,069
    They aren't all riddled with disease. Your growing conditions will also dictate what happens. In the wrong conditions, the native doesn't grow well, as mentioned in previous posts. Cultivated varieties are often less tough than species too. My sister has Joseph Rock and it's always healthy.  
    Not sure why you want a tree that doesn't attract bees either. If a tree flowers, then fruits, pollinating insects [bees and wasps]  are what makes that happen. It would have been better to buy the other Sorbus - whitebeam, which has such small flowers you hardly see them :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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