Amelanchier- juneberry, saskatoon serviceberry,etc

The amelanchier family of fruit is one that I hope to establish more of in my orchyard.
Several years ago I bought in a few named Canadian cultivars from St Lawrence nursery, and then followed up with a few selections from Oikos. These are now starting to fruit, though many of the berries are getting attacked by some bug that leaves them hollow and dry. A couple are also suckering quite a bit in the nursery row, so I should be able to multiply them when they are moved to permanent spots. Very nice bloom, just after petal fall of my apples.
I’m not sure that all these are ideally adapted to the northeast, perhaps being better suited to high plains, sandy soil and neutral or alkaline pH. There are native ones here in Maine, so I figured they were worth a try. I see them also as street or landscaping trees, and try to remember to return to pick those sweet fruit!
I would like to hear anyone else’s experiences with these , growing tips, recipes, etc.

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I would be interested to see if anyone has suggestions on where to buy some of the named varieties of Amelanchier.

St Lawrence only sells apples now, and Oikos typically only sells seedlings of their own selection.

I got a couple from Burnt Ridge Nursery this year, Northline and Smokey. The bigger of the two died, and I can’t figure out if it was damaged when I got it, or was girdled after I planted it. The other got hit hard by a baby bunny that squeezed through my deer fencing. Burnt Ridge’s prices were hard to beat at $3/ea but the size also reflected the price…

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I know of two wholesale growers in southern California: Moose Creek and Tree Of Life Nursery. I don’t know of online sellers.

I grew Western Serviceberry at my previous home in Rancho Peñasquitos. It was so loved by native birds that I had to build an enclosure to keep them out. I had a very nice crop that year - but I must say the birds’ taste for fruit is very different than mine. I removed the enclosure and never ate them again.

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Jesse, I got 3 bushes that are 4-5 years old (unknown cultivar). First finished ripening couple of days ago and the other 2 are about one week away here in Europe, zone 7A. I don’t have issues with any bugs and the plants are pretty care-free. My mother in law bought a lot of them and uses them as edible hedge. You are right it’s quite ornamental but regarding taste, in my opinion it doesn’t compare to other berries that are ripening ahead or at the same time as Amalanchier. But everyone’s taste is different so I don’t want to discourage you…just don’t plant 50 or so of them like my mother in law :slight_smile:

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They grow wild all over the place around here. The blossoms must be extremely frost hardy as they got hit hard night after night and still set lots of fruit this year.

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This was a crappy winter/spring for many fruiting species, but it has been a banner year for Juneberries. These things seem to enjoy adverse conditions and shrug off wild temperature swings.

Here are some I found 10 days ago:

The berries are all gone now; their season is done.

Juneberries are widely planted as street trees around here. Some do not fruit (male?). Some fruit profusely. They can grow in the shade, but prefer full sun. Fruits in the shade get sad looking and can get rust or mildew. Otherwise, they seem bombproof.

I would grow them if I had unlimited space, but I don’t. They are all around town anyway. In the first two weeks of June is when you can find them getting purplish ripe. Texture reminiscent of blueberry but more seedy. To me, they have a sort of apple pie flavor. I spit most of the seeds out. They have just enough flavor to make them interesting as wild forage for me.

I’ve seen a dwarf cultivar advertised as having tasty fruit somewhere. I’ll try and find that reference for you…

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Chris my experience on blossoms is like yours. They are very hardy! They don’t grow wild here but I do grow them. Zone 6 is a shade warm for them but since my bushes are established they are fine. Gene Redlin which is the owner of Byron Nursery recommended I try these. They ripened here at the same time as carmine Jewell. I have a row that yields a couple of gallons a year.


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See “Northline” serviceberry in Raintree’s catalog.

I did come across this nice resource. It has a list of cultivars.

Growing Saskatoons - A Manual For Orchardists

I had some time to look, and I do remember coming across at least one Canadian company that ships them to the US.

http://www.ppsfruittrees.com/collections/all#saskatoons

There are some growing outside my building at work. They were just getting ripe when I was leaving 3 weeks ago for vacation. I did notice in sampling them that they had much better flavor in the morning than evening.

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They grow wild here (central Alberta) but wild ones vary hugely in taste, from “this is really good!”, to “bleah, are these made out of sidewalk chalk?” I like sweet in a berry, sourness is a bad thing to me, so my fave Saskatoon (juneberry) is the named variety “Smoky”. I’ve tried a few other varieties - Northline, Thiessen, and Regent. Northline is good if you want nice Saskatoon taste but with some acidity (sourness). Here they start ripening in early July, well ahead of the sour cherries. The Robins love them and take quite a few, but there’s enough for us humans too.

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I had my Mom make a pie from my xgrandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’. To my surprise, it tasted like a cherry pie.

Dax

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Thanks for the responses folks. I know that these are not to everyone’s taste, being less acidic than many fruits, but the reports of blossom hardiness and carefree production makes them a good ‘backup’ should other crops not pan out. I try to cast my net wide with my plantings for that reason! I understand that they arent too hard to root from summer cuttings, and may try a few from my Regent in a couple weeks.
I’m still waiting for my very modest crop to ripen, maybe I should call them julyberries here!

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I also ordered a couple seedlings each of Northline and Smoky from BR this spring and put them in my orchard windbreak along with lots of other stuff (aronia, hazelnut, elderberry, seaberry, wild plum, cornelian cherry, nanking, siberian pea shrub, rugosa rose, etc). They are all doing well, though the Northline were double the size and continue to grow much more vigorously. I have limited experience with Juneberries and haven’t eaten one in years since I was on a farm in the NW, but they are hardy and fairly tasty and if I don’t get around to harvesting them hopefully they’ll distract the birds from my berries and cherries! I’m currently trying to propagate some from softwood cuttings…we’ll see. Otherwise, I’ll just dig suckers in future years.

I have 4-5 Juneberries etc. I eat them sometimes, but really don’t like the seeds all that much. Birds love them and hopefully, maybe the birds focus on them and stay off my cherries.

Shudder… well hopefully they are a trap crop for PC for you rather than a breeding ground.

Side note @kshaunfield - my scions are doing well, even though it was late and the weather was warm when they were in the mail. I did lose Crimson Crisp though to rootstock death. Not sure what happened there.

Today’s Juneberry forage off street tree a stone’s throw from my townhouse.

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Most all of my bushes set fruit this year, still a ways from ripening. Hope I can beat the birds this year…

Pic of my smoky taken last week… Still a ways from harvest!

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mine have been slow to get established…which I believe is normal for first 2 or 3 years, but should take off after that (though not a very quick grower) but I think my clay soil is also the cause of slow growth. I typically fertilize with bone meal, wood ash and our duck and goose manure and I collect coffee grounds from a local café. …but I am thinking of just putting a 10/10/10 on them and loosening up the soil for better drainage(it’s not as bad as I am making it sound)

Amelanchier canadensis is native here, we have a lot of it on our properties. The fruit is nice, but generally wiped out by the cedar waxwings. The fruit is high in the tree so difficult to pick in quantity. Has anyone grafted other serviceberry varieties to canadensis? I’ve actually grafted pear to it, but not another Amelanchier.