Looking to attract wildlife and add seasonal interest to your garden? Consider the mountain ash (Sorbus sp.), a hardy and attractive tree perfect for various landscape settings. This relatively small tree offers a striking display of flowers and berries that provide year-round beauty and bring all birds to your yard.

There are a number of different mountain ash species native to North America and Europe. Speak with your local nursery to find the right one for your area!

Why Choose Mountain Ash?

Seasonal Beauty

Mountain Ash is renowned for its eye-catching appearance throughout the seasons:

  • Spring: Fragrant clusters of white flower blooms
  • Fall: The tree produces bright scarlet berries that persist into winter
  • Autumn Foliage: Dark green leaves turn a stunning orange-red in the fall

Versatile Growing Conditions

This tree is incredibly adaptable, thriving in both dry and moist conditions. It fits well within home landscape environments, making it a versatile choice for gardeners:

  • Height: 12 metres (40 feet)
  • Spread: 3 metres (10 feet)
  • Moisture: Normal
  • Light: Prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade

Low Maintenance and High Resilience

Mountain Ash is not only beautiful but also easy to care for. It has a fast growth rate and a medium lifespan, making it a practical addition to your landscape. The tree requires low maintenance and has a low tendency to sucker, meaning it won’t spread uncontrollably.

Plant Characteristics

  • Flowers: White, showy clusters in spring
  • Berries: Bright red or orange berries that last into winter
  • Fall Colour: Reddish-orange foliage
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Suckering: Low

Landscape Uses

The mountain ash can serve various roles in your landscape:

  • Accent Tree: Its stunning seasonal displays make it an excellent focal point.
  • Wildlife Attractor: The berries provide a food source for birds and other wildlife, adding ecological value.
  • Small Spaces: With its upright, oval-headed form, it fits well in smaller yards and gardens.

How to Plant Your Mountain Ash Seedling

  1. Plant your seedling
    • Ensure the risk of major frosts is in the past (tip: do not plant your seedlings until people in your community are planting their gardens).
    • Place the seedling in the hole with the stem standing straight up and with the root collar at ground level.
  2. Water and fill the hole
    • Moisten the soil and fill your hole back in around the roots.
    • Press firmly on the soil around the stem.
    • Cover the roots completely.
  3. Water the area
    • Water thoroughly after planting.
    • Take special care watering your seedlings in poorly drained soil.
    • Do not over-water your seedlings. Stop before standing puddles form.
    • Seedlings should go through a wet-and-dry soil cycle.
    • Allow the soil to dry down before watering again.
  4. Protect your trees from pests
    • Take special precautions to keep deer, rabbits, mice, and other pests away from your seedlings.

Happy Rewilding!

The mountain ash is a versatile and hardy tree that offers both aesthetic appeal and practical benefits. Whether you’re looking to add colour, attract wildlife, or enhance your garden with minimal effort, this tree is an excellent choice. Its ability to thrive in diverse conditions and its low maintenance requirements make it a favourite among gardeners.

Project Forest has planted mountain ash species as part of the following rewilding projects: