A native tree of North America, the sourwood is one of the few endemic trees that is not found in other continents unless planted and has no related species. Here is more on this. Culture: Sun to part shade. The trees typically grow 25 feet (7.6 m.) tall in your backyard, but can shoot up to 60 feet (18 m.) tall in the wild. The trunk of a sourwood tree is straight and slender, the bark fissured and gray, and the crown narrow. The flowers are white and appear on the branches in summer. Leaf spot diseases weaken trees and shrubs by interrupting photosynthesis. Origin: US native - Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee – grows along stream banks. I think they would look better trimmed. Site design : Academic Web Pages. The Sourwood Tree is a member of the Heath family of which there are 70 Genera and 1800 species distributed through the temperate portions of the planet. Lumber is used for tool handles and was once used to make wagon sled runners. The bark of Sourwood trees is gray with a hint of red. It is best transplanted in spring, and kept well-watered and mulched until established. Although they will tolerate partial shade, you’ll get less flowers and the fall color will not be as bright. Sourwood Tree, Oxydendrum arboretum By Gretchen Spencer, Fairfax Master Gardener I saw my first sourwood tree about two years ago when a neighbor landscaped the corner of her property. Provide the trees with generous irrigation all growing season when they are young. The largest known sourwood in North America is in Robbinsville, N.C. If you’ve never heard of sourwood trees, you have missed out on one of the most beautiful native species. The university does not review, control or take responsibility for the contents of those sites. The juice from the leaves is also used to make sourwood jelly. Common: Sourwood Tree, Lily-of-the-Valley Tree or Sorrel Tree. Sourwood flowers are very attractive to bees, and sourwood honey is common in the South. Sourwood typically develops into a broadly conical tree with branches that droop toward their tips, giving it a graceful appearance. Like many other native trees, the Sourwood tree can be found growing in acidic soil, on wooded and rocky slopes. The leaves are used as a thirst-quencher by hikers and mountain climbers, and were once brewed to make a tonic. It's profoundly furrowed and scaly in texture. Blossoms bloom on sender panicles and have a faint fragrance. Sourwood's wood is hard and has red-tinged brown heartwood and thick layers of pale sapwood. Sour-wood can be grown in Zones 5 (perhaps 4) to 9. The centerpiece was a young tree with long, pendulous seed capsules hanging delicately from its branches. The tree grows slowly and only needs minor pruning attention. I am in RI and above their natural habitat but they are doing great except for the base of the tree being full. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! If left on their own, sourwood can develop poor architecture and become aesthetically less pleasing. Grow sourwood trees in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. A sourwood faced with combined heat and drought drops its leaves. The bell-shaped, 1/4- to 1/3-inch white flowers crowd into panicles up to 10 inches long which dangle from the tips of drooping branches in midsummer. European Americans used sourwood as a tonic, decoction, pills made from solid tree tissues, and as a tincture. You may also appreciate sourwood tree information about the flowers, which are attractive to bees. Prevent the problem with weekly watering during dry spells when it’s actively growing. Click this article to learn about the planting and care of sourwood trees. The Sourwood tree, also called the Oxydendrum arboreum in scientific terminology, is an aboriginal plant of North America. However pruning the tree properly when it is young will ensure it develops good form and structure. Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Fall webworm is an occasional problem. This tree will not tolerate dry, compacted, alkaline soils or deicing salt, and is sensitive to root disturbance, so it is not ideal for urban areas. Leaf spot and twig blight infrequently occur on the Sourwood tree. Oxydendrum arboretum, Sourwood Tree By: Ginny Rosenkranz, University of Maryland Extension. Send mail to [email protected] with questions about this site. Some decorative coasters have also been created using sourwood trees. An Equal Opportunity University. The scientific name for sourwood comes from the Greek words oxys (acid) and dendron (tree) and refers to the sour taste of its leaves. It should be transplanted as a young, balled-and-burlapped or container-grown plant. Should I skirt them as they grow to the ground and I have noticed moss under them. Sourwood, the lone species of the genus, is found in woodlands and along streams of eastern North America. 04-28-2015, 07:18 PM #5 GaryG74 N-318 Ag Sciences Center University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 40546-0091, Fax (Lexington): 859-257-2859       (Princeton): 270-365-2667, For questions about home gardening, landscaping or commercial horticulture production, please contact your county extension agent. Older trees will display blocky bark that add interest to a winter landscape. Ericaceae -- Heath family. I … this difficulty can be overcome by studying the conditions under which it grows best. Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) grows in the upland forests of the southeastern United States.Also known as sorrel-tree or lily-of-the-valley-tree, its flowers are an important source of honey in some areas but it is of little value as a timber species. The sourwood tree can be grown in partial shade or full sun and is also free of pests! This plant (named for the sour taste of its leaves) forms a pyramidal tree to 30 feet tall, with canoe-shaped, glossy leaves that turn vivid maroon, yellow, or purple in autumn. It’s interesting to read up on sourwood tree facts. This tree will not tolerate dry, compacted, alkaline soils or deicing salt, and is sensitive to root disturbance, so it is not ideal for urban areas. Small branches are mild yellow-green at first but change to a red-brown when the tree matures. Sign up for our newsletter. Plant the trees in full sun. It is reportedly sensitive to air pollution injury. 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In the open it forms a short, often leaning trunk dividing into several stout, ascending limbs [].The inflorescence is a raceme emanating from a central axis. Trees are slow growing and sensitive to air pollution, poor drainage, root disturbance, and soil compaction. " They are about 20 ft. high. In its native habitat Sourwood can grow up to 60' x 100'. It is rumored that the Cherokee and Catawba tribes used the flower shoots for arrow shafts. The tree does reasonably well in dry, neutral soils. It is 118 feet tall with a 2-foot trunk. For undergraduate student information regarding the Sustainable Agriculture program, contact Dr. Krista Jacobsen at (859) 257-3921, or [email protected] A native tree of North America, the sourwood is one of the few endemic trees that is not found in other continents unless planted and has no related species. long and look a little like peach leaves. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Sourwood grows well in confined soil spaces with good drainage making it a candidate for urban plantings but is largely untried as a street tree. Here is a quote about sourwood: "Trees grow best in moist, well-drained acidic soils in full sun to light shade. If you are considering planting sourwood trees, you’ll be glad to learn that the foliage produces excellent fall color, consistently turning a bright crimson. A young sourwood tree may begin to flower when it is only 3 to 4 feet tall. Just like diseases, tree-damaging pests to look out for depend on the type of tree and the region. “Sourwood” isn’t exactly a household name, but if more people knew about this exquisite ornamental tree’s charms, it would be as warmly embraced as Flowering Dogwoods and Japanese Maples. Sourwood tree growth is fairly rapid. ... Butterfly Bush Problems With Butterfly Bushes: Common Butterfly Bush Pests And Diseases. This medium-sized tree is slow growing, but once it starts to reach its height at maturity (up to 30 feet) the reward makes the wait worth it (hardiness zones 5-9). I have two Sourwood trees growing. They are fairly low maintenance trees with only fall webworms becoming a problem. If so when should I prune the lower branches. Most leaf spot diseases affect only a small percentage of the tree's overall leaf area, and are a minor stress on the health of the tree. The name Sourwood is derived from the acrid taste of its leaves, but tea made from these leaves is widely used by mountain climbers as a … Sourwood products were used to treat urinary problems (increase urine flow / diuretic), enlarged prostrate, bowel troubles, diarrhea, dysentery, stomach ache, and fever. To take care of sourwood trees, don’t stint on water. Leaf spot diseases should be taken seriously if they result in moderate to complete leaf loss two to four years in a row. The trunk of a sourwood tree is straight and slender, the bark fissured and gray, and the crown narrow. It has a few pest or disease problems such as webworm and twig blight, but is easily treated. Sourwood thrive along road cuts, often sprouting from stumps left behind. In the late Summer, drooping clusters of fragrant Lily-of-the-Valley-like white flowers add an interesting and unique look to the Sourwood Tree. Below is a list of some common pests you may be facing along with links for more detailed information. Sourwood is a deciduous narrow tree with rounded top and drooping branches. Sourwood Tree Seedlings is not affected by any significant diseases or pests. Growing sourwood tree: Sourwood will be undaunted by pests, diseases, or minor cultural problems if it gets the well-drained, acid soil it requires. The ideal soil is moist and rich in organic content. Sourwood is an attractive tree with white flowers in early summer and excellent fall color. The leaves of Sourwood trees help eliminate the feeling of dry mouth, yet should not be swallowed. Size: City trees are usually about 25-30' at maturity. This plant does not like to be transplanted so only do so with young plants. Sourwood's bark is grayish brown tinged with red, and deeply furrowed with scaly ridges. Its roots are shallow and easily disturbed, so plant from young, balled-and-burlapped stock. Sourwood can be grown in Zones 5 (perhaps 4) to 9. Sourwood was introduced into the landscape in 1747. If you are thinking of planting sourwood trees, you’ll want to learn more sourwood tree information. Sourwood has no serious pest problems. Read on to learn about the planting and care of sourwood trees. For general undergraduate student information, contact Dr. Rick Durham at (859) 257-3249, or [email protected] They kind of look like Christmas trees now. Sourwood makes an excellent specimen tree, and can also be used in shrub borders with Rhododendron, Pieris and Leucothoe. Ronald P. Overton. Sourwood Trees have a reputation of being very difficult to grow in domestication. The wood is also red-brown, with lighter sapwood. Sourwood tree facts tell you that the scientific name is Oxydendrum arboretum. Family. If you are thinking of planting sourwood trees, you'll want to learn more sourwood tree information. The name Sourwood is derived from the acrid taste of its leaves, but tea made from these leaves is widely used by mountain climbers as a … Sourwood tree growth is fairly rapid. Trees typically grow up to about 30 feet in height and 20 feet in spread. This tree requires an acid soil and thus can be difficult to grow in northern Illinois. Irrigation is required during hot, dry weather to keep leaves on the tree. In time, the flowers produce dry seed capsules that ripen in autumn. Copyright 2020, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Planting sourwood next to black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) makes for a great fall color combination. Since your tree is a foundation planting, you might want to have your soil tested by your local Penn State Extension. Its honey, which has a medium to light color with heavy body, is slow to granulate. Sourwood trees offer delight in every season. Its interesting to read up on sourwood tree facts. GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Sourwood is a native, deciduous, medium-sized tree, 40 to 60 feet (12-15 m) tall [13,30].It develops a slender trunk and small crown in dense stands. I thought about getting some sourwood trees but have heard they only produce nectar at very specific altitudes and under very specific conditions. For graduate student information, contact Dr. Doug Archbold at 859-257-3352, or [email protected], Sourwood - Oxydendrum arboreumHeath Family (Ericaceae). Click here, then click on your county either on the map or from the list of counties below it. This site was last updated on December 18, 2020. Sourwood trees, also called sorrel trees, offer delight in every season, with flowers in summer, brilliant color in fall and ornamental seed pods in winter. Sourwood has no serious pest problems. The common name derives from the sour taste of the leaves, which are finely-toothed and glossy. Oxydendrum arboreum (L.) DC.. Sourwood. WARNING: Some websites to which these materials provide links for the convenience of users are not managed by the University of Kentucky. In the wild, its bark often looks blocky like that of persimmon. Water them during dry weather, even after they mature, since they are intolerant of drought. The Sourwood Tree is a slow grower with an upright oval crown that is 25-30 feet high and 20 feet wide. If you are planting sourwood trees, you’ll do best to grow them in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. 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