Tree Information

Specialities

Tolerances

Wet Soil: Low

Dry Soil: Medium

Lime: Medium

Sorbus torminalis, commonly known as the Wild Service or Checker tree, is a deciduous tree that is native to the UK. It is valued for both its aesthetic appeal and ecological contributions.

The Checker tree typically grows to a moderate height, presenting ascending, spreading branches. Its bark is smooth and grey and its leaves are maple-like, sharply-lobed and glossy. These are dark green through spring and summer, then turn bronze-marmalade to purple in autumn, before falling.

In late spring, Sorbus torminalis produces small, creamy flowers that attract pollinators. These give way to russet-brown edible fruits that have a unique flavour. Historically, these were used to produce a traditional alcoholic drink.

The Wild Service tree holds ecological significance. It provides food and habitat for various bird species and insects. Additionally, it adapts well to a range of soil types, thriving in well-drained and moderately fertile conditions.

 

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Size

Medium

8m high x 4m wide after 25 years

Environment

Great for planting as a specimen tree in parks and gardens, or as part of mixed woodlands.

Canopy

Crown is rounded and will eventually become broadly spreading as it matures.

Foliage

Maple-like leaves that are sharply-lobed and dark-green. These transition to warm hues of red and purple in autumn, before dropping.

Bark

Reddish-brown twigs and grey-brown bark that peels.

Flowers

Creamy white clusters of flower in spring.

Fruit

Light brown, oval and edible.

Resilience

Grows in most soils including dry, but will thrive in nutrient rich soils. Tolerates some drought, frost and wind.

Wildlife

Flowers are highly valuable for bees and butterflies. Fruits are a great food source for birds in the winter.

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