Trees are slow growing and sensitive to air pollution, poor drainage, root disturbance, and soil compaction. " Sourwood makes an excellent specimen tree, and can also be used in shrub borders with Rhododendron, Pieris and Leucothoe. Read on to learn about the planting and care of sourwood trees. Size: City trees are usually about 25-30' at maturity. Sourwood tree growth is fairly rapid. 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. 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. They are about 20 ft. high. If you are thinking of planting sourwood trees, you’ll want to learn more sourwood tree information. Trees typically grow up to about 30 feet in height and 20 feet in spread. It is rumored that the Cherokee and Catawba tribes used the flower shoots for arrow shafts. Its roots are shallow and easily disturbed, so plant from young, balled-and-burlapped stock. 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. Click here, then click on your county either on the map or from the list of counties below it. It is 118 feet tall with a 2-foot trunk. If so when should I prune the lower branches. Sourwood Tree Seedlings typically grows at a rate of twelve to twenty-four inches a year. Sourwood thrive along road cuts, often sprouting from stumps left behind. 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. 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 trees offer delight in every season. If you are planting sourwood trees, you’ll do best to grow them in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. They hang on the tree after leaf drop and lend ornamental winter interest. 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. Grow sourwood trees in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Below is a list of some common pests you may be facing along with links for more detailed information. Origin: US native - Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee – grows along stream banks. The trees typically grow 25 feet tall in your backyard, but can shoot up to 60 feet tall in the wild. Leaf spot diseases weaken trees and shrubs by interrupting photosynthesis. Planting sourwood next to black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) makes for a great fall color combination. The tree does reasonably well in dry, neutral soils. They kind of look like Christmas trees now. 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. Sourwood's wood is hard and has red-tinged brown heartwood and thick layers of pale sapwood. For graduate student information, contact Dr. Doug Archbold at 859-257-3352, or darchbol@uky.edu, Sourwood - Oxydendrum arboreumHeath Family (Ericaceae). It should be transplanted as a young, balled-and-burlapped or container-grown plant. The trunk of a sourwood tree is straight and slender, the bark fissured and gray, and the crown narrow. The tree grows slowly and only needs minor pruning attention. Oxydendrum arboretum, Sourwood Tree By: Ginny Rosenkranz, University of Maryland Extension. The juice from the leaves is also used to make sourwood jelly. Its honey, which has a medium to light color with heavy body, is slow to granulate. I am in RI and above their natural habitat but they are doing great except for the base of the tree being full. Sourwood can be grown in Zones 5 (perhaps 4) to 9. If you are thinking of planting sourwood trees, you'll want to learn more sourwood tree information. A sourwood faced with combined heat and drought drops its leaves. Lumber is used for tool handles and was once used to make wagon sled runners. Sourwood has no serious pest problems. Sourwood, the lone species of the genus, is found in woodlands and along streams of eastern North America. Sourwood has no serious pest problems. The Sourwood Tree is a slow grower with an upright oval crown that is 25-30 feet high and 20 feet wide. European Americans used sourwood as a tonic, decoction, pills made from solid tree tissues, and as a tincture. Culture: Sun to part shade. Sourwood or the sorrel tree is a beautiful tree with glossy foliage that soothes the eye and delivers a feel of eminent tranquility. Copyright 2020, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. A young sourwood tree may begin to flower when it is only 3 to 4 feet tall. 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. “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. 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. I have two Sourwood trees growing. I thought about getting some sourwood trees but have heard they only produce nectar at very specific altitudes and under very specific conditions. It’s interesting to read up on sourwood tree facts. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Leaf spot and twig blight infrequently occur on the Sourwood tree. Sourwood's bark is grayish brown tinged with red, and deeply furrowed with scaly ridges. Sour-wood can be grown in Zones 5 (perhaps 4) to 9. The bark of Sourwood trees is gray with a hint of red. Plant the trees in full sun. 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. To take care of sourwood trees, don’t stint on water. 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. In time, the flowers produce dry seed capsules that ripen in autumn. Sourwood is an attractive tree with white flowers in early summer and excellent fall color. Irrigation is required during hot, dry weather to keep leaves on the tree. this difficulty can be overcome by studying the conditions under which it grows best. It has a few pest or disease problems such as webworm and twig blight, but is easily treated. They are fairly low maintenance trees with only fall webworms becoming a problem. It is best transplanted in spring, and kept well-watered and mulched until established. Send mail to cgcass0@uky.edu with questions about this site. The centerpiece was a young tree with long, pendulous seed capsules hanging delicately from its branches. Sourwood tree facts tell you that the scientific name is Oxydendrum arboretum. They can grow to 8 inches (20 cm.) 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. Water them during dry weather, even after they mature, since they are intolerant of drought. 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. Sourwood Tree Seedlings is not affected by any significant diseases or pests. Older trees will display blocky bark that add interest to a winter landscape. This site was last updated on December 18, 2020. Site design : Academic Web Pages. Sourwood flowers are very attractive to bees, and sourwood honey is common in the South. The sourwood tree can be grown in partial shade or full sun and is also free of pests! 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. Some decorative coasters have also been created using sourwood trees. The university does not review, control or take responsibility for the contents of those sites. Sourwood was introduced into the landscape in 1747. The wood is also red-brown, with lighter sapwood. 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). Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. 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. Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Fall webworm is an occasional problem. Click this article to learn about the planting and care of sourwood trees. Its interesting to read up on sourwood tree facts. The Sourwood tree, also called the Oxydendrum arboreum in scientific terminology, is an aboriginal plant of North America. In its native habitat Sourwood can grow up to 60' x 100'. An Equal Opportunity University. Sourwood typically develops into a broadly conical tree with branches that droop toward their tips, giving it a graceful appearance. The common name derives from the sour taste of the leaves, which are finely-toothed and glossy. 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. 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. For undergraduate student information regarding the Sustainable Agriculture program, contact Dr. Krista Jacobsen at (859) 257-3921, or krista.jacobsen@uky.edu. The leaves are used as a thirst-quencher by hikers and mountain climbers, and were once brewed to make a tonic. Provide the trees with generous irrigation all growing season when they are young. Like many other native trees, the Sourwood tree can be found growing in acidic soil, on wooded and rocky slopes. It's profoundly furrowed and scaly in texture. The largest known sourwood in North America is in Robbinsville, N.C. The leaves of Sourwood trees help eliminate the feeling of dry mouth, yet should not be swallowed. Blossoms bloom on sender panicles and have a faint fragrance. I think they would look better trimmed. 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. Common: Sourwood Tree, Lily-of-the-Valley Tree or Sorrel Tree. Since your tree is a foundation planting, you might want to have your soil tested by your local Penn State Extension. The scientific name for sourwood comes from the Greek words oxys (acid) and dendron (tree) and refers to the sour taste of its leaves. 04-28-2015, 07:18 PM #5 GaryG74 Sign up for our newsletter. You may also appreciate sourwood tree information about the flowers, which are attractive to bees. The ideal soil is moist and rich in organic content. However pruning the tree properly when it is young will ensure it develops good form and structure. This tree requires an acid soil and thus can be difficult to grow in northern Illinois. 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. It is reportedly sensitive to air pollution injury. ... Butterfly Bush Problems With Butterfly Bushes: Common Butterfly Bush Pests And Diseases. Leaf spot diseases should be taken seriously if they result in moderate to complete leaf loss two to four years in a row. I … The trunk of a sourwood tree is straight and slender, the bark fissured and gray, and the crown narrow. Here is a quote about sourwood: "Trees grow best in moist, well-drained acidic soils in full sun to light shade. Ronald P. Overton. This plant does not like to be transplanted so only do so with young plants. U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness, Different Types Of Sorrel – Learn About Common Sorrel Varieties, Using Sorrel Herbs – How To Prepare Sorrel Plants, Sorrel Plant Uses – Tips On Using Sorrel Herbs In Cooking, Wintercreeper Control – How To Get Rid Of Wintercreeper Plants, Getting Rid Of Chinese Privet: How To Kill Chinese Privet Shrubs, Upright Boxwood Plants – Growing Fastigiata Boxwood Bushes, Problems With Butterfly Bushes: Common Butterfly Bush Pests And Diseases, Pears And Fire Blight: How To Treat Pear Tree Blight, Hardy Kiwi Diseases: How To Treat A Sick Kiwi Plant, Feeding Amaryllis Plants – Learn How And When To Fertilize Amaryllis Bulbs, Spruce Trees For Landscaping - Spruce It Up With Evergreens, Western Juniper Trees: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, Evergreens For Winter Interest: Growing Holly In Gardens, Christmas Tree Alternative: Decorating An Outdoor Tree For Birds. The flowers are white and appear on the branches in summer. For general undergraduate student information, contact Dr. Rick Durham at (859) 257-3249, or rdurham@uky.edu. Growing sourwood tree: Sourwood will be undaunted by pests, diseases, or minor cultural problems if it gets the well-drained, acid soil it requires. Just like diseases, tree-damaging pests to look out for depend on the type of tree and the region. Prevent the problem with weekly watering during dry spells when it’s actively growing. Sourwood products were used to treat urinary problems (increase urine flow / diuretic), enlarged prostrate, bowel troubles, diarrhea, dysentery, stomach ache, and fever. Here is more on this. Sourwood Trees have a reputation of being very difficult to grow in domestication. 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. Oxydendrum arboreum (L.) DC.. Sourwood. Ericaceae -- Heath family. 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