European Americans used sourwood as a tonic, decoction, pills made from solid tree tissues, and as a tincture. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. I think they would look better trimmed. The trunk of a sourwood tree is straight and slender, the bark fissured and gray, and the crown narrow. Family. 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). If you are planting sourwood trees, you’ll do best to grow them in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. 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. I have two Sourwood trees growing. 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. The trees typically grow 25 feet tall in your backyard, but can shoot up to 60 feet tall in the wild. I … Below is a list of some common pests you may be facing along with links for more detailed information. Leaf spot and twig blight infrequently occur on the Sourwood tree. 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. The juice from the leaves is also used to make sourwood jelly. Leaf spot diseases should be taken seriously if they result in moderate to complete leaf loss two to four years in a row. Ericaceae -- Heath family. Sourwood is a deciduous narrow tree with rounded top and drooping branches. Grow sourwood trees in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. This site was last updated on December 18, 2020. 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. In optimal conditions, Sourwood Tree Seedlings can live for one to two hundred years. 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. 04-28-2015, 07:18 PM #5 GaryG74 Send mail to cgcass0@uky.edu with questions about this site. They are about 20 ft. high. Sour-wood can be grown in Zones 5 (perhaps 4) to 9. Sourwood products were used to treat urinary problems (increase urine flow / diuretic), enlarged prostrate, bowel troubles, diarrhea, dysentery, stomach ache, and fever. Sourwood trees offer delight in every season. Sign up for our newsletter. 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. 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Just like diseases, tree-damaging pests to look out for depend on the type of tree and the region. Irrigation is required during hot, dry weather to keep leaves on the tree. The leaves of Sourwood trees help eliminate the feeling of dry mouth, yet should not be swallowed. The leaves are used as a thirst-quencher by hikers and mountain climbers, and were once brewed to make a tonic. “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. It is rumored that the Cherokee and Catawba tribes used the flower shoots for arrow shafts. 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 is an attractive tree with white flowers in early summer and excellent fall color. Water them during dry weather, even after they mature, since they are intolerant of drought. 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. 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. Its roots are shallow and easily disturbed, so plant from young, balled-and-burlapped stock. This plant does not like to be transplanted so only do so with young plants. They can grow to 8 inches (20 cm.) The largest known sourwood in North America is in Robbinsville, N.C. The tree does reasonably well in dry, neutral soils. It is reportedly sensitive to air pollution injury. Leaf spot diseases weaken trees and shrubs by interrupting photosynthesis. Oxydendrum arboretum, Sourwood Tree By: Ginny Rosenkranz, University of Maryland Extension. 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. They kind of look like Christmas trees now. The tree grows slowly and only needs minor pruning attention. The sourwood tree can be grown in partial shade or full sun and is also free of pests! The common name derives from the sour taste of the leaves, which are finely-toothed and glossy. They hang on the tree after leaf drop and lend ornamental winter interest. For undergraduate student information regarding the Sustainable Agriculture program, contact Dr. Krista Jacobsen at (859) 257-3921, or krista.jacobsen@uky.edu. Sourwood tree growth is fairly rapid. Sourwood can be grown in Zones 5 (perhaps 4) to 9. 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. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! 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. If you are thinking of planting sourwood trees, you'll want to learn more sourwood tree information. Sourwood makes an excellent specimen tree, and can also be used in shrub borders with Rhododendron, Pieris and Leucothoe. Sourwood flowers are very attractive to bees, and sourwood honey is common in the South. Sourwood or the sorrel tree is a beautiful tree with glossy foliage that soothes the eye and delivers a feel of eminent tranquility. It has a few pest or disease problems such as webworm and twig blight, but is easily treated. 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. long and look a little like peach leaves. This tree requires an acid soil and thus can be difficult to grow in northern Illinois. Click this article to learn about the planting and care of sourwood trees. Here is more on this. Its interesting to read up on sourwood tree facts. The wood is also red-brown, with lighter sapwood. It's profoundly furrowed and scaly in texture. An Equal Opportunity University. Sourwood tree growth is fairly rapid. Trees typically grow up to about 30 feet in height and 20 feet in spread. It is best transplanted in spring, and kept well-watered and mulched until established. Sourwood was introduced into the landscape in 1747. Although they will tolerate partial shade, you’ll get less flowers and the fall color will not be as bright. WARNING: Some websites to which these materials provide links for the convenience of users are not managed by the University of Kentucky. Should I skirt them as they grow to the ground and I have noticed moss under them. Site design : Academic Web Pages. Some decorative coasters have also been created using sourwood trees. However pruning the tree properly when it is young will ensure it develops good form and structure. Sourwood's wood is hard and has red-tinged brown heartwood and thick layers of pale sapwood. Sourwood Tree Seedlings typically grows at a rate of twelve to twenty-four inches a year. Small branches are mild yellow-green at first but change to a red-brown when the tree matures. 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. Blossoms bloom on sender panicles and have a faint fragrance. 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. Plant the trees in full sun. Sourwood thrive along road cuts, often sprouting from stumps left behind. Planting sourwood next to black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) makes for a great fall color combination. The Sourwood tree, also called the Oxydendrum arboreum in scientific terminology, is an aboriginal plant of North America. If you are thinking of planting sourwood trees, you’ll want to learn more sourwood tree information. Prevent the problem with weekly watering during dry spells when it’s actively growing. The bark of Sourwood trees is gray with a hint of red. Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Fall webworm is an occasional problem. Sourwood has no serious pest problems. Sourwood Tree Seedlings is not affected by any significant diseases or pests. I am in RI and above their natural habitat but they are doing great except for the base of the tree being full. 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. ... Butterfly Bush Problems With Butterfly Bushes: Common Butterfly Bush Pests And Diseases. 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