The Rowan or Mountain Ash is perhaps the prettiest of our native trees. With delicate leaves, which create a light canopy, clusters of creamy flowers, scarlet-orange berries and good autumn leaf colour, it looks good through much of the year. Thoroughly hardy (it grows well in the far north of Scotland) and trouble-free to grow, it has excellent wildlife value and is equally attractive in urban gardens as it is in woodland.
Site and soil
Able to grow well in most soils, although is does best on lighter soils and tolerates very acidic soils. Good at high altitudes and in exposed conditions.
Height and spread
Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;
After 10 years: 8m x 3m After 20 years: 12m x 5m
Leaf and bark
The leaves are pinnate, with up to 12 slender toothed leaflets, mid-green, turning red in autumn before leaf fall. The bark is smooth, grey-brown, with dark lenticels.
Flower, seed and fruit
The small creamy-white flowers are borne in clusters, or corymbs up to 12cm across in May. These are followed by scarlet-orange berries in autumn, which are quickly eaten by birds.
Woodland, gardens, specimen tree, avenues. The timber is used for cart wheels, handles and other small items. A preserve is made from the berries to accompany meat and in Europe a spirit has been distilled from them. The berries have also been used medicinally. The Rowan features in folklore, and it was often planted in cottage gardens to protect from witchcraft, and in churchyards to prevent the dead from leaving their graves.
Numerous insects, including bees and bumblebees visit the flowers in spring. Many birds, including fieldfares and redwings feast on the berries and deer and Mountain Hares eat the foliage and bark in winter. Many moths and butterflies are supported by the Rowan, including the Case-bearer and Chinese Character Moths. The tree is a good host for lichens in the wetter west and north of Britain, and it is a pioneer species in Scotland.
The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:
When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golden rule is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.
Vole, Mice 20cm
Roe Deer, Muntjac 1.20m
Fallow Deer 1.50m
Pest & Minimum Protection Height
Protection Type Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.