A native deciduous tree with upright sweeping branches and a rounded canopy, the Wild Service Tree is generally found in old woodlands and hedgerows but can sometimes be found within parks and large gardens. It grows to a medium-sized tree on a wide variety of soils. For much of the year, the Wild Service Tree is inconspicuous but it comes to life in spring with a display of pretty white blossom, and provides strong autumn colour as the leaves turn a rich, coppery red colour before falling to the ground.
Site and soil
Sorbus torminalis is suitable for sandy and clay soils but does prefer well-draining soil. It can grow in semi-shade or no shade and is tolerant of strong winds and is resistant to frost.
Height and spread
Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;
After 10 years: 5m x 3m
After 20 years: 12m x 8m
Leaf and bark
The leaf buds on a Wild Service Tree are green and round, and form on short leaf stalks. Leaves are lobed, like maple, which turn a coppery red colour before falling in autumn.
The bark is smooth and a greyish colour, peeling away in square plates to reveal darker brown layers underneath.
Flower, seed and fruit
Small white five petal flowers form in clusters in late spring to early summer, which are pollinated by insects. The flowers develop into green-brown small oval shaped fruits, also known as Chequers, which are patterned with tiny pale spots when mature in autumn.
The Wild Service Tree is normally planted within woodlands, but it can also be used within a hedgerow, or planted within parks or large gardens. The timber can be used as firewood, burning slowly with good heat.
The flowers of the Wild Service Tree provide pollen and nectar for insects, whilst the fruits are eaten by birds.
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.
The Wild Service Tree rarely needs pruning but if it is required, light pruning should be undertaken during late winter and early spring, outside of the growing season. Hard pruning is not recommended for this tree.