Anyone grown/eaten Serviceberries?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
In looking (drooling over) the newly arrived garden catalogs, I noticed Serviceberry bushes/trees. The advertisement claims they taste like blueberries, but can be grown in the north successfully, without acid soil. Sounds perfect for me, but I've never tried them. If anyone has, did they grow well and produce well? Taste like blueberries? Or is this too good to be true? I hope Brad is still holding my flying pigs, as when those blackberry plants that produce a gallon per plant come in this spring, I'm ready to trade! Jan
-- Jan in Colorado (Janice12@aol.com), December 30, 2000
I've put in a few bushes that are just starting to get to bearing size. The taste is similar to blueberries (more than say, a blackberry or a raspberry), but they are seedier. That doesn't bother me tho. I also have several wild trees marked that I visit, and several I don't because the taste is lackluster(and the birds eat those anyway). I don't know what my ultimate yield will be (I've planted both shrub types and tree varieties), but the early fruit is good tasting. I will advise planting only named cultivars however, esp. if you can find any of the ones suggested for fruit planting -- I understand that there are a number of good cultivars out in western canada.
-- Julie Froelich (email@example.com), December 31, 2000.
They grow wild here.They do have a taste similar to blueberries but are very seedy.Nothing to get excited about.You could try acidifying some of your soil and plant blueberries instead.Cottonseed meal and peat work well for that.
-- JT in nw Fl (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 31, 2000.
I second JT's opinion. Or use old sawdust and mulch regularly with pine bark mulch helps as well. We have blueberries growing in our limey soil and that is what I do. Also ,some newer varieties are less acid loving,we planted Sunshine Blue,but that may not be hardy enough for your climate.
Plant a couple serviceberries as well,if for nothing else but the birds and the first of the season spring flowers.One of my favorite small trees.We call them sarvisberry.
I pretty much discount any "tastes like" advertisements,as I found they rarely do.Each has it's own special taste.We made serviceberry pie growing up,from the bush species,and it was delicious,but seedy.But like a blueberry? Well maybe kinda.
-- sharon wt (email@example.com), December 31, 2000.
I've eaten many from wild trees. They very from tree to tree from blueberry-ish to tart to rather bland. Two advantages they have over blueberries is they are trees, not shrubs, and the early spring blooms are very showy. They bloom before the dogwoods even. This year mine got hit my a late hard freeze, and I didn't get any berries.
-- paul (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 31, 2000.
Hmm. Thanks, everyone for the info. I may try a bush or two, just for kicks. Here in dry, cold, windy eastern Colorado, it's hard to get fruits producing well. My raspberry patch never produced well, and the immature berries were always wiped out by grasshoppers. I can grow strawberries, and have a couple young chokecherry bushes, and loads of native plum bushes that are in their third year, so hopefully will start producing soon. I may try some currants, elderberrys, etc. I've planted blueberries before, used additives and peat to acidify the soil, and the bushes just died during the first year. Same with grapes. The vines usually die during the cold, dry winters, even with periodic watering. I think the winds just kill off the vines. Thanks again for the inputs! Jan
-- Jan in Colorado (Janice12@aol.com), December 31, 2000.
I understand that lots of people have trouble with starting blueberries -- we never do around here, but then, they grow wild all over the place (I've also marked out my old burn areas for harvesting, altho the bears have too...) and one thing that most sources don't mention about establishing blueberries (if you want to try again for interest) is that you are going to need the mycorrhizal fungus that establishes in the roots to get them to grow well. It abounds around here due to this being old forest area where it seems to be naturally present, but I have heard from many blueberry growers that if they don't add it at planting, the bushes frequently fail. You can buy it now on the market commercially, and I add a couple tablespoons to planting holes on all shrubs now to jump-start them. It costs about $5 locally a pound, and that is enough to do a lot of bushes. Try garden centers, or I also believe that Gardener's Supply carries it, possibly also Gardens Alive! Blueberries thrive in lots of old rotted wood/leaf mold locally, so that is what I try and replicate, using very old barn litter that has sat out in the woods as long as possible (from our horse barn).
-- Julie Froelich (email@example.com), December 31, 2000.
When I lived in western NY we called them June berries or Bird berries, they were the first trees to blossom in the early spring.
-- Hendo (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 01, 2001.
Tastes like chicken. Only kidding! There are many species of juneberries or serviceberries or sarvice across most of US & Canada. Ours in W.Va. are usually small, slender trees. Now I don't know how it is elsewhere, but here there's a big difference between those growing on the high mountains and those lower down (botanically the same species). I rarely bother to eat fruit from the low-elevation trees, but the mountaintop ones are my favorite fresh fruit, bar none. They are the size & texture of a blueberry, but have a flavor more like apple. I don't like them so much cooked because that releases a bitter flavor from the seeds. I agree that they would be worth growing just for the flowers.
-- Sam in W.Va. (email@example.com), January 01, 2001.
Up here we call them Saskatoon berries and it is also the name of the nearest city to where I live (and where I used to live). Our city is named after the berries. They taste different than blueberries but if you like blueberries you'll most likely like Saskatoons. They grow wild on my acreage as do chokecherries, strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. There are also lots of different kinds of mushrooms but I don't know how to tell if I can eat them...too bad...what a waste. My soil is sandy. The "domestic" variety are a bit bigger berries but taste about the same. I LOVE them.
-- Iam (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 02, 2001.
We call them sarviceberry here, and they are the first to bloom in the spring, beautiful little clusters of star shaped flowers, a true sign that spring is here, or coming! Occasionally, they have a good year and taste good, most of the time, it's just the birds that relish them, way too seedy and tart.
-- Annie Miller in SE OH (email@example.com), January 03, 2001.