How to Plant, Grow, and Care for American Mountain Ash Trees

Mountain ash is a compact native North American tree beloved by birds and bees. The white blossoms, bright red berries, and golden-orange fall foliage make it a delight for landscaping. Garden expert Logan Hailey digs into everything you need to know about this native ornamental.

View of the American Mountain Ash tree against a blue sky. It features a narrow, upright crown with ascending branches. The tree's compound leaves are pinnate and alternate, consisting of 9 to 15 leaflets that are lanceolate in shape and serrated along the edges. The tree produces clusters of small bright red berries.


If you love birdwatching and your yard needs some extra shade and color, an American mountain ash tree is the perfect addition to your landscape. Sorbus americana is a compact ornamental tree native to North America. It grows wild throughout the Great Lakes, New England, and the Appalachian Mountains and performs excellently in urban and suburban yards.

The thick clusters of showy white flowers are followed by vibrant red berries, adding aesthetic charm and wildlife value through summer. At the end of the season, its golden-orange autumn leaves captivate a landscape in the fall and the berries remain into winter. Mountain ash averages 15-35 feet at maturity and grows with a nice, rounded, open-top crown. Sometimes, it grows from a single trunk, but it commonly has a shrubby multi-stemmed base.

For gardeners in cool eastern regions from hardiness zones 2-6, this native tree will grow quickly without much fuss. Let’s dig into everything you need to know about growing a mountain ash tree!


Close-up of branches of the American Mountain Ash tree against a blurred background. The branches are slender and upright, forming a narrow crown adorned with compound leaves and clusters of berries. The leaves are pinnate and alternate, consisting of 9 to 15 lanceolate leaflets with serrated edges. Some leaves have dry tips. The tree produces clusters of small, bright red berries.
Plant Type Native deciduous small tree or shrub
Plant Family Rosaceae
Plant Genus Sorbus
Plant Species americana
Hardiness Zone 2-6
Planting Season Spring
Plant Maintenance Low
Plant Height 15-35 feet
Fertility Needs Low
Temperature Cold climates
Companion Plants Balsam fir, American yew, honeysuckle, woodfern
Soil Type Acidic, well-drained loamy or sandy
Plant Spacing 10-20 feet
Watering Needs Moderate to high
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Lifespan 10-50 years
Pests Borers, aphids, scale, deer
Diseases Fire Blight, cankers

History and Cultivation

American mountain ash has a rich history and intriguing folklore. The plant is one of 7 mountain ash species native to the U.S., and the genus Sorbus includes over 100 or 250 species, depending on your definition of the genus. American mountain ash (Sorbus americana) is smaller and smooth-leaved compared to the larger, hairy-leaved European mountain ash (S. aucuparia). Here are more details of this gorgeous red-berried tree and its origins.

What is American Mountain Ash?

View of a large American Mountain Ash tree in the garden against the background of a gray building with cars in the parking lot. The Mountain Ash tree is a medium-sized deciduous tree with a slender, upright crown adorned with compound leaves and clusters of vibrant berries. Its branches form a narrow canopy, and its pinnate leaves consist of 9 to 15 leaflets with serrated edges. The tree bears clusters of small, bright red berries in late summer to early fall.
Sorbus americana resemble ash trees but aren’t related.

The native Sorbus americana tree is nicknamed American mountain ash, rowan tree, dogberry, roundwood, and sometimes just mountain ash. The deciduous perennial shrub or small tree is a member of the rose (Rosaceae) family.

It is called a mountain ash because its pinnately compound leaves of lance-shaped serrated leaflets resemble ash trees. However, it is not actually related to true ash trees of the genus Fraxinus, which are members of the olive (Oleaceae) family. 

Where Does It Originate?

Close-up of branches with clusters of red berries. These clusters consist of numerous small, round berries tightly packed together, creating a dense and vibrant display against the tree's foliage.
Sorbus americana, native to Eastern U.S. and Canada, thrives in cool climates.

Sorbus americana grows wild in the Eastern U.S. from the Appalachian mountains of Georgia up to Maine and into Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Its native range also extends through Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. It is a cool climate tree that prefers cold winters and moist soils in zones 2-6.

It thrives in moist, cool, acidic soils of swamps, bogs, and rocky outcrops. We don’t recommend it for hot, humid climates or southern gardens warmer than zone 6.

This wild native has been cultivated as an ornamental since 1811 and is commonly used in home landscapes and parks.  


Close-up shot of branches adorned with berries and leaves on a blurred background. The slender branches bear clusters of vibrant red berries, tightly packed together and contrasting beautifully against the backdrop of green foliage. The compound leaves, consisting of 9 to 15 leaflets, provide a lush canopy. Some leaflets have a yellowish tint.
These ash trees, known as “witchwood” in folklore, symbolize protection and luck.

Mountain ash trees are sometimes nicknamed “witchwood.” In 18th-century Europe, many believed European mountain ash trees could cast away witches and guard your home from evil. Some people would burn the twigs outside their houses or make necklaces of the ash wood to protect themselves. When colonizers came to America and discovered this tree covering the northern landscape, they believed they were heavily protected. The five-pointed star on the berry stalks represented good luck. 

Old folklore aside, modern plantings of mountain ash are mostly good luck for native bees and birds. The showy white spring blossoms are magnets for bees, and the vibrant red summer berries draw in birds near and far. This wildlife-friendly tree is beautiful, functional, and important for local ecosystems.


Mountain ash trees can be propagated by seeds (gathered from the berries), cutting, or bare root and container trees from a nursery. 


Close-up of a tree sprout among green ground cover. The ash sprout emerges as a slender and flexible stem with delicate, alternating leaves that grow in a feather-like arrangement. The leaves are composed of several small, serrated leaflets, creating a fern-like appearance.
Cultivation from seed involves harvesting ripe fruits in early fall, extracting seeds, and planting them immediately.

Growing American mountain ash from seed is a fun and rewarding endeavor. It involves harvesting the ripe fruits (red berries) in early fall and extracting the seeds immediately. If you can’t separate the seeds right away, it’s best to store the fruits in the refrigerator to ensure good germination. 

Be sure to get to the red berries before the hungry birds do! Use clean pruners to remove the clusters and collect them in a basket or harvest container.

Signs of ripe mountain ash fruits include:

  • Early fall seasonality (August or September in the Northeast or October in warmer zones)
  • Vibrant red or orange-red color
  • About ¼ inch in size
  • Full hanging clusters

To extract the seeds from the fruit:

  1. Place the berries in a clean bucket.
  2. Use your hands or a kitchen tool like a potato masher to macerate the fruits.
  3. Press the fruits until they turn into a wet pulp.
  4. Separate the seeds from the berry pulp by leaving it to rest for a few hours.
  5. When you return, use a skimmer such as a kitchen strainer or a fine fish bowl net to remove the seeds from the surface.
  6. Scatter the seeds over a tray or screen and let them dry.
  7. It’s best to plant the seeds ASAP or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Fall is the best time to plant Sorbus americana because this is when their seeds would naturally germinate in the wild. If you want to wait until spring, you’ll have to cold-stratify the seeds in a refrigerator for 1-2 months to mimic the outdoor winter conditions. Be sure to keep them in a bag or sealed container with damp sand or vermiculite blend so they don’t dry out.

When you’re ready to plant, soak the seeds for 24 hours. Sow the seeds 1/16 inch deep and cover very lightly. You can plant them directly in the ground or in a container with a blend of sand and peat moss.

Keep the seeds consistently moist, and be very patient. Avoid heavy watering, as this can wash away the seeds. Seeds germinate erratically and may take up to a year to emerge, so plant lots of them! 


Top view of a young tree seedling in a sunny garden. The seedling has a vertical thin stem covered with delicate compound leaves. The leaves consist of oval, toothed leaflets that are bright green in color.
Propagate Sorbus americana with semi-hardwood cuttings for quicker replication, ensuring healthy new growth.

If you have access to a wild mountain ash or a friend’s garden, these attractive native trees are easy to propagate by semi-hardwood cutting. Berry collection and seed germination can be time-consuming and erratic, so propagating by cutting is a quicker way to replicate Sorbus americana. Although you won’t get as much genetic diversity as seed propagation, you’ll have baby mountain ash trees in two to three months.

Begin with a young semi-mature mountain ash with lots of healthy new growth. Older trees have a harder time regenerating and producing new branches. The best time to take cuttings is in spring and summer when the current year’s growth has turned slightly hard. 

When you look at your tree or shrub, you should be able to clearly differentiate between old growth and new growth. Semi-hardwood cuttings are like an intermediary between green (softwood) cuttings and brown (hardwood) cuttings. They are typically semi-flexible, partially green twigs that have started to semi-harden. Avoid brown old growth.

To take a cutting:

  1. Use sharp, sanitized pruners or shears.
  2. Snip a six-to-eight-inch long cutting just below a node (where a leaf connects with the main branch).
  3. Be sure the twig is at least ¼ inch wide.
  4. Repeat for as many cuttings as you’d like to take.
  5. Strip the bottom leaves so only the top one to two inches retain their foliage.
  6. Use a sharp knife to “wound” the base of the cuttings. Cut a small vertical line about one inch long along the base.
  7. Optionally, dip the bottom of cuttings in a rooting hormone.
  8. Place cuttings in a blend of sand and perlite.
  9. Maintain consistent moisture without letting the medium get soggy.
  10. Place cuttings in bright sunlight.
  11. Roots should form within four to six weeks.

Give your cuttings a slight tug to check if they’ve formed roots. If there is a slight give, they are probably good to go. If they pull out completely, check that the bottom has not rotted. Cut off the base and repeat steps 6-11 if you find rotted areas.  

Saplings grow relatively quickly and are ready to transplant in the ground as soon as they reach one to three feet tall. American mountain ash is a wild native tree that readily propagates under moist conditions in its native range. 

Bare-root or Container Trees

Close-up of a young tree with bare roots in a garden on dry gray-brown soil. A tree with bare roots appears as a dormant specimen with its roots exposed and devoid of soil. It consists of a slender trunk or stem extending from a network of fibrous roots.
Find trees at local nurseries, available in bare root, balled and burlapped, or containers.

For those seeking young trees that can quickly take off growing in their yard, your local nursery is the best option. Native plant nurseries in the Great Lakes, Northeast, and Appalachian regions are highly likely to carry American mountain ash. 

The tree is usually available in three forms:

Bare Root

Young mountain ashes are dug up in their dormant phase and sold without any soil on the roots. They can establish quickly, but are typically smaller.

Balled and Burlapped

These trees come with soil around the roots and are often available in fairly large sizes. However, B&B trees sometimes suffer from transplant shock due to losing most of their roots in the digging process. It’s important not to plant them too deeply.


Container-grown mountain ashes are available in 5-25 gallon pots. They are more expensive than bare root, but less likely to experience transplant shock like B&B trees.

When picking out a nursery tree, be sure to consider:

  • Size of the root ball: Can you handle planting it on your own or with help?
  • Trunk health: Fire blight is a major issue on mountain ash trees, causing visible cankers that look like they’ve been burned. Avoid these plants at all costs.
  • Shoots: Do the fresh green shoots grow straight upward? If they are wilted or bending downward in a hook-shape, the plant may have fire blight and should not be purchased.
  • Foliage health: Are the leaves vibrant, green, and turgid? Avoid specimens with lots of yellow, wilted, or dead foliage.
  • Pests and diseases: Check under the leaves for bugs and smell the root zone to ensure there are no signs of rot.

If you specifically want to plant the native variety, check that the species is Sorbus americana, not Sorbus aucuparia, which is the European variety. 


American mountain ash is the perfect plant for a cool-climate front yard, a native plant garden, or an exposed slope. Here’s how to plant the trees and water them properly for a strong growth start.

How to Transplant 

Close-up of a young rowan sapling protected by a plastic cover in a park among a green lawn. The young rowan sapling emerges as a slender yet sturdy stem adorned with delicate, pinnate leaves arranged in an alternating pattern along the stem. These leaves feature several pairs of small, serrated leaflets, giving the sapling a feathery appearance.
Plant or relocate mountain ash trees in early spring with full to partial sun and moist soil.

The best time to plant or relocate mountain ash trees is in early spring while they are still dormant. Before planting your seedlings or saplings, be sure that the location has full to partial sun and moist, acidic soil.

To transplant:

  1. Dig a hole three to four times the diameter of the root ball and about one and a half times the depth of the root ball.
  2. Use a shovel or pitchfork to loosen the soil along the sides of the hole.
  3. In heavy clay, amend with horticultural sand or peat moss to improve drainage.
  4. Place the tree in the hole facing straight up.
  5. For bare roots, spread the roots so they point down and outward.
  6. For containers, ensure the soil level remains the same.
  7. Backfill the soil around the base.
  8. Avoid planting mountain ash too deep. The bottom roots should be buried, and the base of the central stems should be fully above ground.
  9. Use the back of a shovel or your hand to create an indented water ring around the outer edge of the hole. This will hold more moisture and encourage perimeter roots to reach outwards.
  10. Water deeply.

Young trees need a fair amount of moisture, but it’s important that the soil never gets soggy. The key is to water deeply (i.e., enough to fully saturate the newly planted rootball) but less frequently. Use your hand to check that the first round of irrigation has penetrated the soil at least 6-12 inches deep.


Close-up of two freshly planted rowan tree seedlings in a garden. Rowan seedlings appear as slender, upright stems with small clusters of tiny emerging leaves from the stem nodes. These leaves are a compound, consisting of several small, serrated leaflets arranged in pairs or in a feather-like pattern. The foliage is a vibrant green color. Some leaves are orange-red.
Mountain ash grows as a large shrub or small tree, needing 10-30 feet of space.

Sorbus americana grows as a large multi-stemmed shrub or a small single-trunk tree. It requires at least 10 feet of space from other trees and shrubs. You can space them up to 30 feet if you’d like the tree to grow to its maximum height and spread.

How to Grow

This northeastern-native plant is easy to grow in cold climates from USDA 2 through 6. It takes off readily in the northernmost parts of its native range but may require a little more tending in urban environments. Overall, the tree is easy to grow and rewards you with one to three feet of annual growth. You can expect pretty umbel flowers and vibrant red berries after a few years of maturity. 


Close-up of a flowering Mountain ash tree in a sunny garden against a blue sky. Mountain ash leaves are compound, consisting of several pairs of small, serrated leaflets arranged along a central stem. These leaflets are bright green and have a lanceolate or elliptical shape. Mountain ash flowers are small, white or cream-colored blooms that grow in large, showy clusters called corymbs.
Site in a spot with full sun for optimal growth.

American mountain ash prefers full sun, but it will tolerate partial shade. The tree naturally grows on open slopes as well as open forest understories. It needs at least 6 hours of sunlight and enjoys more in its northern range. Maximum sunlight ensures faster growth and an abundance of flowers and berry clusters. In zones 6 and 7, it will appreciate dappled sunlight in the afternoon.


Close-up of clusters of mountain ash berries on a branch, covered with water drops. Clusters of berries are abundant and vibrant, forming dense clusters of small, round berries in shades of bright red. These clusters stand out prominently against the tree's lush green foliage. The compound leaves of the mountain ash tree consist of multiple small leaflets arranged along a central stem.
This native species thrives in moist forests, requiring deep watering but avoiding standing water.

Moisture is key for this native species. It loves the wet forests of New England and the Great Lakes. The trees struggle in dry climates and appreciate extra irrigation during times of drought. However, they do not tolerate standing water or soggy clay soils.

It’s best to water your tree deeply but less frequently. In well-drained soil, generously soak around the root zone and check that water penetrates 6-12” into the soil. 

As the trees get established, they can often subsist on the rainfall off their native cool mountain climates. If growing in a suburban or dryer environment, supplemental irrigation is essential.


Close-up of female hands checking the quality of the soil in the garden before planting. The girl is wearing blue jeans and a plaid shirt. The soil is loose, lumpy, dark brown.
This tree prefers acidic, well-drained soil enriched with sand, peat moss, and compost.

Mountain ash grows best in acidic, humus-rich, well-drained soil. Amending with sand, peat moss, and compost can improve conditions before planting. Waterlogged clay soil or dry, cracked soil will result in poorly performing, ugly trees that are more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Climate and Temperature

Close-up of a tree covered with snow. The tree's bare branches adorned with clusters of berries. The slender branches extend gracefully, showing dense clusters of small, round berries in vibrant shades of red.
Cool, mountain climates provide the ideal growing environment.

American mountain ash is hardy in USDA zones 2-6 and thrives in cool mountainous climates. It enjoys the damp chill of Northeastern forests, where it grows alongside cold-loving balsam fir, American yew, and woodfern.

This shrubby tree will not grow well in regions with hot, humid summers or dry soils. Avoid planting it in southern zones and areas with high urban pollution. 


Close-up of branches of the  rowan tree adorned with green leaves and red pomes berries on a blurred garden background. The branches are lush with dense clusters of compound leaves, each consisting of multiple small leaflets arranged along a central stem. Among the foliage, vibrant red pomes berries stand out, forming dense clusters.
Native mountain ashes require minimal fertilizer in humus-rich soil to avoid issues.

Mountain ashes are not heavy feeders. In humus-rich soil, little to no fertilizer is needed for this native species. Excessive nutrients can cause problems with insect outbreaks and diseases, so it is especially important to avoid concentrated quick-release fertilizers.


Close-up of a mountain ash tree in an autumn garden. The mountain ash's autumn leaves exhibit a spectacular display of vibrant colors, ranging from fiery reds and oranges to rich yellows. Each leaf composed of multiple small leaflets arranged along a central stem.
Minimal maintenance involves leaving fallen leaves for soil or compost and pruning as needed.

Little to no maintenance is needed to keep these trees happy and beautiful. After the trees drop their leaves in fall, you can leave them in place to nurture the soil or rake them up and add them to your compost pile. If lower stems become scraggly or diseased, prune them away in late fall to early spring while the tree is dormant.


The Sorbus genus contains over 100 or 250 species of trees and shrubs around the world, with a large concentration in Europe and North Africa. Many different species of mountain ash go by the nickname “Rowan tree.” Interestingly, American mountain ash trees are known to naturally hybridize with chokecherry shrubs (Pyrus melanocarpa and P. floribunda) in the wild. But in the world of ornamental landscaping, these three species are the most commonly available:

American Mountain Ash (S. americana)

Close-up of American Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana) against a blue sky. This is a deciduous tree which features a narrow, upright crown with ascending branches adorned with compound leaves. It produces clusters of small, bright red berries.
Native to the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, this tree is prized for autumn color.

This is the native species found growing wild throughout the Northeastern United States and up into Canada. It has an attractive form and is prized for its autumn and winter color in the garden. Do not plant it anywhere with insufficient moisture, or the trees will suffer.

Showy Mountain Ash (S. decora)

Close-up of Showy Mountain Ash tree branches. It produces glossy, dark green compound leaves consisting of 11 to 17 serrated leaflets arranged in an alternating pattern. The tree has clusters of bright red berries.
This close cousin of Sorbus americana is native to the Great Lakes states.

This close cousin of Sorbus americana is native to the Great Lakes states and looks very similar to S. americana. However, the leaves, flowers, and fruits are about three times smaller. 

European Mountain Ash (S. aucuparia)

Close-up of European Mountain Ash in a garden with a blurred background. The European Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia) is a striking deciduous tree recognized for its graceful appearance and clusters of vibrant berries. It features a rounded to oval-shaped crown adorned with pinnate leaves comprised of 9 to 17 leaflets arranged in a feather-like pattern. The tree produces large clusters of small, round orange berries.
This mountain ash is a 30-foot tree that resembles its cousins, often invasive, nicknamed Rowan tree.

The European mountain ash grows rapidly to a 30-foot-tall tree with a dense, oval crown that is prized in landscaping. It looks extremely similar to its cousins and is easy to find in nurseries. Commonly nicknamed the Rowan tree, this species is sometimes invasive and can displace the native American mountain ash in the Northeast.

Companion Plants

For a truly wildlife-friendly forest garden, plant these comrades near your American mountain ash. Moose and white-tailed deer are particularly fond of mountain ash and use them as important browsing during the winter.

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

Close-up of Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) in a garden with a blurred background. The Balsam Fir is a medium-sized evergreen tree known for its conical shape and dense, aromatic foliage. It features soft, flat needles arranged in a spiral pattern along the branches, giving the tree a lush and full appearance. The needles are dark green on the upper side and silvery-white on the underside. The Balsam Fir produces small, cylindrical cones that mature to a dark purple-brown color.
The dense evergreen fir tree thrives with mountain ash in acidic, damp soil.

This dense evergreen tree is a common canopy plant around wild mountain ash shrubs, particularly on the Isle Royale in Michigan. Both species enjoy damp, acidic soil, which is perpetuated by the fall of the fir needles. Ensure at least 30 feet of spacing between fir trees and mountain ash so they don’t become shaded or competitive.

American Yew (Taxus canadensis)

Close-up of an American Yew (Taxus canadensis) against a blurred background. The American Yew is a low-growing evergreen shrub with a dense, spreading habit. It features dark green needles arranged in a spiral pattern along the branches. The needles are flat and glossy. There are red berry-like structures on the branches.
This evergreen companion for mountain ash complements its foliage with frilly needles.

This key companion for mountain ash also occurs regularly in its native range. The attractive frilly needles of this evergreen create a verdant green backdrop to mountain ash berries and foliage.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis

Close-up of a Honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis) branch in a garden with a blurred background. It features opposite pairs of oval to lanceolate leaves with smooth edges and a vibrant green color. The Honeysuckle produces clusters of tubular, white to yellow flowers.
This plant features fragrant tubular flowers and is native to New England.

This New England native plant enjoys the same well-drained, moist soils as mountain ash. Its tubular yellow flowers and red, fleshy fruits attract hummingbirds.

Woodfern (Dryopteris disjuncta)

Close-up of a Woodfern (Dryopteris disjuncta) in the forest against a blurred background of autumn foliage. The Woodfern is a graceful fern species prized for its lush, feathery fronds and elegant appearance. It features arching, lance-shaped fronds with finely divided leaflets.
Woodferns thrive in shaded, moist environments, often planted near mountain ash trees.

The perfect plant for growing around the base of a mountain ash tree, woodferns enjoy plenty of shade and moisture. Though it’s sometimes called an oak fern, it is not usually found with oaks. This species thrives in forest gardens with coniferous trees and native shrubs like mountain ash.

Pests and Diseases

American mountain ash trees are sometimes short-lived in urban and suburban environments due to stressors like pests and diseases. Some of them are preventable, while others can only be slowed.

Fire Blight

Close-up of Sorbus aucuparia affected by Fire Blight on a blurred green background. Fire Blight displays noticeable symptoms including wilting, blackened leaves, and shriveled fruits. The disease causes the leaves to develop dark, water-soaked lesions that spread rapidly, leading to their eventual death and collapse.
Prune infected branches promptly and sterilize tools to prevent and manage the disease.

The most common issue with mountain ash trees is fire blight. Caused by the bacteria Erwinia amylovora, this disease also attacks pear, apple, and crabapple trees. It is a major issue in the Great Lakes states. The bacteria enters through blossoms, shoot tips, and wounds in the bark. The tree branches will suddenly turn brown, and new shoots will turn black as if they were burned in a fire. Purplish, reddish, or brown cankers form on the bark and wood, sometimes oozing sticky droplets.

It is essential to prune away and dispose of infected branches ASAP. Cut at least six inches below infected parts and burn or destroy infected parts. Sterilize all of your tools regularly. In severe cases, copper fungicides can be used to halt the disease. To prevent infection, avoid wounding the plants because bacteria easily enter through gashes in the wood.

Apple Tree Borer and Round-Headed Borer

Close-up of Apple Tree Borer larva in the tree bark. The Apple Tree Borer is a destructive pest that infests some trees, particularly targeting weakened or stressed trees. The larva is a creamy-white, legless grub with a cylindrical body and a distinct, hardened head capsule.
Tree borers are significant pests, with the larvae burrowing into the trunk.

Borers are the major pest nuisance on American mountain ash trees. The beetles emerge in the spring. The yellow worm-looking larvae have black heads that burrow into the trunk. You will notice round holes about the diameter of a pencil and noticeable frass (sawdust-looking larval poop) nearby. 

Prune and burn any stems that are dying around the borer holes. In the summer, you can use a sharp knife to cut out the borer holes and crush any visible eggs. Nicotine sulfate is a common pesticide treatment, but Bt is a safer organic option.

Emerald Ash Borer

Close-up of Emerald Ash Borer on tree bark. Adult Emerald Ash Borer is a slender, elongated beetle measuring about 8 to 14 millimeters in length, with a bright metallic green coloration.
Emerald ash borer only targets true ash trees, not mountain ashes.

Fortunately, this shiny, problematic bug only attacks true ash trees and other tree species. Emerald ash borer does not pose a risk for mountain ashes.

Other Pests

Aphids and scale may also feed on the plant juices of your mountain ash. You can blast aphids off the tree with a strong stream of water from a hose. Scale need to be removed manually with a cotton swab or q-tip dipped in alcohol. Simply pop them off the branches they’re feeding on. Deer may also take a nibble here and there. To deter them, plant a perimeter of plants they don’t like around your mountain ash.

Plant Uses

Close-up of a Juvenile blackbird (Turdus merula) eating Rowan berries in a garden against a blurred green background. Juvenile blackbird (Turdus merula) has a distinctive appearance characterized by their mottled brown plumage with streaks and spots. In its beak it holds a small round orange berry.
Mountain ash, primarily grown in cold regions, is valued for its ornamental use and bird-friendly berries.

This species is primarily grown as a lawn specimen, small shade tree, or native garden ornamental in cold northern regions. It does not do well in heat or humidity.

The vibrant berries are important food sources for birds, and the shrubs are often browsed by moose and deer. The berries are edible for humans but too acidic to eat raw. They are sometimes made into jelly or meat marinades. Native Americans used the fruit and bark for medicinal purposes.

Final Thoughts

This gorgeous native tree or large shrub offers beautiful white flowers in summer, vibrant red berries in the fall, and an amazing autumnal leaf show. All it asks for is well-drained, acidic soil with plenty of moisture. Only plant mountain ash in cool climates from USDA zones 2-6 and check the trees annually for signs of fire blight or borers.

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