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SORBUS torminalis

Commonly known as Chequer(s) tree, Wild service-tree



  • Deciduous - variable leaves 6-14cm (2½-5½in) long with 5-7 pointed, toothed lobes sometimes turn crimson in autumn.
  • White
  • Height - to 15m (49ft)
  • Spread - 3m (10ft)
  • Tree - tree with a broad, domed head or tall shrub. Smooth, dark-grey bark becomes fissured and peels in rectangular strips. Open clusters of flowers 1cm (½in) across are followed by brown, oval fruits to 1.5cm (¾in) long.
  • Hardy - very cold winter - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe. Plant can possibly withstand temperatures down to -20°C (-4°F)
  • Full sun - flowers and fruits better in sun.
  • Partial shade
  • Additional Features - Berries - These plants have berries.
  • Good to know - native tree now confined to ancient woods. Wildlife plant - insects, birds. Has bark similar to hawthorn, leaves like a maple and flowers similar to rowan.
  • Place of origin - Europe, northwestern Africa, southwestern Asia.
  • Hardiness - Fully hardy -
  • Leaf margin - Incised - see photos above
  • Lobed
  • Leaf shape - Ovate - see photos above
  • Pruning group - Pruning group 1
    Suitable for: Deciduous and evergreen trees, and some deciduous shrubs.
    Pruning: Minimal pruning required. Prune wayward or crossing branches to maintain a healthy framework.
    When: When dormant in the late winter/early spring. Some in the summer/autumn to prevent bleeding of sap.

    RHS group 1
  • Scented Plants - Scented flowers -
  • Seasonal Interest - Autumn -
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Soil Conditions - Fertile moist well-drained soil -
  • Neutral to alkaline soil
  • Tree Shape - Rounded to broadly spreading -
  • Wildlife - Bee friendly -
  • Bird friendly
Planting to avoid allergic reactions and asthma
Shrubs and Trees - Seeds - 1) Collecting Seeds
Shrubs and Trees - Seeds - 2) Storing Seeds
Shrubs and Trees - Seeds - 3) Planting Seeds
Sorbus - Growing Guide
Trees - Care Guide
to 15m (49ft)
tree - guide for size not form Average Person
  3m (10ft)

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