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Thoughts on White fringe tree – Chionanthus virginicus

HS2023 | Posted in Midwest Gardening on


I am replacing a serviceberry that has not thrived since it was planted 5 years ago. I believe it succumbs to cedar apple rust every year. It never really had a good year to build up reserves/resiliency. The tree is quite close to my house (8 ft away), so I need a small tree to replace it. I was thinking of a White fringe tree – Chionanthus virginicus. Has anyone grown this tree? Thoughts? My only criteria is that it has to be small (because it is close to the house) and native to the area. 



  1. User avater Moderator
    DrPulte_Moderator | | #1

    This is a great native tree with a huge range in the US.

  2. User avater Moderator
    Chloe_Moderator | | #2

    I think chinonanthus is a great candidate. My experience is it's more stout and spreading than serviceberry, but It should work fine next to a house. I'd use it!

  3. User avater Moderator
    mdwyer | | #3

    I have a small Chionanthus virginicus in my backyard and have observed a grouping of three older specimens (one male, two female) at a local botanical garden for over 20 years. They are quite shade tolerant and while both the males and females bloom nicely (fragrant!), the females (when pollinated) will produce neat blue fruits (drupes). Slow-growing but beautiful! Fall color can be a nice golden yellow too!

  4. User avater Moderator
    marti_n_midwest_moderator | | #4

    Chionanthus is a lovely ornamental tree, one I plant on rare occasions, mostly due to rare opportunities where I think it will thrive. It is unfortunate your Serviceberry has not thrived, it is one of favorite native trees. I have developed a fondness for Cornus kousa and the various cultivars available. ‘Venus’ has large flowers, and ‘Celestial Shadow’ has variegated leaves.

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