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Edible Landscaping

Sudbury Living Magazine June 1, 2018 Home & Garden, Savour Sudbury No Comments on Edible Landscaping

 Amelanchier alnifolia – SASKATOON BERRY


If you are planning on landscaping your property this year, consider planting some native trees and shrubs that produce edible berries. Although not as well known as cultivated species, like apples, pears, gooseberries and currants, some of the native species are packed with health-promoting compounds. The aronia (black chokeberry), for example, contains up to three times the amount of antioxidants as blueberries. Just don’t expect a blueberry taste; aronias are astringent, bitter and acidic. Mixed with other fruits in a smoothie, though, diminishes its strong flavour. Dark berries generally contain higher levels of antioxidants than lighter-coloured fruit.


If you need a small tree, try one of the serviceberries, mountain-ashes or choke cherries. Low-growing shrubs include black huckleberry, western sandcherry, and, of course, the low-bush blueberry. A tall growing shrub with multiple landscape uses is the wild raisin (also known as witherod) with lovely white flowers in spring and late summer berries turning from pale green to red to dark blue/black followed by vibrant fall foliage colour.


For several years, the City of Greater Sudbury has planted thousands of berry-producing native trees and shrubs to increase the diversity of recovering ecosystems on formerly black, barren hills. This year, the City’s Regreening Program will begin planting some of these trees and shrubs in unmanaged areas of our municipal parks. As these plants mature, residents will have increased foraging opportunities for wild berries closer to home.


Know what you’re picking and be very sure of the edibility of the berries before you consume them. Do your research. Buying the trees or shrubs from a local garden centre will remove doubt and help you become familiar with the plant you’re growing for the berries.


The list below includes a few edible berry-producing trees and shrubs that grow wild in our area. Some berries require special treatment to increase their palatability before they can be consumed.


Have fun with edible landscaping this season.

Amelanchier alnifolia – SASKATOON BERRY

Amelanchier arborea – DOWNY SERVICEBERRY

Amelanchier laevis – SMOOTH SERVICEBERRY

Amelanchier sanguinea – ROUNDLEAF SERVICEBERRY

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