The Nursery is open Monday to Friday, for viewing and selection of our stock and pickup of pre-paid orders. We can offer some help and advice while on site, but if you have detailed plans or need in depth advice it is still best to email photos and plans beforehand. 

Silver Leaved Whitebeam Sorbus aria Lutescens

Description & features

British Grown - The British Grown logo denotes plants and trees that have been both propagated and grown in the UK. Read more

Select plant type

Bare root guide

Size and quantity

Photo
Size / Height
Price
Quantity
 
15L pot size / 1.75-2.75m
£60.00
30L pot size / 2.4-3.5m
£180.00

All prices include VAT

All prices include VAT

All prices include VAT

All prices include VAT

British Grown - The British Grown logo denotes plants and trees that have been both propagated and grown in the UK. Read more

Product description

SORBUS ARIA LUTESCENS – Silver leaved Whitebeam

Characteristics

A cultivar of the common whitebeam with elliptical rounded leaves it is coated with silver hairs on both sides of the leaves which makes it very striking in spring.

It makes medium sizes conical headed neat tree which will grow to about 12m (40ft) which makes it very suitable for urban planting.  The tree is covered with clusters of white flowers in May and these turn into bunches of red berries.  The autumn colour is a pleasant golden yellow, though the leaves often have fallen by early October.

Where to grow

When established, Sorbus aria Lutescens is a very undemanding tree which will tolerates exposure, windy positions and dry urban situations well. It grows best on lime rich soils, and will thrive on chalk.  All this means it makes a fine ornamental, garden, park or street tree.  It however takes some care to establish as it will not tolerate poorly drained positions or waterlogged planting sites.


Did you know?

It was put into commercial production in 1885 and has been popular ever since

 

Features

Mature height
Medium - 10-15 metres
Spread
0-5 metres
Shape / habit
Round Headed
Growth rate
Slow
Soil type
Clay
Chalk/Limestone
Light sandy
Sun levels
Full sun
Partial shade
Evergreen / Deciduous
Deciduous
Season of interest
Autumn
Spring
Autumn colour
Red
Leaf
Green
Silver/Blue
Foliage
Dense
Large Leaves
Flower colour
White
Flowering month
May
Scent
Scented Flowers
Berries / fruit colour
Red
Uses
Screening
Parkland Tree
Garden Tree
City/Urban Sites
Country/Farmland
Bird Food

Features

Mature height
Medium - 10-15 metres
Spread
0-5 metres
Shape / habit
Round Headed
Growth rate
Slow
Soil type
Clay
Chalk/Limestone
Light sandy
Sun levels
Full sun
Partial shade
Evergreen / Deciduous
Deciduous
Season of interest
Autumn
Spring
Autumn colour
Red
Leaf
Green
Silver/Blue
Foliage
Dense
Large Leaves
Flower colour
White
Flowering month
May
Scent
Scented Flowers
Berries / fruit colour
Red
Uses
Screening
Parkland Tree
Garden Tree
City/Urban Sites
Country/Farmland
Bird Food

Aftercare

For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.

Watering

The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water.  It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree.  In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass.  When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree.  It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one  metre wide completely free of grass.  The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:

  1. Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup.  Apply each year for the first 3 years.  It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
  2. Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this.  This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.

Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem.  Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.

Staking

If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree.  Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm.  The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots.   Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150  1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175  1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.

Ties

Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping.  These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens.  Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees.  Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge.  Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.


Comments

By June Moore on 15/01/2014

Does this tree need to be pruned at any time?

By Simon on 17/01/2014

Hello June,

All Sorbus need to be pruned in autumn to winter. Though it is worth noting that you want to keep pruning to a minimum as they produce a good shape when left to their own devices.

Kind regards,

Simon

By Jo ward on 29/12/2015

Hi, if I wanted to plant 3 of these in a cluster, what spacing should I allow? Many thanks

By Simon on 06/01/2016

Dear Jo,

The crowns spread to around 6m at maturity, so I would leave 3 to 5 metres between each one, or less if you want the crowns to touch.

By Paula Scott on 04/03/2016

I have had a gift of a sorbus aria lutescens and don’t have space for it in my garden. Would it survive and flourish if planted in a large pot on a patio instead?
Thanks
Paula

By Pat Smart on 18/03/2016

My beloved sorbus, Joseph Rock, has been attacked by fire strike. I want to replace it with something of similar size but 15ft high to start with. At my age, I can’t wait 30 years to see it grow to full height. Any suggestions, please?

By Simon on 25/03/2016

Hello Paula,

Sorbus aria Lutescens will ultimately grow a little too large for a pot, though it would survive for a time if fed and watered enough. It has a relatively broad crown, so you might also have trouble keeping it from falling over in the wind. Very small trees and shrubs are best for containers.

By Simon on 25/03/2016

Hello Pat,

Sorry to hear about your Sorbus Joseph Rock. You will need to avoid replanting with other plants from the Rosaceae family in the same spot. You could try replacing with something like Amelanchier Robin Hill in the 70L pot size. If you are able to visit the nursery we can show you what we have available.

By Mark on 02/07/2016

Hi
We bought a white beam about 3-4 years ago it is doing very well and looks healthy it’s about 10-12 foot high but it does not have flowers or berrys please could you advise us why we don’t get flowers.or berrys.

Kind regards
Mark

By Simon on 06/07/2016

Hello Mark,

I wonder if you have pruned it at all? Pruning can leave the tree with no flower buds. It will do best in a sunny site, so any shading might also hold it back. You could also try feeding it some high potassium fertiliser in spring to encourage the flowering. Hope you see some flowers next year!

By Matthew on 09/07/2016

I have a white beam that was planted 5-10 years ago, and is 20+ feet tall.  It was covered in flowers for the first time this year.  But the leaves were less silver than usual.  All the sudden it has seemed to die.  It hasn’t needed supplemental water in years, and there has been no changes in the area.  Any ideas about what happened?

By Simon on 13/07/2016

Hello Matthew,

Sorry to hear about your whitebeam. I wonder if there has been any damage to the trunk? Damage to the trunk can cut off the water and nutrient supply. Sorbus can also succumb to canker - again, you would see some evidence of this on the bark. If you are replanting in the same spot, remember to avoid another tree in the Rosaceae family or they could fail due to replant disease.

By Rosie Jarvis on 25/09/2016

I would like to plant a whitebeam in my front garden near my house. I notice some are more upright than others and less spreading. Is there one you would recommend that would be Ok to plant near a house, and how far do the roots grow??

By Simon on 27/09/2016

Hello Rosie,

Sorbus aria Lutescens has a slightly conical shaped crown and only grows to 40ft, which is smaller than the species and S. aria Majestica. If you wanted an even smaller tree, Sorbus aria Intermedia, the Swedish whitebeam, only grows to about 33ft. There are many factors involved in the interaction between trees and buildings, including soil, climate, foundations etc, so it is impossible to advise on how close you could plant to your house. However, as a rule of thumb, tree roots spread about as far as the crown is tall, so about half the height either side. Shrinkable clay soils are where problems usually occur, most often with invasive, water demanding trees.

By Christopher Lucas on 26/04/2017

The sorbus aria lutescens we have is approx 20 years old. We’ve never pruned it but it is starting to become a bit leggy. Would you advise pruning? If so have you any particular tips on doing so to help improve the shape and density of the tree?

By Simon on 05/05/2017

Hello Christopher,

In general, Sorbus aria Lutescens doesn’t require much in the way of pruning as it tends to form a nicely shaped canopy. Since yours has become leggy, though, you could shorten some of the branches to tidy it up. Do this in winter, though, rather than now, unless there is any dead wood, which you can safely take out in summer.

Reviews, Comments and Questions

Your data will be used to display your comment, get in touch if you'd like to edit/remove it. You can find out more details in our Privacy Policy.