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Swedish Whitebeam Sorbus intermedia

Description & features

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Product description

SORBUS INTERMEDIA – Swedish Whitebeam

Characteristics

The distinctive, glossy lobed leaves with grey hairs on the undersides give a silver-grey appearance to this whitebeam. Densely leafed, the rounded crown with a neat outline reaches up to 10m (33ft). Clusters of frothy white flowers appear along the branches in late spring providing nectar for insects, followed by bunches of shiny bright red berries in the autumn favoured by thrushes and blackbirds. The berries stand out well against the golden shades of autumn leaf colour.

Where to grow

Suitable for exposed areas and coastal sites, this tree will grow in a range of soil types and acidity levels as long as the soil is relatively rich and well-drained. A sunny spot is best although partial shade for some of the day is tolerated. Often used for street-planting due to its compact habit and its ability to cope with air pollution.

Did you know?

It is native to Scandinavia including southern Sweden where it is known as ‘oxel’. The timber is sometimes used for turnery in the making of tool handles.

 

 

Features

Mature height
Small - 5-10 metres
Spread
5-10 metres
Shape / habit
Round Headed
Growth rate
Fast
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Partial shade
Difficulty / hard to grow
Easy
Evergreen / Deciduous
Deciduous
Season of interest
Autumn
Summer
Autumn colour
Orange
Yellow
Leaf
Green
Silver/Blue
Foliage
Dense
Cut leaf
Large Leaves
Flower colour
White
Flowering month
April
May
Scent
Scented Flowers
Berries / fruit colour
Red
Other
Good for Coastal sites
Good for Windy sites
Good at altitude
Uses
Screening
Parkland Tree
Garden Tree
City/Urban Sites
Country/Farmland
Bird Food
Timber producing
Wind break
Bee Friendly
Sound Barrier

Features

Mature height
Small - 5-10 metres
Spread
5-10 metres
Shape / habit
Round Headed
Growth rate
Fast
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Partial shade
Difficulty / hard to grow
Easy
Evergreen / Deciduous
Deciduous
Season of interest
Autumn
Summer
Autumn colour
Orange
Yellow
Leaf
Green
Silver/Blue
Foliage
Dense
Cut leaf
Large Leaves
Flower colour
White
Flowering month
April
May
Scent
Scented Flowers
Berries / fruit colour
Red
Other
Good for Coastal sites
Good for Windy sites
Good at altitude
Uses
Screening
Parkland Tree
Garden Tree
City/Urban Sites
Country/Farmland
Bird Food
Timber producing
Wind break
Bee Friendly
Sound Barrier

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 Mres Brenda Adamson on 15/08/2014

I have a holiday house on the east coast facing the North Sea. The borders are low maintenance, shrubs and herbeceous. I have a corner space and need height. After web searching the Swedish Whitebeam seemed to be favoured for this location. Would you recommend it or have other suggestions? I do not want the tree to overpower the shrub borders.
Many thanks
Brenda Adamson

By Simon on 04/09/2014

Hello Brenda,

Yes it would be a good choice as it is very hardy and would cope well with the sea winds. Another tree to look at would be the Frosted thorn http://www.chewvalleytrees.co.uk/products/detail/crataegus-prunifolia-splendens/1 It is a good small tree for an exposed site.

I hope this helps,

Kind regards,

Simon

By Thomas Anderson on 20/08/2015

We have one of these trees in our yard grown from seed and every mid-July the edges of the outer most leaves start to turn brown and curl.  Other owners of Swedish Whitebeams have noticed this same situation with theirs. Any idea what causes this and how to prevent it?

By Simon on 24/08/2015

Hello Thomas,

Leaves on Swedish whitebeams may turn a little brown later in the summer, especially if the weather is dry. Alternatively it could be due to some other environmental factor, caterpillars or sap-sucking insects. If the tree is otherwise healthy then it’s probably nothing to worry about. If you would like to send us a photograph (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) then we will be happy to have a look.

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