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SORBUS ULLEUNGENSIS OLYMPIC FLAME - Korean Rowan
The Korean Rowan packs some serious punch in autumn with its incredible, heavy bunches of large, orange-red berries. The varietal name, Olympic Flame, is inspired by the upright shape of the tree, which turns ablaze with fiery colours.
It will make a medium-size tree, initially with narrow oval crown, eventually with an ovoid crown to 10m (30ft) tall and 6m (20ft) wide. The leaves are large, 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 ins) long with generally 15 leaflets per leaf. Flowers clusters are white.
This is a fairly recent introduction with an interesting taxonomic history, see below. It is sometimes known as Sorbus commixta Olympic Flame.
Where to grow
Rowans are hardy and will grow in most soil types but dislike thin soils over chalk. Full sun is best with room for this tree to reach its full potential.
Did you know?
Ulleung Island, a volcanic, pentagonally shaped island about 10 km in diameter, is located about 150 km from the Korean mainland. The island, formed during the late Tertiary period and surrounded by rocky cliffs, is well known for its unique flora numbering about 180 woody species, including several endemic. The one species of Sorbus on Ulleung Island has long been thought of as Sorbus commixta. However during a Swedish/Danish expedition to Ulleung Island in 1976, questions were raised of its status due to the large size of most of its morphological characters. They called a clone of the Ulleung rowan Dodong (after the ferry terminal on Ulleung) and propagated and distributed it in Europe.
Olympic Flame was a rebranding of the clone in honour of the London Olympics in 2012. It seems probable that Sorbus commixta Dodong and Sorbus Olympic flame and all variations on these names refer to the same species of Sorbus, Sorbus Ulleungensis.
Source: Chin-Sung Chang and Hee Young Gil, 2014. "Sorbus ulleungensis, a new endemic species on Ulleung Island, Korea", Harvard Papers in Botany Vol. 19, No. 2.
- Small - 5-10 metres
- 5-10 metres
Shape / Habit
- All soil types
- Full sun
Difficulty / Hard to Grow
Evergreen / Deciduous
- Fine/Light leaf
- Large Leaves
Berries / Fruit Colour
- Garden Tree
- Encourages wildlife
For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.
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.
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 that for at least 3 years after planting your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one metre wide completely free of grass.
- Mulch mats are an effective way to stop grass and weeds, although they will require a careful eye to make sure they continue to work. After clearing the ground around the tree, firmly fit the mat by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this. Be careful not to allow the woodchip to touch the stem as it can cause rot.
- Weed killer is very effective, however it is harmful to the environment. Organic weed killers usually do not kill roots. Weed killer needs to be applied each year for the first 3 years, preferably when the tree is dormant, or just once before applying a mulch mat.
- 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.
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.
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.
Are the delivery costs the same no matter how many plants I order?
Yes the delivery costs are the same no matter how many plants you have on your order. They are worked out based on your distance from our nursery and can be found here.