Burning bush-not for Vermont gardens

Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) is a slow grower, eventually reaching 6 to 10 feet high, and half that wide. This native plant has an open and upright habit in landscapes, but with suckers will form a broad mound. Perennials and ornamental grasses in front will help hide the bare lower trunks. Once established this plant will tolerate drought.

Another alternative to the burning bush sometimes recommended is the American Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum, often seen as V. trilobum). This native species, and its more brightly fall colored cultivars such as Alfredo and Redwing can be used where the viburnum leaf beetle isnt a problem. Once established, this shrub tolerates drought.

Our native winterberry (Ilex verticillata) provides brilliant red fall color from its berries on female plants. There is a difference in fruit color retention among cultivars. Best in trials at the University of Vermont were Jolly Red, Maryland Beauty, Winter Red, and the hybrid Sparkleberry. Keep in mind if planting these that youll need a male plant or two for pollination. The species of winterberry is often seen in natural areas in wet soils, although this plant tolerates dry soils as well, only grows less quickly there.

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