Sourwood Nursery Trees for Home and Garden

Sourwood Nursery Trees for Home and Garden


Empire National Nursery has fast growing Sourwood trees and shrub plants for home garden landscaping Sourwood Trees - the Southern Honey Tree

The Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) is a member of the huge Heath Family (Ericaceae). The Heaths have over 1,500 species in many genera, including the more familiar Rhodendrons, Blueberries, Manzanita, Sparkleberry, Madrones, and even the Blueberry. One of the classic features of the family are the racemes (stalks) of small urn-shaped flowers, although not every member has them.

Empire National Nursery has fast growing Sourwood trees and shrub plants for home garden landscaping

This is a small tree up to 60 feet, but generally is much smaller. Native to the eastern and southeastern states (except Florida), this is a very attractive ornamental tree with glossy, simple, alternate, elliptical shaped leaves that are about six inches long and one to three inches wide. The bark is gray, tinged with red, scaly and furrowed at the base.

Empire National Nursery has fast growing Sourwood trees and shrub plants for home garden landscaping

The wood itself is used a little bit as a fuel, but more so in a mixture of other hardwood trees in paper pulp. Sourwood was first cultivated in this country about 1747, so its been around, but not widely known. Many folks throughout the southeast do know of the honey that is produced, a highly prized commodity. The tree gets covered with the stalks of small urn-like flowers in mid- summer, being a great source for honeybees, especially as most other trees are spring bloomers. Also, in the landscape design, the glossy green leaves turn to rich blends of yellow, red, and orange in Autumn. This is one of several plants that can bring the beauty of New England Fall colors to the warmer regions, especially since Sourwood grows from zones 5 to 9.

Empire National Nursery has fast growing Sourwood trees and shrub plants for home garden landscaping

The classic characteristic of the Heaths are the fruits. The long one-sided racemes are clustered in open panicles, which by fall have turned to ovoid-pyramidal, dry, dehiscent capsules that are one-quarter to one-half inches long. There are many tiny seeds inside, gray to brown in color, and look like a manta ray in cross section. These dust-sized seeds number 2 to 5 million per pound! Its really amazing also that the soundness of the seed (being alive with the potential for germinating) is about 95%. This suggests that the bees do a very efficient job at pollinating the flowers.

Empire National Nursery has fast growing Sourwood trees and shrub plants for home garden landscaping

How to grow these. Simply stated, these grow best in moist well-drained fertile soils with full sun to half shade. Although in the wild, they can be found growing in full shade, they have better growth when given more light. Most soils can be alright, but plenty of water and some added fertilizer will improve their growth and survival. If your soils are rocky, heavy clay, or very sandy, then add compost or other materials mixed into the planting spot. Planting instructions are included with each order, or can be read on the Nursery webpage.

Plant the Sourwood eight to twelve feet apart, along driveways or fence lines, or just by themselves in the corner of the yard.

Empire National Nursery has fast growing Sourwood trees and shrub plants for home garden landscaping

The Sourwood is a decorative medium-sized shade tree that adds some very nice Spring and Fall colors. These are becoming very popular, and you can understand why!

Empire National Nursery has fast growing Sourwood trees and shrub plants for home garden landscapingEmpire National Nursery has fast growing Sourwood trees and shrub plants for home garden
landscapingEmpire National Nursery has fast growing Sourwood trees and shrub plants for home garden landscaping


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Last Update: 10/10/2015
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