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Landscaping & Design/juneberry tree or canadian red chokecherry


QUESTION: I am in SE south dakota, in zone 4. (on the border of zone 5)  I am going to plant an autumn brilliance juneberry tree in my backyard this spring, and also am going to plant a canadian red chokecherry tree back there.  My question is this, which one will grow faster in my conditions?  I have a neighbor that i want some privacy from, that is where the faster of the two trees will go.  They will both receive full sun.

ANSWER: The Autumn Brilliance Juneberry - Amelanchier × grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'  - has excellent disease resistance, & does well in full sun to part shade.  Ultimate reaching a size of 15’ to 25’ height x about the same in width.  It is a small, deciduous, multi-trunked understory tree or tall shrub. As a bonus, it has edible fruits around June, hence the name of ‘Juneberry’. They  resemble blueberries in taste and may be used in jams, jellies and pies.

Canadian Red Chokecherry – Prunus virginiana 'Schubert' - is the classic ‘chokecherry’ with red leaves, and a mature size of 20 to 30’ tall x 15-20’ wide. Fruits are technically edible, but not very tasty.  We have some planted locally and growing wild in Nevada.  Their fruit makes a sharp jam, adding lots of sugar.  It is also susceptible to a large list of insects and diseases.   Plants will sucker to form colonies in the wild, and may become a maintenance issue if planted in tight quarters.

You asked about growth rates.  They rank about equal, both in growth rate and screening ability.  Both are deciduous, so in the wintertime the neighbors will be visible.  If I had a choice, I’d pick the Juneberry, for the fruit and less worry about diseases.   If you have enough room to work with, I would consider mixing them with evergreens like the White Pine, Canadian Hemlock, or Spruce.  Other deciduous trees to consider for a zone 4 are Poplar, Aspen, or River Birch.

If you *don't* have the room, here are additional plant suggestions specific for South Dakota (specifically page 20):

Hope it helps! ~M

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the information.  I was planning on planting a white pine along the same fence for privacy, and the chokecherry tree will go beside the pine. because it gets a little taller.  I had 2 spots to fill, and the juneberry will go closer to the house.  I plan to prune the juneberry to a single trunk, does that affect the overall height and growth rate of the juneberry tree?  in zone 4-5 can i hope for 2 feet a year of growth?

I have not heard anything about increased growth rate from pruning it into a sigle trunk. It is hard to say how fast your tree may grow, as it depends on so many factors, like your soil, exposure, how harsh the winter is, watering schedule, general vigor of the stock used, fertilizing, etc. 2 feet/year would not be unrealistic if all goes well, and the plant likes the conditions it is place in.

How we get around that here is just plant a bigger plant to start off with -- Of course it costs more money to go for bigger stock initially. Good luck ~M

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Marc Chapelle, RLA


I am a licensed Landscape Architect. I can answer general questions about style and design, give you ideas and suggestions for site amenities, help with larger site-planning issues, or perhaps give guidance for recreational amenities & park design. IF YOU ARE GOING TO ASK FOR A PLANT SUGGESTION GO HERE: I prefer you ask somebody else why your petunias are not as perky as they should be; I'd LOVE to tell you how those petunias can increase your home's value!


20+ years of working with homeowners, contractors, developers and local civil engineering/architecture firms. I am located in the dry Great Basin area (Greater Nevada/Utah), so the use of landscape materials OTHER than plants is emphasized. As a licensed Landscape Architect I've worked on both the East and West Coasts.


BSLA in Landscape Architecture,Licensed in NV, CA, & VA - but can answer Q's across the country Many additional seminars, educational venues, and classes (both taught & attended)

Awards and Honors
Best Multifamily project, Reno/Sparks Builder's Association Best Model Home Landscaping, Reno/Sparks Builder's Association

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