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Ask Extension: Chokeberry shrub for my landscape

Question: I am thinking about planting a chokeberry shrub in my garden, but think it may grow to be too large. Can I keep it pruned back to the size that will work in the place I want it without compromising the health or appearance of the shrub.

In the background: glossy black chokeberry in bloom

Answer: Aronia, common name chokeberry, is a great native shrub that grows to be fairly large - about 5-7 ft tall depending on the species and cultivar.  It is best to choose plants that will grow well in your space allowed as pruning a tree to keep the size at a certain level may ultimately reduce the blooming and the vigor of the plant. We have a good video series about understanding your site, choosing plants, and planting that you might find helpful.

Chokeberry flowers, spring
Look for a cultivar with a mature (full grown) size more appropriate for the space you have. You can check with your local garden center. We also have a plant selection program, Plant Elements of Design, that contains a few cultivar options and you can search by growing conditions and plant size.

Regent serviceberry in bloom
Another plant option is Amelanchier or serviceberry, also called Juneberry, that has white spring flowers, much like the chokeberry, and produces sweet, edible berries. There is a shrub form called 'Regent' that would be a good cultivar to plant.

-- Julie Weisenhorn, Extension Educator - Horticulture



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