by Ann Farnham, LLA
The tree favored this month by the Ewing Environmental Commission is Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum, one of America’s most beautiful native trees. It is at home in the eastern and southeastern United States in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9. Ewing is located in USDA Zone 6.
This specimen is located at a private residence on Seven Oaks Lane in Ewing. Sorrel Tree and Lily of the Valley Tree are two other names by which it is known.
Sourwood, a pyramidal, medium-sized deciduous tree (usually 25 to 30’ in height) with slightly drooping branches has glossy green leaves which turn brilliant scarlet in the fall.
Its bell-shaped, fragrant flowers appear in June through July in this area and are white pendulous clusters which persist for several weeks. Honeybees favor the flowers, from which they make a fine flavored honey.
Sourwood is unusual in that it gives us summer flowering as well as extraordinary fall color.
This fine tree prefers an acid, moist and well-drained soil. It will thrive in full sun or partial shade, although the fall color is best when the tree is located in full sun.
Sourwood attracts few insects or diseases, none of which is serious.