Normally fast growing trees are avoided on the belief that fast growing equals short lived. There is some truth in that, of course, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is often a real need for a fast growing tree and this one is one of the best. It is Korean Mountain ash, also known as Sorbus alnifolia. It is a small to medium sized tree, usually topping off at 30 feet, which is ideal for many of today’s gardens. It forms a broad oval canopy of medium texture, dense and green, which makes a heavy shade beneath. In late spring the tree is decorated with lovely clusters of white flowers which eventually become pendulous 5 inch clusters of vermillion berries – very showy. These colorful fruits are set off nicely by the smooth grey bark. But as showy as the fruits are, the autumn foliage, like so many Mountain ashes, is really quite dramatic. The leaves turn bright yellow, orange and red, competing with the brightest  maples. Then with winter’s onset, the bare branches are left with the still abundant red fruit, a blessing for migrating birds.

Korean mountain ash is not a good boulevard tree as it doesn’t tolerate pollution well and the stress of city conditions could leave it susceptible to disease. But in a quiet garden or in the country it makes an ideal specimen tree. It prefers full sun and good drainage and grows throughout the UK and the cooler parts of North America – Tennessee northwards.to Canada.

Korean mountain ash


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