The Ashridge Nurseries Blog

Our Top Tips For the Season: no. 6


Rowans: Choose your area carefully

When planting a Rowan Tree, choose your area carefully. They like open un-shaded areas with lots of sunshine but they don’t enjoy too much heat. They are a tree that grows everywhere in the UK but is particularly prolific in Scotland, so much so that some people would like to see it designated as Scotland’s national tree.

When is the planting season?

Ornamental trees, like the Rowan, are usually bareroot plants and the planting season is between November through to March, when the trees are dormant.


When should I plant the tree?

Plant the tree as soon as possible when it arrives. Break up the soil with a pitchfork first and dig a spacious square hole, roughly one third larger than the root area. On average, a good sized area to dig is one that measures one metre square by 30cm deep. Clear all weeds and loosen up the soil with a pitchfork. Water the roots before you plant it and add compost.


Put the stake into the ground before you plant your tree

Always put the stake into the ground before you plant your tree. Make sure it is off centre so it is between the tree and the prevailing wind.


Tie and secure the tree

All larger trees need tying and securing. Once the tree is secured to the stake replace the soil and feed with bonemeal.


How to plant it

We have a full video on how to plant Ornamental Trees online We also supply a tree planting kit which would make a great additional purchase, particularly if you are giving the tree to a friend.

Water the tree

It is incredibly important to keep the tree watered for the first year of its life. The rain will do the trick for you, but if it happens to be a dry period, you’ll need to water yourself. We find the highest number of problems we have reported from our customers stem from a lack of water.


Good for screening an area

Ornamental trees do exactly what their name implies – be ornamental and decorative in a garden. Smaller versions like Acers can be used really well to screen areas in a garden. Larger ones are often used in street planting or to create a feature around which other plants can be planted.

Great for structure and definition

The colour and the shape of their leaves, the flowers or berries they produce can add real definition and structure to a landscape and garden.

And you can eat them!

In food, the berries of Rowan trees should be boiled as in their raw state, they taste a little sharp and the seeds cause indigestion, but we have come across one recipe that suggests a squeeze of a little of the juice of one berry in a glass of gin can replace angostura bitters!

Great with venison or pheasant

Rowan jelly is a particularly good dish to go with game such as venison or pheasant. It’s great with cold meats, meat pies and cheeses too. Putting in apples adds to the flavour and it is quick and easy to make. In essence you really only need the berries, apples, sugar and water. If you are still stuck for Christmas presents, why not make a batch and put them in jars, decorate with ribbon and give to friends? Julian posted a recipe for rowan and crabapple jelly on the blog.


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