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Wild service-tree

Sorbus torminalis

Home Trees Wild service-tree

Native range

Native to southern Britain and western and southern Europe.

Provenance Choice

There have been no provenance trials in Britain so plants should be from sources of local origin or from the near continent.

Site Requirements

This is a light demanding species adapted to warm climates and fertile soils and which is very vulnerable to spring and autumn frosts. It produces a very high value timber on suitable sites. It is not tolerant of exposure. It should be planted on rich to very rich soils of fresh to moist moisture status, including alkaline soils of adequate rooting depth. It is not suited to very dry or nutritionally very poor soils, and very moist to very wet soils should be avoided. It can helpfully be grown in mixture with nitrogen fixing trees or shrubs.

Pests and Pathogens

Can be affected by fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) and silverleaf (Chondrostereum purpureum) which can be a progressive and sometimes fatal disease.


With climate warming, more sites in lowland Britain may become suitable for this species.

Wild service-tree is categorised as a Plot-stage species. These are species that have not been planted on any significant scale but have demonstrated silvicultural characteristics in trial plots and have qualities suitable for forestry objectives to justify further testing and development.