Home Tree Care Whitebeam Tree Growing and Care Guide: Planting, Pruning, and More

Whitebeam Tree Growing and Care Guide: Planting, Pruning, and More

by Gregory
3 minutes read

All About Whitebeam Trees: Growing, Caring, and More

What is a Whitebeam Tree?

Whitebeam trees (Sorbus aria) are part of the rose family, related to rowan trees. They get their name from the pale, felted undersides of their leaves. Whitebeam trees are native to southern England and parts of Europe.

Types of Whitebeam Trees

There are several types of whitebeam trees, including:

  • Common whitebeam (Sorbus aria): The most common type, with oval leaves and white undersides.
  • Swedish whitebeam (Sorbus intermedia): Has lobed leaves that are pale green underneath.
  • Arran whitebeam: A rare species found only in Scotland.
  • Wilmott’s whitebeam: Another rare species with very few remaining trees.

Uses of Whitebeam Trees

Whitebeam trees have various uses:

  • Landscaping: Planted in parks, gardens, and along streets.
  • Wildlife habitat: Their berries and flowers provide food for birds and insects.
  • Timber: Used for making cogs, wheels, joinery, and cutlery handles.
  • Reclamation: Planted on landfill sites to help stabilize the soil.

How to Grow a Whitebeam Tree

Whitebeam trees prefer:

  • Soil: Moist but well-drained, including chalky soils.
  • Sunlight: Partial shade or full sun.
  • Space: They are large trees, so need plenty of room to grow.

To grow a whitebeam tree:

  1. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball.
  2. Place the tree in the hole and fill around the roots with soil.
  3. Water well and stake the tree to prevent it from toppling over.

Caring for a Whitebeam Tree

Whitebeam trees are relatively low-maintenance, once established:

  • Watering: Water regularly during the first growing season, especially in dry spells.
  • Fertilizing: Not necessary, but a balanced fertilizer can help growth.
  • Mulching: Spread organic mulch around the base of the tree to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Pruning: Remove any dead or diseased branches in summer.

Common Pests and Diseases

Whitebeam trees can be affected by pests and diseases, including:

  • Aphids: Small, sap-sucking insects.
  • Scale insects: Tiny, immobile insects that form crusty coverings on branches.
  • Sawfly larvae: Caterpillars that can damage leaves.
  • Fireblight: A bacterial disease that can kill young trees.
  • Honey fungus: A fungal disease that attacks the roots of trees.

Buying Whitebeam Trees

When buying a whitebeam tree, look for:

  • Healthy plants: Check for signs of pests or diseases.
  • Variety: Choose a variety that suits your needs and growing conditions.

You can purchase whitebeam trees from specialist tree nurseries or online.


Whitebeam trees are beautiful and versatile trees that can add value to any landscape. With proper care, they can thrive for many years and provide habitat for wildlife.

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