15. WHAT KIDNS OF SHRUBS AND TREES HAVE BERRIES?
Trees that produce berries offer food for wildlife and in some cases, humans as well. Most berry trees and plants produce berries in early to late fall, but a few ripen in summer. Stretch a net over the tree to protect ripening fruit from birds if you hope to eat it yourself, or grow more than one tree.
Mulberries (Morus spp.) grow on deciduous trees that range in size from 30 to 80 feet. The three varieties of mulberries that grow in the U.S. include the white mulberry (Morus alba L.), the red mulberry (M. rubra L.) and the black mulberry (M. nigra L.). The black mulberry, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10, is said to produce the best fruit. Black mulberries produce large, juicy fruits from summer to fall. The fruit has a tart, but sweet flavor, and is often used in pies and preserves. Try "Black Persian" or "Kaester." Mulberry trees tolerate a variety of soil conditions, but grow best with slightly moist soil and full sun exposure.
Chokecherries (Prunus virginiana L.) are native to the U.S. In the wild, they are hardy only to USDA zone 7, but cultivated plants grow as far south as zone 10, according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Chokecherry fruit is ripe when it turns purple to black in summer. The fruit is very tart, but is used to make pancake syrup or preserves. The pits leaves and stems of this tree are toxic. Chokecherry trees grow 15 to 30 feet tall and may sometimes have more of a shrub form. They grow best in full sun to partial shade and tolerate a variety of soil types.
Serviceberries ( Amelanchier), native to many parts of the U.S., are also known as Juneberries because their red to purple fruits ripen in early summer. These small trees or shrubs grow 15 to 25 feet tall and are hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9. Their white blossoms appear in early spring. The berries have a sweet taste and can be eaten out of hand or made into pies and preserves if you can beat the squirrels and birds to them. Plant serviceberries in well-draining, moist soil in full sun to partial shade for the plant to grow.