Sorbus torminalis, known as the Wild Service Tree, is a much forgotten but lovely native tree that is sometimes referred to as the Chequer Tree which is why there are so many pubs up and down the land sharing the same name.
It has a columnar habit when young and graduates to a broad oval when mature.
White flowers in spring give way to sharp tasting fruits in the autumn that were dried and used as ‘chequers’ in the south of England in the middle ages.
Its bark also resembles a chequer pattern as it matures. Its green summer leaves turn orange and yellow in the autumn.
Sorbus torminalis is a difficult tree to transplant as bare rooted or rootballed because it is coarse rooted so it is only worth planting as an established containerised tree to insure success.
It thrives in most free draining soils but being a woodland plant, doesn’t want to be under the glare of a hot sun for too long.
If you live in an area prone to rabbits or deer then we recommend rabbit guards for these trees.
We have gratefully received intel that this tree has been reclassified as Torminalis glaberrima. This may take a while to catch on so in the meantime we will persist with its historic listing.
Mature Height: 7-12m