How to Plant a Rowan Tree


The rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia), also called European mountain-ash, grows 25 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. Moderately showy white flowers appear after the tree leafs out in spring, but in mid-summer large, very showy clusters of orange-red berries emerge. This tree grows best in the cool temperatures of USDA zones 3 to 7. It does not do well in hot weather. Knowledge of how to plant the rowan tree will help you grow an attractive addition to your landscape.

Step 1

Obtain a rowan tree from a reputable nursery or grow your own from seed. For the latter option, grow the seeds indoors in pots, caring for it carefully over the first winter.

Step 2

Choose an area to plant your rowan tree in early spring after the danger of frost passes. This tree prefers full sun and loose, well-drained, acidic soil.

Step 3

Dig the soil in this area to a depth of 12 inches with a spade, breaking up clumps and removing rocks. Mix in 2 inches of organic compost to increase fertility and keep the pH low.

Step 4

Dig a hole twice the size of the rootball of the rowan tree and at a depth the same height as the rootball. Hold the tree upright in the center of the hole and backfill about half the soil. Water the soil, eliminating any air bubbles and settling it around the roots.

Step 5

Backfill the rest of the soil into the hole. Water deeply, again settling the soil as well as providing moisture for the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Organic compost
  • Water


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Sorbus Aucuparia
  • University of Connecticut: Sorbus Aucuparia
  • North Carolina State University: Sorbus Aucuparia
Keywords: planting rowan tree, rowan tree care, planting European mountain-ash

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.