Over 150 species of viburnum trees exist. One popular variety, used often in landscaping in the southern United States, is sweet viburnum. These trees are grown in zones 8 to 11. Native to Asia, sweet viburnum are fast-growing, subtropical, evergreen trees. They are easily propagated by cuttings. Sweet viburnum trees are easy-to-care-for trees found throughout urban and suburban neighborhoods.
Sweet viburnum trees originated in subtropical regions of Taiwan, Korea and Japan. They were introduced into the United States in 1818. They thrive along the southern coastal region of southern Georgia, Florida, Gulf Coast States and along the Pacific coastline of the U.S.
Sweet viburnum trees have large, dark green leaves. The leaves are glossy with a leather-like texture. Small white flowers bloom in the spring and give way to small red berries. The berries turn black as they ripen. Mature trees can reach 25 to 30 feet tall and wide. Sweet viburnum trees have multiple branches and a rounded canopy.
Care and Planting
Plant sweet viburnum in almost any well drained soil types. The trees should be spaced at least five feet apart. They tolerate a wide range of lighting from partial shade to full sun. Sweet viburnum can tolerate drought but thrives with regular weekly watering. Fertilize in early spring with a standard tree fertilizer. Prune every spring to remove dead and damaged branches. Regular pruning of young trees encourages the development of strong branches that will withstand high winds in the future.
Pests and Diseases
Sweet viburnum is fairly resistant to most pests and diseases. Viburnum aphids can be spotted on the tips of branches in clusters of gray to dark green. They will cause leaf curl. Other pests that infest sweet viburnum include mites, thrips, white flies and bag worms. Bacterial leaf spot, crown gall and fungal infections will not destroy a viburnum tree. Treatment with antibacterial and anti-fungal sprays and removal of infected leaves and branches is effective. Most only cause aesthetic damage.
Sweet viburnum trees are planted for privacy between neighborhoods in urban and suburban settings. Potted sweet viburnum are used around patios for privacy and shade. Planted along highways they act as a noise barrier between the highway and residential areas.