Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Trees and Shrubs For Rain Gardens

is better known as Serviceberry or Allegheny Serviceberry or Shadberry. Amelanchier laevis grows from 15 to 25 feet tall. It's little white flowers bloom in late April and produce edible berries that are often used to make jams, jellies and pies and of course provide an excelent source of nutrition for native birds.

Asimina triloba, or Pawpaw is a small to medium tree, growing up to 40 feet tall. This member of the northeast trees and shrubs produces reddish-brown flowers in early April which grow banana-shaped fruit. The fruit of the Pawpaw ripens through the season from green or yellow to brown and then to black after the first frost. The fruit is very edible, but only if one can get to it before the wildlife. This tree plays host to the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.

Betula nigra or River Birch can be found growing 50 to 90 feet tall, but usually remains much smaller, closer to 40 or 50 feet. It blooms early in the Spring and fruits in the late Spring or early summer, sending it's little winged seed onto the wind. In the cone these fruits are excelent bird food.

Cephalanthus occidentalis is commonly called Buttonbush for good reason. It's white, little ball-like flowers do indeed resemble buttons. They bloom in they late summer to early fall. Cephalanthus occidentalis grows up to six feet tall and is favored by many songbirds as a nesting site.

Clethra alnifolia is a beautiful bush growing from three all the way up to ten feet. Clethra alnifolia is more commonly called Sweet Pepperbush or Summersweet. Summersweet blooms with pretty white spikes late in the season and into the fall. It is known for its wonderful sweet scent.

Cornus amomum is beautiful white-flowering shrub known more commonly as Silky Dogwood or Blue-fruited Dogwood. Silky Dogwood grows six to ten feet tall and bears blue-grey berries after blooming in mid-summer.

Fothergilla gardenii blooms with white, feathery flowers in early May. The flowers smell sweetly of honey. This shrub is better known as Dwarf Fothergilla or Witch Alder and grows to a modest 3 to 6 feet in height, while remaining dense and shrubby.

Ilex verticillata is better known as Winterberry Holly or Common Winterberry. Winterberry grows to about 8 feet with an 8 foot spread. Small white flowers appear in early summer, producing fruit quickly, but only if both male and female plants are in close proximity. The fruit are another excellent source of food for wildlife.

is a popular bush among wildlife and people. More commonly called Spicebush it blossoms with little, white flowers early in the spring. The leaves of this lemon-scented plant were once used to make a tea that treated cough among other ailments. Spicebush grows to about 8 feet and the male and female are on seperate plants.

is a very large tree, growing to 100 feet tall. Sweetgum produces spiky, seed balls, bearing nearly a hundred seeds each. Wildlife enjoy the seeds, but the balls bearing them can be hard to mow and walk on and they stay in your yard for years, not to mention that they drop nearly year round. I would only recommend this tree if you're creating a rain garden well away from your house. Other than that they are beautiful trees often used to make furniture or trim.

Sambucus canadensis blooms from May all the way through to August. It's beautiful little white flowers brighten any landscape. American Elderberry produces an edible berry often used in pies. The flowers and the fruit are both used to make wine. Be aware though, that there is a slight toxicity. Elderberry grows from three to twelve feet tall.

Viburnum dentatum is a member of the Honeysuckle family, better known as Arrowwood. Arrowwood grows from 3 up to 12 feet tall and blooms in late summer. Arrowwood produced small blue berries. It's inner bark was once used as a tobacco substitute and the limbs were used to make arrows.