Black Haw the More Poplar of the Viburnums

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Black Haw

The Black Haw is often called a shrub but it is actually a small, deciduous tree. It can reach heights between five and fifteen feet when mature. This plant is easily recognizable due to its reddish brown bark and grooved branches. Another distinctive characteristic of this tree is the white, flat-topped flowers. When the season arises, the tree will bear several blue-black berries, which are quite juicy and are a favorite in many Native American foods.


Black Haw trees have a red-brown bark, which is very rough on old trees. The branches are red, then turn green and settle on a dark brown color. The leaves are a very dark green and are extremely glossy.

In spring, the trees will be covered with white blooms in clusters. The flowers are a creamy white color, with an urn-shaped calyx. Following these, waxy, dark blue fruits will start to appear. Much wildlife love feeding on these fruits, and the ones that remain might stay on the plant from September until autumn. In fall, this plant will give a brilliant showing of purple to scarlet red foliage.


Many households have this small tree because it is quite good for planting underneath power lines or other instances in which you have limited space. They are useful as specimen, hedges, or border trees, and because this tree adapts quite well to living conditions in urban areas, it can be found becoming a common plant in most homes.

This tree tends to grow well and look its best when it is exposed to full sun, with just some partial shade. It can grow on any reasonably well drained and fertile soil. If you grow the Black Haw in shady areas it will form a more open habit, which is great if you want to get some privacy using the trees. This method of planting will yield fewer flowers, however. It is extremely tolerant of drought, but less so of compacted soil.

This plant can be found in both shrub-like and tree-like forms in the southern parts of the United States. The northern regions house this tree too, but it grows to be more of a shrub in the northern conditions. The Black Haw is a native species to North America.

Care tips

The shoots of this tree can sometimes reach as far as the drip line. This might be difficult to maintain if you plant the tree in a bed of mulch, so it is best to avoid that. The sprouts are easy to maintain, as you can just cut them with regular mowing if the tree is planted as a street tree in your lawn. Wherever you decide to plant it, just keep in mind that it thrives best in the sun, with lots of water and well drained soil.

Pests do not usually affect the Black Haw. Aphids might be the only ones that cause a problem. They are grey or dark green in colour and can be found in clusters, feeding on the tips of branches so that the leaves curl. You can get rid of these insects by using a high pressured water spray from your garden hose.

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Author: wholesale nursery growers

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