The Q&A Archives: Sourwood Tree

Question: We are planning buy and plant this tree on our front lawn in New Jersey. However, in reading up on this tree on your website, under

Answer: Although I did not write the catalog, I suspect it reflects this tree's requirement for an acidic soil. Most lawn areas would be limed to bring the pH to a more neutral reading, and this would be detrimental to this particular tree. It is a slow grower and would not need the high levels of nitrogen fertilizer typically applied to lawn areas. It also has drooping lower branches which would make mowing beneath it difficult; and it is shallow rooted so would be in competition with the lawn grasses. In my opinion it is better suited to a mixed planting where a low maintenance groundcover would be used beneath it, or to a naturalistic area surrounded by other undemanding and acid loving native plants as it would be found in the wild. One other factor you might consider is that this tree does not do well in areas with high levels of air pollution -- the New York to Washington corridor tends to be among the most polluted in the country. I hope this helps.

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