Sourwood - Oxydendrum arboretum
Sourwood really shines in the summer and fall. The sourwood is native to eastern North America, and can be found from southern Pennsylvania down to northwest Florida. Its midsummer flowers are highly fragrant, contrasting nicely against the green foliage. Fall creates a beautiful spectacle as the leaves turn shades of crimson, purplish-red, and sometimes yellow. The sourwood is a shining specimen in landscaping, whether its as part of a lawn, featured in a nice garden, or growing as an additional ornament to larger trees.
The sourwood can be anticipated to grow within Hardiness Zones 5 through 9. Its spreading canopy makes it capable of blocking sunlight and adding beauty to a landscape. The sourwood tree's maturity has it growing to a height of 25 to 30 feet along with an approximate spread size of 20 feet. It has a medium growth rate and sees height increases of 13 to 24 inches per year. It has shallow roots and grows best when there is little root competition. Full sun is the ideal condition for the sourwood, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. The tree requires acidic soils for successful growth, and its preference is for normal moisture but it has some drought resistance.
The sourwood tree is in blooming from June to early July and features leaves that are dark green in color and have a length ranging from 4 to 8 inches. If planted at the right site the tree can live 100-200 years. It yields a fruit with an oval shape and is also used by bees to make highly desired honey. This means honey lovers can rejoice as the sourwood produces honey that is unmatched. The "sourwood" name comes from the strong, sour taste of its leaves. These same leaves are used to produce a thirst-quenching tea consumed by mountain climbers.