Downy arrow wood resembles in appearance another American viburnum, the southern arrow wood (V. dentatum), both being useful, hardy shrubs. The downy arrow wood’s long leaves are toothed at the edges, with wine-red autumn colour.
The white flowering occurs in June, as with most viburnums. The berries ripen early to black but are not particularly showy. This species could be used more generally in view of its hardiness and moderate size.
The viburnum leaf beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni) can reduce the leaves of this species, like those of the guelder rose (V. opulus), to a lacy net. This pest is especially troublesome when the shrubs are planted in spots that are too warm and dry.