Thinking of Growing the Elderberry?
Elderberry plants are hardy perennials that typically bear a small harvest after the second year of planting and are fully mature and have a 10-12 pound harvest by the third year. Recommended growing zones are 3-8.
Growing the elderberry plant can be done from seed or from cutting. Plants from cuttings are preferred because an elderberry plant from seed will not have the exact characteristics as the mother plant. This can be a problem if you want disease resistance, uniform berry or cluster size, or condensed harvest times. Elderberry cuttings will produce the same characteristics as the plant that it was taken from. There are many new varieties of elderberry that are more suited to the midwest than older ones and much better than wild elderberry plants.
How far apart to plant elderberry
Plant spacing recommended for growing elderberry plants is typically 4 feet apart and if in rows, the rows are generally 10-12 feet apart. Ten feet may seem like a wide aisle in the beginning but after the plants have matured is only wide enough for a lawn mower with a large deck. The side branches will often be disturbed when mowing a 10 foot aisle elderberry planting. If you have the space 12-15 feet row spacing for elderberries may be more productive. This would allow tractor access between the rows.
Water needs of the elderberry plant
An elderberry plant needs a rainfall of 1 inch per week during spring and summer. If one inch of rain doesn't fall during a given week you should give the plant 1 gallon of water. Watering needs for a 1-2 year old plant should be monitored very closely, as occasionally during the heat of summer the soil will dry out further than its roots can reach within a few days. A 3-4 year old mature elderberry can go a bit longer without having water but production will suffer.
Do elderberry plants prefer full sun or partial shade?
Although you may see elderberry plants growing in partial shade, elderberry plants prefer full sun.
Is the elderberry plant invasive?
Elderberry plants spread by sucker roots, and can become invasive only if left unchecked. If regular mowing is done beside the plant it will not spread beyond where you are mowing. Cows, goats and pigs will all destroy elderberry plants.
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