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Sandy soil and elderberries

 
Posts: 6
Location: Palmer rapids Ontario Canada
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Hi John, seeing this topic up here is such a coincidence because last spring I almost accidentally ordered 2 elderberry bushes with my blueberries. They did fine until October when the deer ate the bush right down to the soil.
This year I ordered 6 more and I am much more intentional about wanting Elderberries. Our soil is pure sand and I am mixing some manure peat moss and compost to everything I plant. We have bees which I understand are happy to be pollinated by and provide a high quality pollen for the bees.
My question is what is the best mix for my soil to get the best outcome. Also I have read partly shaded and then in another thread I have read full sun.
I am Canada planting zone 4B.
Thanks a heap! Looking forward to reading your book!
 
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Sandy soil is tough for elder.  They enjoy moist soil - so I would plant where you can direct water to - such as a natural area where water drains through, or where you direct house run off from your roof, etc.

Per soil, anything you can do to increase water retention - so adding organic matter galore - leaf mold, mushroom compost, etc.   Note, I never amend soil until I have soil test results - without a test, you just guessed!  

Coconut coir is especially excellent for increasing water holding capacity, as is worm compost.    All depends on 1.your soil results  2. your resources and budget

Full sun is best, especially as far north as you are IMO.  

 
Colleen Mycroft
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Location: Palmer rapids Ontario Canada
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That is excellent information thank you!
 
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I have sandy soil and also elderberries all over.  I have never watered them, however, I live in the MO Ozarks and sometimes it rains.  Last year and this winter we have had well over our normal rainfall, but the elderberries were around ever since I got here 16 years ago and there have been plenty of drought years.  They do indeed grow in low areas, like along RR tracks.  That might be clayey soil.  My place is sandy enough to look like a beach and the berries are there.   I  have never seen any elderberry plants up on the dry hills.   I've noticed that most of the producing berries grow in full sun.  And when I throw the 'skeletons' out my door I ended up with elders all over the yard!

We are in very different zones, tho.  I am zone 6.  Good luck with your elders!

Lisa
 
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Colleen Mycroft wrote:Hi John, seeing this topic up here is such a coincidence because last spring I almost accidentally ordered 2 elderberry bushes with my blueberries. They did fine until October when the deer ate the bush right down to the soil.
This year I ordered 6 more and I am much more intentional about wanting Elderberries. Our soil is pure sand and I am mixing some manure peat moss and compost to everything I plant. We have bees which I understand are happy to be pollinated by and provide a high quality pollen for the bees.
My question is what is the best mix for my soil to get the best outcome. Also I have read partly shaded and then in another thread I have read full sun.
I am Canada planting zone 4B.
Thanks a heap! Looking forward to reading your book!

 
Bronwyn Olsen
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Colleen Mycroft, when deer ate your elderberry to the ground, did it recover at all?  I am now a bit discouraged to plant without protection?
 
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Elderberry will grow in sandy conditions as long as the water table isn't to far underground. (the roots of elderberry can go quite deep when given the opportunity)
The natural habitat of Elderberry is stream side or any place with a rather high water table, if a willow will grow there, so will an Elderberry.

If you want to increase the water holding ability you will want to add some clay to the soil. The best method of doing this is with your compost mulch, just add some clay to the compost heap in very thin layers, then when you apply it, the clay will be along for the ride.
Another method is to use mushroom slurries over the area you want to hold more water. Fungi are great at coagulating particles into conglomerates which allow for more water to be held in the sandy soil.
The compost feeds the  bacteria and fungi as well as providing carbon and other organic materials, over time the simple act of using compost as mulch will do wonderful things to the structure and microbiome quantities.

Redhawk
 
Posts: 33
Location: Chipley, FL
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How wet can elderberries handle their feet?  I have a few acres of wetland and am thinking the edge of that area might be a good place for some elderberries.  If we get a storm like the one we just had, and it floods higher than normal, is that a problem?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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They can grow with wet feet but it seems that the best ones I've found in the field are near the bank edge of streams. I have seen them in flooded areas and the flood water staying for over a month didn't appear to have any adverse effects on the elderberry plants.

Redhawk
 
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