Welcome John. I am just beginning with elderberries. I planted two last year, and lost both. I live in the Northeast, and they didn't seem to like the location. Is there a recommended number of plants to start with, and/or varieties for beginners? Thanks!
CR, are there native elderberries where you live?? There are plenty where I am, in the MO Ozarks. That will tell you what they like in your area. I actually dug some cuttings up from the roadside long before there were named varieties (I think!). We have an Extension Fruit Farm in the area that has been there for over 100 years. Maybe (guessing) 10 years ago they started doing research on elderberries since they could be a cash crop here in the Ozarks. One interesting thing in the research was about mowing them down each year...as is done by the road crews. It runs out that this doesn't cause any problems except delaying fruiting by a couple weeks or so. That was good news to me because I have some wild bushes that are over 15 feet tall. No way to harvest those! Now I just have to remember to bushhog them off in the fall!
Another interesting part of the research was about drooping seed heads. Some droop, some don't and the ones that don't get eaten by the birds more easily. I can attest to that. But, if I cut them down and create shorter plants, then maybe I can put a row cover over the tops when they are ripening.
Good luck with yours! Lisa
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