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Elderberry varieties for Alaska

 
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I'm in zone 3b and looking for varieties of edible elderberries for my zone of south central Alaska.

Is there anyone who has tried growing in extreme cold climates? If so, What varieties and what advice can you give me?

Thank you in advance.
 
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Good question Vickey!
Red elderberries are native to parts of Alaska. I think the red sambucas requires more research. Here we grow the purple fruiting type. If memory is correct...the red fruiting type is slightly more toxic seeds than the purple fruiting variety.

Wind protection, would allow some frost/freeze protection. not sure how much your soil freezes though.
 
Vickey McDonald
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Sena Kassim wrote:Good question Vickey!
Red elderberries are native to parts of Alaska. I think the red sambucas requires more research. Here we grow the purple fruiting type. If memory is correct...the red fruiting type is slightly more toxic seeds than the purple fruiting variety.

Wind protection, would allow some frost/freeze protection. not sure how much your soil freezes though.



You are right Sena. The red grow wild all over my area. However, everyone I have talked to says the red cannot be used as edible. That it is too toxic.
The black and then the blue are what is typically called for when doing medicinal and edibles.

As for our freezing, it is not unusual to see -25, even for weeks and even a month at a time.  We can't plant outside until Memorial weekend or even the second week of June here.
 
Sena Kassim
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https://alaskaberryblog.com/more/more-species/elderberry/

https://www.juneauempire.com/news/planet-alaska-a-celebration-of-elderberry-and-elders/

I too adore elderberries, so i did some web surfing. it seems the red is used medicinally. However extra precautions are necessary due to the high content of cyanide.

Attached are the resources I read over, it seems possible with lots of caution.

-25?! for weeks??? that is very cold. Elderberry could thrive in a pot. Maybe that is an option for less cold hardy varieties.  
 
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Vickey McDonald wrote:I'm in zone 3b and looking for varieties of edible elderberries for my zone of south central Alaska.Is there anyone who has tried growing in extreme cold climates? If so, What varieties and what advice can you give me?Thank you in advance.



I live in a Zone 5 area and I know the differences of your Zone, much harsher winters.

I purchased 2 sets of 2 each bare root Elderberries which turned out to be Adams & York. What I received you would not have believed they wold grow. The roots looked dead, dead, and deader! I would have returned them except it would have cost as much as the bare roots did.

SO, I made up my mind to just plant the darned things anyway. I put the 4 plants in a row and low end actually had water in the hole to the top after digging the hole. I still put it in the ground and moved the soil back over it and just ignored what I had done for a couple of weeks. When I went out again, there was just a bit of green showing on a couple of the stems. Two weeks later I could not believe how those four plants had grown.

From what I have read and have talked to a couple of Gardening Supply employees nearby the Adams and York are GREAT for beginners as they have been around forever and grow well and produce well.

IF I were you I would just pop for a couple of sets like I did and go for it! Ooops! Just checked the site I stated above and 1 plant each of 2 varieties is just a bit under $40. WOW!!! It might be better and cheaper if you can find someone local who already has Elderberries and beg for a couple of shoots or root stock from them. Shoots can be powdered with a rooting hormone and either potted or just stuck in the hole where you intend to grow them with some good soil and compost/manure.

I'm sure you can get those started and then when you get to Fall, pile up mulch in a wide strip down the whole row about 4" thick and hope for the best with the weather. I know Elderberries have a very vibrant root system as shoots from my plants came up about 2 ft to 5 ft. from the plant last year. The rooting of these plants is very good! Just have patience with them.

Good luck on your efforts. And let us know if your heavy mulch applications works for you.
 
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Do you have any write ups on living in Alaska?

Now that I have my debts paid off and am in saving mode, I have been browsing around the U.S. for land, Maine and Alaska have become my focal points, with their relatively free and pristine conditions. No better places to put to use some of the things I read on this website, which are mostly useless in Florida (rocket mass heaters...). I'd like to live off-grid but it might take a few years of back and forth travel to set up. I'm not sure I'd be able to set everything up in one summer.

I have heard and seen videos of Alaska having beyond an abundance of various wild berries. I'm sure they're more tart than tasty, cultivated elderberries though.
 
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Hi Vicky
Not sure if they can ship across the boarder for you.
But I just ordered hardy to zone 2&3 Elderberry from ttseeds.com out of Manitoba Canada.
If you don’t have any luck I might be able to send you some next year.
I am zone 3.
 
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Location: Argyle, Manitoba, Canada Zone 3
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I ordered from ttseeds.com too!  I'm in 3b here in Manitoba.  Try seed sources from Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta Canada.  They are also zone 3 and  zone 2 too.  

edit to add:  I've had good luck ordering seeds from www.richters.com, an Ontario company
 
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Vickey,

I'm in 3b/4a (Kenai/Soldotna) and I just ordered cuttings of Adams, Johns, York, Wyldwood, and Nova (American varieties) and Marge (European variety) to see if they would grow here. Even if the tops winter kill, I should still get some fruit from the American varieties since they fruit on new wood (Marge doesn't). Some elderberry farmers down south mow their rows annually. It keeps the plants smaller but does reduce harvest a bit. It can also delay harvest a couple weeks. That may be an issue here with our short growing season. An August frost may get the berries before they ripen.

I'm not anticipating any flowers this year. I just want to get them rooted and in the ground. I'll consider it a win if they go dormant in time and come back next spring. I'm definitely giving them a thick mulch to get them through the first winter. I'll pull it back in the spring so they warm up sooner. Then I'll re-mulch once they break dormancy to conserve moisture & fight weeds.

Fruit would be nice, but I mainly wanted flowers for honey bees. Haskaps and saskatoons are early and fireweed is late. Elderberry should (hopefully) provide my bees some food during June/July.

I still have about a foot of snow, so most outdoor plant experiments are paused right now. We'll see what the rest of spring/summer brings us.

Ben
 
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