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Planting Honeyberry

 
Julie Bernhardt
Posts: 54
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
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How close can I plant honeyberry bushes? I have read to put them 6 feet apart in rows 12 feet on center, but I'm not planting a field. I have 4 very small plants and I have an area where I can plant all of them if I can have them about 4 feet apart.

My plants are only about 6 inches tall so would it be better to plant them in the garden now or keep them in pots to get bigger and put them out in the fall or next spring?
 
Cam Mitchell
Posts: 108
Location: W. CO, 6A
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I would think you can plant them at 4 feet. It does mean that you'll probably have very tight spacing at maturiy.
You could always prune and use trimmings for chop'n'drop mulch.
I'd also say that putting them in the ground sooner would be better.
They get used to the climate and can put out permanent roots. They might need some shade protection, too if summers are hot.
I also just bought some, and I'm excited to put them in.
 
Julie Bernhardt
Posts: 54
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
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Thank you.
 
Blythe Barbo
Posts: 40
Location: Sequim, WA USA - zone 8b
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I, too, struggle with whether to plant them out small or keep them in pots - 6 inches is pretty small. I have erred both ways - and also been successful both ways. I have honeyberries in 2 places - one widely spaced and the other about 4-feet apart. They have managed to survive despite bindweed/morning glory, field grass, and moles and voles digging tunnels around their roots. I have mulched all around to block the weeds, only to make a safe haven for the voles (and the weeds grow through anyway). On a couple of them, I put tomato cages with landscape fabric clipped around the wires to provide shade (I was counting on an American Cranberry shrub to shade them, but it wasn't big enough yet. I have read they like shade but then, I later read that they prefer sun). In pots, they can get too dried out and cannot take advantage of the microbial communities in bigger soils; in the ground, they face being overrun by weeds. It really depends on your situation. For me, I, too, would vote for in the ground, despite their small size, partly because I don't do well with potted plants - but keep an eye on them. Plant temporary plants around them - annuals or groundcovers - to block out the weeds. Honeybees are wonderful. They bloom early, which the bees really appreciate. Last year, we got our first "crop" - looking forward to more as they get bigger. Good luck!
 
Jesse Henderson
Posts: 4
Location: Northwest Arkansas
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Mine like shade. In the heat of the summer they seemed very stressed but did better when I added some shade. They also like a lot of water. Don't let their feet get dry.
 
Cam Mitchell
Posts: 108
Location: W. CO, 6A
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Blythe Barbo wrote:Last year, we got our first "crop" - looking forward to more as they get bigger. Good luck!

How long did it take to get a yield? I've read it's 2-4 years. Also, what varieties do you have?
 
Blythe Barbo
Posts: 40
Location: Sequim, WA USA - zone 8b
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Cam Mitchell wrote:How long did it take to get a yield? I've read it's 2-4 years. Also, what varieties do you have?

We purchased Kamchatka and Blue Velvet in 2011 (source: Burnt Ridge); they are supposed to flower at similar times and cross-pollinate. They were pretty small, but with some coaxing, they did well - no fault of the nursery - mostly just the conditions I put them in (surrounded by grass and morning glory--cardboard and mulch did not deter them). Also, one of them accidentally got whacked in weeding, and it still pulled through. Last year, we planted Blue Moon, Blue Pacific, and Blue Sky (also Burnt Ridge) and Borealis (Forest Farm). They are larger plants and are doing great - planted them in a different place, on the edge of a blueberry patch. So yes, I would say 2 years under most conditions. I think I would like to try some cuttings this year - or maybe layering.
 
Julie Bernhardt
Posts: 54
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
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I'm in central Indiana, zone 5. Would I need to shade them?
I thought they were to be in full sun.
 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Qu├ębec, Canada (zone 4b)
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I always count 4 years before having a good yield with fruits trees and buches and 6-7 years with nut trees.

isabelle
 
Rob Read
Posts: 86
Location: Poplar Hill, Ontario (near London) - Zone 6a
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My understanding is that honeyberries only get to about 5' in height and width - so planting 4-5' apart should be fine, as long as you don't need a path between them. I planted mine in a triangle patten, one pollinator and two fruiting (though even the pollinator gets some fruit). Mine have been in about 4 years, and this year have a fair number of berries, after micro-crops the past two years. I sheet compost and expand the (wood chip) mulch around them every couple of years, and they are in what is currently a mowed lawn, so don't have a huge amount of competition.

Just yesterday, I was delighted to see some were already ripe (by far the first berry in my region), and I sample them with my 2 and 4 year olds - there was disagreement about whether they were fully ripe, but either way were good. They look a lot like blueberries in colour, but I consider the taste a bit closer to raspberries, though a bit on the tart side (like I said, they are likely not fully ripe, but anyone with kids (or who has been a kid around berries) knows they can take it pretty tart sometimes!

As to planting out small stock - I have mixed feelings on that too. It really depends on the stock. I planted out tiny beach plums - and they are thriving. In small pots, not very well watered, they were fine - even when the soil got hard in the pot from not enough water - a very tough plant. I planted tiny jujube out in the ground - barely alive a year later. The same size plants, kept by a friend in a pot with a lot of care, are really thriving. Depends on the amount of care you are able to give, and how much you want to select for really strong genetics. And how much money you have to buy more stock if you lose it and don't have any other way to get it.

Rob
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
permaculture orchardist
Posts: 118
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Julie Bernhardt wrote:I'm in central Indiana, zone 5. Would I need to shade them?
I thought they were to be in full sun.

Julie honeyberry are a woodland edge species. Partial shade suits them really well. We grow them under the fruit trees.
 
Julie Bernhardt
Posts: 54
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
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I still don't have them in the ground. I didn't know that the pollinator had less berries. I bought 2 two plant collections from Stark brothers so I have 4 varieties but I don't know which ones are the pollinators. I'm attaching pictures of where I am planning to put them. This is south of a brick house on site 1 and south west of the house on site 2.
honeyberry site1.jpg
[Thumbnail for honeyberry site1.jpg]
Site 1. The daylillies can be removed as the bushes grow. I have the honeyberries in 2 gallon pots sitting where I am considering planting them. I just dug out a butterfly bush in the middle here.
honeyberries for site 1.jpg
[Thumbnail for honeyberries for site 1.jpg]
These are the plants for site 1
honeyberry site 2.jpg
[Thumbnail for honeyberry site 2.jpg]
This is site 2 that is south west of the house and used to be where a garden pond was so there is a cement shelf around it about 8 inches wide. It is wetter here because the gutter sprays on it when the birds stuff nests in it.
 
Julie Bernhardt
Posts: 54
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
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These are the honeyberries I have for site 2. I don't know much about the different varieties so I don't know if any like the drier or wetter place.I just kept the varieties together as they are sold in the collections.

I have made so many mistakes planting in the wrong locations that I'm afraid to keep doing that.
I bought goji berries this year and potted them because they were so small and they are barely alive. I don't know what I did wrong there.
Honeyberries for site 2.jpg
[Thumbnail for Honeyberries for site 2.jpg]
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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I planted 2 last year and only one made it, but it does look good.
So I ordered 2 more. They were very small but I cleared out a spot in a fenced in area where there were no animals. Unfortunately, the big LGD decided she needed a break from the sheep and went over to my nice, cleaned out spot and ripped them out.

I just ordered 2 more on clearance.
 
Wi Tim
Posts: 62
Location: North Idaho, zone 5a
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I got my 3 bushes from a local nursery and planted them in fall 2012, so they have been in the ground for only one whole season. Their growth is impressive - I bought them about 1ft X 1ft (maybe a little more), are now they are about 3ft X 3ft each. This year's growth was especially strong. I think they will reach 4-5ft in no time.

However, I did not get much berries yet. There were only a few berries on 2 of the bushes last year, and a few berries on all 3 bushes this year.
This year, all 3 bushes flowered nicely in early spring, and then... started growing. They are lush and green, with only a few berries deep inside the bush, since they grew so much.

I wonder what went wrong. Did they bloom too early, when there were virtually no insects? Did I over fertilize? Are they too young yet? I have Cinderella, Tundra and Borealis.
 
Joshua Parke
Posts: 77
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Julie Bernhardt wrote:I bought goji berries this year and potted them because they were so small and they are barely alive. I don't know what I did wrong there.


It's probably nothing that you did. I've noticed that when I plant them from seed that some of them are very vigorous and some don't do much at all. If you have some goji berries you could plant them and then keep the vigorous ones. I just tear the berry in half and plant one half per pot, then thin them to a single seedling as soon as you see them coming up with some scissors. They'll grow faster if you thin them right away.

I think a bag of goji berries cost around 20 bucks....and you can get thousands of seeds from that one bag. If you want to separate each seed individually from the goji berry then soak the berry until it absorbs water, then it's fairly simple to remove each individual seed.
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 1924
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I agree with Stefan, plant them in at least partial shade if you have a hot climate. Ours is much cooler than Indiana and we plant in mostly shade. They produce every year and look very healthy. They grow wider than tall at maturity, like 4' tall and 6 ' wide. I have grown them for many, many years.
John S
PDX OR
 
Stefan Sobkowiak
permaculture orchardist
Posts: 118
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Julie Bernhardt wrote:I still don't have them in the ground. I didn't know that the pollinator had less berries. I bought 2 two plant collections from Stark brothers so I have 4 varieties but I don't know which ones are the pollinators. I'm attaching pictures of where I am planning to put them. This is south of a brick house on site 1 and south west of the house on site 2.

Where your pots are looks good. Just imagine a 3 foot circle, since it's the space it will take. Don't worry about which is the pollinator. They are all pollinators of each other. They will all produce fruit, just some a little more than others.
 
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