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Let's talk seaberry!  RSS feed

 
Posts: 74
Location: Southeast Michigan
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Let's talk seaberry!

I'm in Zone 5b michigan, looking for unique edibles attuned to the kind of cold we get, and seaberry seems like a great tough option for food and nitrogen at the same time.

I've come to understand there are a LOT of varieties of seaberry. One Green World has some ~15 varieties at a glance. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed choosing the right ones for my design without more information, so I'm wondering if anybody here has experience with some of these varieties.

I'm looking for a handful of varieties to fill 2 distinct niches in our site.

One: large bushy, vigorous varieties for nitrogen fixation in our hedge. Good fruit flavor and production are a bonus but not a requirement here.

Two: compact (4-8ft), productive varieties with high fruit quality for a berry bush area. Flavor, fruit size and sweetness are key here, though some tartness and even a tart variety with exceptional flavor are both fine. At least a majority of them should have a flavor suited for fresh eating.

Thanks in advance! Really looking forward to hearing your experiences.
 
pollinator
Posts: 756
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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They wouldn’t grow for me. 3-4 years and not much taller than when I bought them. I suspect that they couldn’t stand our wet spring weather and only fair drainage.  One died and I took the other out.
 
garden master
Posts: 1987
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I know very little about them but I bought the 6 pack from One Green World so I'm hoping the varieties they picked are good.  I have sandy, fast draining soil so I think they'll be fine for me.

I'm debating where to put them.  I plan on putting them near a walnut based on some limited research saying the juglone would be ok.  It sounds like they are wind pollinated and you need a male to pollinate up to 6-8 females.  Pollination distance is a bit fuzzy.  Some sources say 30', others say 150'.  I'll probably put them in a clump so it doesn't matter. 

Sorry it's not much info to add to the conversation...
 
pollinator
Posts: 201
Location: Worcestershire, England
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I have Mary and Sunny as well as Lord (male). I also have conventional sea buckthorn which to be honest is pretty bad by comparison. Mary and sunny are quite sweet like a slightly sour orange juice. I have also noticed the named cultivars are ready way before the 'wild' version as well as being eaier to pick and tasting better.

I have heavy clay soil and they are growing just fine here! Perhaps the problem is the lack of moisture rather than the soil type?
 
Posts: 296
Location: S. Ontario Canada
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I planted 6 about a foot tall in 2015 in sandy very high PH soil and they seem to be doing better than most other things here. The first winter one got nibbled down but nothing has bothered the rest. About 5ft tall now and waiting for some fruit!
 
Posts: 418
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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planted mine in rocky heavy clay soil 3 years about a ft. tall. . theyre 6ft now. maybe see some flowers/ berries this year. one male , one female . think the female is russian orange. don't remember what male is.
 
Mike Jay
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Posts: 1987
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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My seaberry bundle arrived!  I need to plant them pretty soon.  What's a good spacing for a living fence with these plants?  I was going to put them 4' apart.  Is that about right?  Thanks!
 
Posts: 205
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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Some thoughts... My experience comes from small-scale growing of Russian/German cultivars (Leikora, Orange energy, one is supposedly Hergo) during the last 10 years or so. Clay soil, ph 4.5 - 5.5, continental climate, hardiness zone 6/7.

- Think about harvesting. Harvesting seaberry is hard. It's closer to pruning overgrown roses than it is to picking cherries. The berries do not dislodge easily and by the time you've applied enough pressure to separate them from the plant, it's not unusual to notice that you've also squished them in the process. Maybe you want to chop of entire branches, freeze them and then shake off the berries. This works fine but, well, you took of a whole branch.

- While some cultivars have better taste than others, this is just not dessert fruit. Satisfaction is a combination of reality and expectation. In this case (and many others) it is the latter which will respond more easily.

- I've compared the taste of named cultivars that I had available with "no-name" seaberries which for some reason get planted as windbreaks at gas stations around here. There is some difference. Not night and day though.

- Soil pH is not so important. However, despite talk of this being a pioneer plant, soil humidity is quite important, at least until you have a 6 ft bush. Deep mulch helps but in the end there's no substitute for watering young plants. You can skip on it and they'll take much longer to grow up. If that's OK then... OK. (It's what I did as well. It took about 7 years to bushes to grow to a good size.)

- Once they have found their footing they will sucker. You may consider this good or bad. For a living fence it sounds like a good thing. If you want your fence to get dense as soon as possible then 4 ft is not wrong. (It will get REALLY dense later on though.)

- In my book autumn olive named cultivars beat seaberry named cultivars in the resilience + N-fixing + taste combined category any time of the day. (Especially Sweet-n-tart which likes to bear fruit on the main branches so harvesting is super easy.)

Maybe some of this is helpful to you. Good luck in your adventure

 
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