Direct Plant Method:
1. Each cutting received from our farm is “Orientated” for proper direct planting. The “Angle Cut End” is the bottom of the cutting that goes into the soil and the “Flat Top End” is the open-air/exposed top end of the cutting. Elderberry Springs Farm does not typically ship purchased cuttings until the month of March in each Calendar Year so that the cuttings can be received, and in most cases, directly planted into the soil.
2. Elderberries prefer full sun for best growth, but will also provide adequate yields in partial shade locations. Avoid full shade locations for your cuttings. Keep the bottom ends moist and the cuttings in a cold environment with low light or darkness till ready to plant.
3. If a hedgerow or row of Elderberries is desired we suggest 2’ spacing from plant-to-plant and 14’ from the center of each row to the center of the next row. If they are planted for ornamental or single location shrubs, we recommend a minimum of 6’ spacing.
4. As soon as the frost leaves the top 3” of the ground in your desired planting location, just push the angled end of the cutting into the soil so that the first two bottom nodes(Buds) are an inch below the soil and you are done! Do not worry if the weather turns below freezing or snow covers them for they will survive and thrive! (Treating the cut ends before planting with Root Hormone or Hydrogen Peroxide to ensure no disease or fungi is fine and good insurance. Planting through a bio-degradable paper plate suppresses weed growth and provides carbon!)
First Year Care:
1. During the first two years of growth, Elderberries do not like to compete with weeds in a minimum of a 12” diameter around its cutting. Mulch heavy with hardwood chips, newspaper and hardwood chips, layers of wet cardboard, consistently hand weed or use plastic mulch film to initially direct plant through.
2. Some of your cuttings will actually form flower buds and yield flowers in the first year. It is important to snip these flower buds off so all of the plant’s energy goes into developing its root system.
3. Do not fertilize your first-year cuttings.
Second Year Care:
1. Keep a minimum of a 12” weed-free zone around the Elderberry Cane.
2. Snip off all Flower buds/ Flowers so the root system continues to develop.
3. Fertilize in Mid-April or right around the time the leaf buds are starting to swell but have not popped with their little leaves with 4 ounces of 10-10-10 (or organic equivalent) in a circle around the cane or by side-dressing application.
4. Fertilize again with 4 ounces of 10-10-10 (or organic equivalent) in a circle the cane, or by side-dressing application when you first see flower buds forming on the canes.
Third Year Care:
1. Fertilize in Mid-April or around Bud leaf Break with 1lb. of 10-10-10 (or organic equivalent) per plant.
2. Fertilize again with 1 lb. of 10-10-10 (or organic equivalent) per plant when flower buds form.
3. After 3rd growing season, when Winter Dormant, prune out all 3-year-old canes. Repeat each year.