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How do you grow an elderberry tree?

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Quick Answer

Grow an elderberry plant by first taking a cutting from a healthy wild elderberry plant, cultivating roots for the cutting in either soil or water using a root growth hormone if desired, and planting the elderberry plant in a location that has rich soil, ample drainage and has either full sun or partial shade. Give each elderberry plant approximately 8 feet of space on every side as they grow to be between 6 feet and 8 feet wide.

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Full Answer

Elderberry plants are resilient and can grow in less than optimal conditions but can not survive without water. The soil into which you plant the elderberry plant should be moist, fertilized and have a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. Manure or compost are good options for fertilizing the soil for the plant but you shouldn't use them in the first year of the plant's life. Do not prune elderberry plants, and do not pick the berries for the first two years of their life to reduce the risk of disease or stunted growth.

Prune the plants every spring, and remove all broken or dead canes. Prune canes that are three years old or more to encourage new healthy canes to grow and produce more fruit. The fruit of an elderberry plant is quite bitter on its own but is great to use in recipes such as jams and jellies, wines and juices, syrups, teas and lemonade.

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