Elderberry trees, or elderberry bushes, can typically tolerate a variety of growing conditions, but they usually prefer moist, fertile soil. Planting more than one bush is usually recommended in order for them to cross-pollinate. Since these bushes tend to grow quickly, pruning is also usually necessary. When growing elderberries for consumption, the small fruit should be protected from any animals that may try to eat it, particularly birds.
Many people will often find that growing elderberries is somewhat easy. These bushes will usually grow in a number of types of soil and climates. The ideal soil for these bushes will be well-drained, but also moist. Elderberries typically do not tolerate dry conditions well.
Growing elderberries also typically requires fertile soil. Mixing in an organic fertilizer into the soil around the bushes is usually recommended. Composted manure will usually work well for this.
Experts also recommend planting more than one elderberry bush when growing elderberries. Although many varieties of elderberries can self-pollinate to some extent, more fruit will result from cross-pollination. For best results, these bushes should be planted 10 to 60 feet (3.1 to 18.3 meters) apart. Bees and other insects can then transfer pollen from one plant to the other as they collect nectar from the flowers.
Regular pruning may also be necessary when growing elderberries. These bushes are typically very fast growing, and they can grow out of control, if left alone. It is usually best to prune these bushes when they are dormant, usually in the late winter or early spring. Any old or unhealthy growth should be snipped off. These bushes can also be pruned to help them maintain a neater appearance.
Elderberries are the fruit of the elderberry bush. These small berries grow in clusters, and they are usually very dark purple in color. Depending on the variety of elderberry bush, the berries are usually ready to harvest in the late summer or fall.
Birds will often eat the elderberries as they ripen. To protect these berries, deterrents should be placed around the bushes. Deterrents that are moving or noisy usually work best.
There are many uses of elderberry plants, and both the flowers and leaves can be used. While the berries can be eaten right from the bush, they typically have a somewhat unpleasant taste. They can, however, be used to make tasty juice, wine, and jam. Elderberry flowers can be used to make wine or tea, and they can also be battered and deep fried to make elderberry fritters.