Honeyberries falling off?

Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)June 25, 2007

I find the berries are falling off very easily!...Is this normal?

Well...first I thought it was the birds, but when I pick them, hardly ripe, they fall off easily!

Today, I caught the Cedar Waxwing in the act!

After giving them a meal, I put some bird netting over.

But first, one was starting out on unripe Evans Cherry!

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luv2gro(z3a AB)

Disappointedly, most of mine are falling off, too. I put it down to the fact that they have grown sooooo much this year and were expending their energy getting well established. But, maybe this is common for honeyberries? I don't have the experience yet to know.

A question that I have on them is do the berries continue to grow after they turn blue? They seemed to ripen very, very quickly but they are much smaller than I thought. But, they do seem to be getting a bit bigger as time passes. When do you know to pick them?


    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 8:52AM
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Which varieties do both of you have? I am curious as the U of S has a good research plot full of berries. It is not unusual from my understanding for there to be some berry drop from wind and the "birds" checking out the plants. I am doing some selections of new varieties from seedlings so it is good to know what the experience is. I would also be interested in getting a few seeds depending on the combination of plants you have.
We have saskatoons from which we have not eaten fruit in the 6 - 8 years as the robins and waxwings are there at sun up and sundown. Our plants are too far apart to net so we just enjoy the plants! lol.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Honeysuckle Blog

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 9:22AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

A record for my honeyberry harvest, the third week of May!!! And more than 2 gallons (7.6 liters) of berries, from three bushes.

I don't think they grow any after they turn blue, at least I have never noticed. But I have seen individual fruit size reduced in years when a fantastically high number of berries per bush are produced. I have three different cultivars, and each grows characteristically different. One has HUGE berries in comparison, but fewer of them. Taste varies also, and this season they all seem to be sweeter than usual. Berries stay attached until they are quite soft and very ripe. I wonder if it is the goofy weather that is causing premature drop. My area of Minnesota experienced some weird swings too, but not as much as a lot of places, and I suspect yours.

Please be careful with the birds! After the first season of birds eating my berries (and every last one), I found little seedlings EVERYWHERE. They could be the next big woody invasive plant! From then on I net my bushes religiously, and have contemplated removing them all together. I just can't fathom that this could not be a problem elsewhere. What is really nice about this Lonicera is I harvest all the berries in one picking. A few green berries still remain (that I pick anyway), but it's very minimal.

Cultivars I grow:
'Czech No. 17' - Berry Blue
'Kiev No. 8' - Blue VelvetÂ
'Sinyaya Pititsa' - Blue BirdÂ
'Novinka' - Blue NovaÂ, very small plant at the moment

Is there a special allure of Japanese origin honeyberries? I would think that mainland seed sources would be more hardy and better adapted to temperature and rainfall extremes. I wasn't even sure they grew in Japan, although it certainly is not a stretch of the imagination.

So no birds get any of my honeyberries, but they do feast on my Serviceberry tree. I swear those Cedar Waxwings get fatter after gorging themselves.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 4:45PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Hi Rick, do you have a favorite of the cultivars you grow?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 7:23PM
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Several questions!
Where did you get the info about the name source?
How did they get to TM these plants if they were already something?
And would you ever send me seed? (25-30 per plant)I would want the parent identified. I am growing seedlings of Blue Velvet from a plant here at the U of S. Since they are open pollinated, if your plants are close together they could be quite a mix but I would still be interested in seed from all varieties. My understanding is that Blue Velvet is the kamchatika from the Kuril Islands.
Northern Japan island of Hokkaido is the main source of fruit for Japanese market and they are talking 100,000s of thousands of tonnes for their market.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 10:28PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you all!
I believe, I have Berry Blue and Blue Belle from D'nA Gardens and I don't think you need a cross
pollinator?... I had berries from only one kind.
So far, I don't see much difference between the two.
When the first berries just started to turn blue, allot of them where on the ground!
Actually, I'm surprised, how productive, also the size, when you see those spindly branches they grow on, is not all
that bad.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 1:24AM
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I had seed on Gerde which is a Russian but really they need a pollinator for a real good crop and and overall good production. I am wondering if there is some natural aborting of fruit if it has not been pollinated to produce seed. It would be interesting to check the fruit which fell and see if it has seeds in it! I have just planted Berry Blue and Blue Belle and also planted Cinderella. I got Cinderella when the Garden show was on in March (it bloomed in my basement)and I did not harden it off enough before planting so it lost it's leaves but it seems to be coming back. I also have the Russian Ognennyi Opal but it blooms later and did not set fruit. I have some seedlings from seed I acquired from a Japanese friend and they are just a year and some old but 2 of them bloomed as well. Really looking forward to next year to see how this all turns out. In the mean time I am looking for seed sources in Russia and Europe but am finding it hard to get contacts.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 12:09PM
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luv2gro(z3a AB)

When you mentioned that yours bloomed inside in March, it spurred my memory that both of mine bloomed in late September and then lost their leaves. The leaves were coming back just when winter hit. This year they leafed out beautifully, bloomed really well and are growing alot. Terry, you'll have to let me know if they bloomed last spring. Could it be, if they double bloomed last year, they are recovering this year? I also have Berry Blue and Blue Belle.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 3:05PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Hi Rick, do you have a favorite of the cultivars you grow?
Well, I certainly have a favorite when it comes to harvest: Blue Velvet. Because of the VERY large berries in comparison, I can pick the same amount (by weight) in less than one fourth the time.

In my experience, honeyberries are not self fruitful, or nearly so. As Blue Velvet normally blooms later than Blue Bird and Berry Blue, I haven't usually gotten good fruit set. That is why I purchased Blue Nova last year, which is also later blooming. This season I had excellent pollination on Blue Velvet. But since Blue Nova is still small, I wouldn't think it would produce enough pollen to make such a huge difference. It may be because of the unusually warm temps at bloom time this year, and the early and late blooming cultivars may have overlapped better.

A disadvantage for me is that honeyberries ripen so early, right in the midst of so many other gardening tasks. Literally, I was out gardening one day, turned around and discovered that they were beginning to turn color. I had to drop everything and get the bird netting in place. Not a fun thing when there are wind gusts to 40 miles per hour!

My cultivar names and trademark names come from the One Green World Catalog. They don't list the same information from year to year, but it is never contradictory. I am just a stickler about that stuff and snatch up such info whenever I find it.

All registered plant cultivars have cultivar names (i.e. Novinka). Trademark names may or may not be used in addition. They are completely different and have no relation to cultivars other than designation of same. TM's give a longer patent for the name use, and are also often used because the cultivar name is unattractive for marketing, or unpronounceable by our stupid American tongues, because the original cultivar name is in another language.

I doubt proximity plays much of a part in the purity of open pollinated seed. As you well know, few things bloom that early, and I suspect that bees will be foraging much farther than the nearest bush. I question whether even a couple 100ft (61m) would be enough to secure known parentage. Not really a relevant factor with my plants though, as they are all grouped together for good pollination. When I planted them, I didn't know if they were wind pollinated or insect pollinated.

Can you have seed? Yes, however please monitor the propensity for invasiveness in your area. But since you grow them already, my conscience is clear, and the responsibility is yours. Because of the aforementioned harvest disadvantage, most of my berries are frozen, which, I don't think would do any harm to the viability of the seed. But I won't even know the berry (mother) parent (much less the pollen parent), as all berries are mixed. There would be comparitively less genetics from Blue Velvet, as more of them were eaten fresh, and I experimented with only that cultivar for drying. (Results were not too encouraging, but I learned enough to want to try again next year). If you would like to contact me next year, about May 20, I could provide seed with more reliable parentage.

My understanding is that Blue Velvet is the kamchatika from the Kuril Islands.
I have no reason not to believe this, but, of course Blue Velvet would be a selection from those that grow on the Kurils.

It seems Lonicera kamchatika has gone through a name change, as far as I can tell. The correct, updated taxon is now caerulea.

My nephew has been living in fishing village, Obira, on Hokkaido for 2 years now. He is a very smart man, but not horticultureally oriented. I will have to ask him if he knows about honeyberries. Do you know what the Japanese name is for the berry? (Either in kanji or roman lettering, or both.)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 8:45PM
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Thanks for all the info. You do a good job. I would certainly prefer to have fresh seed from known source. I can wait.

Berries in Japan are Haskap or Haskappu or several other derivations. Check my Honeysuckle blog.
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 9:58PM
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Looking for info?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 5:44AM
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I ordered a Blue Moon and Blue Velvet from Jungs this spring, and then found out about haskap when I visited Saskatchewan in June, just when the berries were starting to ripen. I am very excited about the haskap coming out of the U of S. I am from near Bemidji, MN and am collecting orders for Canadian Haskap (Tundra & Borealis) for a fall planting, thinking October. If anyone out there wants to go in on the order, contact me at jibe717@gmail.com. Also will place a group order for Berry Blue pollinator from Raintree Nursery (half the price of One World Nursery - anyone have any comments on these nurseries?)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 8:33PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

This year it was a different story,.. they didn't fall off!
I think because we had more then the usual moister level...all that
rain helped I guess.
Bird netting is killing birds, ..if you put the cheap light netting on what
you buy in box stores. I haven't found the heavy commercial netting yet.
So this year I tried my veggie frost blankets and found out that these
blankets have a dual use....it worked rather well, you just need to secure them well, otherwise the wind will blow them away.

Cedar Waxwing taking first berries, blue & green.

As soon as the first berries got blue, it put the blanket on and left it for over two weeks.

April 17 berries got picked.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 12:52AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

jibe717, please be congizant of the invasive characteristic that they have down here in the Minneapolis area. Apparently, in Canada there is no problem, but you are closer to me, so keep a close eye. Birds will spread the seed everywhere.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 12:40AM
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We had a good year of berry harvest here in the Saskatoon area. So much growth though from about 12 inches of rain made the plants very hard to pick from so I pruned many of the plants as I went along.
I have found a few seedlings trying to start but not sure if they are from the fruit or some of the soil I have disposed of from starting seeds during the winter. It makes sense to me that if there are seeds they will grow wherever they are!
I have put up a link to my blog as I can't find how to post pictures here.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 9:41AM
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Just a follow up to my previous post. As I have pruned down a number of plants which I will discard (part of the selection process) I am seeing many little seedlings starting up. This is no surprise since this plant has it's natural roots in most northern hemisphere countries. If you follow the links on my blog to the University of Saskatchewan, you will see that Dr. Bors has collected specimens all across Canada. I am not sure of the taxonomy as they keep changing the name but they are definitely in the same species group. Interestingly I received seeds from a plant collector/seed seller this week and they were gathered in Nova Scotia. I doubt very much if they will become invasive but it seems prudent to be aware that they will spread by seeds. In the plants I have pruned I have also found the lower branches rooting easily and so they will spread in that way as well.
Still worth the effort if you like a rich, tart, and deep colored berry with good nutritional value

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 9:26AM
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