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Posted by krikit Z7 TN (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 28, 06 at 11:33

Does anyone here have any experience with the elderberry varieties such as Black Lace? They are listed as maturing to 10', but what I'm wondering is do you grow them like a tree? I have a spot by my sidewalk where I'd like to have a small tree, but it would have to grow upright enough and be 'limbed up' high enough so that people could walk under it.

Thanks in advance for any info,

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Wreath workshop

I heard on the radio recently about a wreath making workshop on December 10 and I am not sure if it was with the Friends of the Gardens or thru the UT gardens. Does anyone have any info because I am sure I would need to register soon.

RE: Elderberries

Sorry, I was trying to make a new topic and not to reply to your post Frances and obviously I am not sure how to do this.

RE: Elderberries


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P.S. Someone answer Frances's questions!

RE: Elderberries

I tried to plant several of the 'better' cultivars of Elderberries in our back yard. I knew Elderberries would grow there because we had what our neighbor described as one of the best elderberry bushes in our end of the county- about a hundred feet from where the new bushes went in. The established bush was on the shady/north side of a two story high barn.
The new bushes never did anything good. They stayed short and DH mowed them down one year thinking they were weeds.

Well, he was sort of right. Elderberries are weeds around here. And I know the locations of quite a few as I want to make jelly from them for a cousin who remembers it as the kind she grew up eating.
A good elderberry bush ends up with pounds of fruit hanging from the ends of the stems. Once it's harvested, it's upright again. But the berries do stain, not as bad as poke, but stain nonetheless.

My most consistant upright growing shrub/small tree is the red twigged dogwood. It is shrubby, rather than tree like, but I have it planted where it doesn't look bad against the creamy yellow of our house but where I can see the !!red twigs in winter against the grey green of winter as I work in the kitchen.

I'd also consider a gingko for upright trainable growth and I do love the yellow leaves in the fall.

Wish I could report better news on the elderberries (and I'd still like that butterfly bush and I have a Alba meidiland for your Momma.)


RE: Elderberries

We have elderberries growing wild here at the farm. Twice I have tried some named elderberry culitvars, but they never did anything and finally died. Now I've decided why bother, because the wild ones produce more than enough fruit for us and the birds. The ones here could certainly be grown for people to walk under. But I'd think they'd be rather messy when the petals drop. Also in the fall. The birds love the elderberries and spend a lot of time on them.

Sorry not to be of more help to you.


RE: Elderberries

Hey thanks Ann & Becky for the info, of course I'd have liked hearing that they are wonderful small trees, etc. - but, I'm always glad to know upfront rather than experience the disappointment first hand. I've had plenty of that!

Ann, I'll get with you sometime about bringing the little butterfly bush up .... and having a nice visit!

Thanks again,

RE: Elderberries

anntn6b: The purple-leaved elderberry cultivars need more sunlight than the green forms (the purple pigment acts as a sunscreen), if they are still alive you could try moving them to a sunnier site.

RE: Elderberries

I have the variegated elderberry...wish I could remember the name..and it became a small tree. Very lovely until this summer when it got some sort of fungus and lost most of its leaves. I also have Black Beauty which after 5 years is only 6 feet tall. This year I paid $$$ for Black Lace and I'm really disappointed in it. So far, it is 2 feet wide and only 1 foot tall. The foliage is fine, but it is nothing like the "Japanese maple for the north" that I was hoping for. None of mine have had the lovely berries (yet) that you see on the the wild varieties or even the cultivated varieties used for wine making.
I would agree with the advice to find a red twigged dogwood or a gingko. I have better luck with both of them. Myself...I'm going to keep babying my elderberries, try to see if a sunnier location will bring on the berries next year.

RE: Elderberries

Thanks a bunch to all! It's so good to be relieved of that 'gotta have that' feeling, that unfortunately ends with a big disappointment.


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