Fruit Or Wood?
Elderberry juice is highly valued in the health food industry its antioxidant values exceed those of blueberry and raspberry.Most elderberry wine is produced using imported juice although several regional wineries take pride in using locally grown fruit. Elderberry fruit can also be used to make jelly, syrup, and refined as an extract and colorant. There is also a market for the flowers which are dipped in batter and fried as well as being dried for use in tea.
General Production Notes:
Elderberry can be propagated from seed, cuttings, and by transplanting existing stock. Elderberries produce a good seed crop almost every year and the seeds may remain viable for up to 16 years in storage. Plants with superior production qualities are best propagated by cuttings which may be taken from both dormant and actively growing wood, or by divisions from quality stock plants.
Elderberries prefer a heavy soil, high in organic content. They do best with ample moisture and will tolerate poor drainage. They are not drought tolerant and produce best in full sun.
Plants are set 4-5 feet apart in rows that are 10-12 feet apart to accommodate equipment.
Fruit is borne on new growth. Two pruning cycles are recommended. The first removes all wood once the plants become dormant. This narrows the harvest window the following year but reduces the crop. The second cycle leaves stems from the current year. This increases yield but widens the harvest window. In years when spring winds break off new growth, this practice will reduce damage to the orchard.
Elderberries have few significant insect pests. Deer will occasionally feed on the new growth. The fruit does attract birds.