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American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) Profile

Written by Iris

Aug 11 2021

American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) Profile
American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) is a deciduous shrub with bright white flowers and small berries. American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) makes a lovely addition to any garden or landscape due to its lush greenery, flowers, and edible fruit. Native to North America, American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) is also known for its culinary qualities-elderberry fruits can be eaten and cooked, but only if they are fully ripe.

American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) Picture

 American Elderberry

American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) Info

Botanical Name Sambucus canadensis
Common Name American Elderberry
Plant Type Shrub
Mature Size 10–15 feet
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Soil Type Rich, well-draining, loamy
Soil pH Acidic
Bloom Time Spring
 

Ecological Habits of American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)

American elderberry is native to New Hampshire and can be found growing in moist soils at forest or wetland edges. American Elderberry can grow five to ten feet tall and wide and has gray barked stems with white pithy centers. Groups of stems of American Elderberry emerge from the roots and develop an arching and spreading habit. The American Elderberry's opposite leaves are compound with five to 11 leaflets that have serrated edges. Large, flat-topped, white flowers are borne between mid-June and mid-July. These give way to purple-black, berry-like fruits in August through September.

American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) Distribution Area

Sambucus canadensis, the American Elderberry, is a species of elderberry native to a large area of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, south to Bolivia. American Elderberry grows in a variety of conditions including both wet and dry soils, primarily in sunny locations.
American Elderberry

How to Grow and Care for American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)

How to Grow American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)

  • With Seeds
Mix the American Elderberry seeds into a well-draining substrate like a mixture of compost and sharp sand. This should be moist but not wet and there should be enough to keep the American Elderberry seeds apart from one another.  Put the mixture and seeds into a large zip-lock bag and let it sit somewhere with temperatures of around 68 degrees F. (20 C.) for 10 to 12 weeks. After that, place it in the refrigerator at 39 degrees F. (4 C.) for 14 to 16 weeks. At this point the seeds can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, keep moist and wait for the seedlings to appear. After a year or two, move them to their final location.
  • With Cuttings
American Elderberry are very easy to propagate from cuttings, and you can often just cut some pieces off a growing tree and push them in the ground and they will grow. Suckers from a mature plant can also be dug up and replanted elsewhere.
A more sure fire way to propagate is in late fall through early spring, when the American Elderberry is dormant. Select a branch from an elder bush you wish to grow and cut it into six inch pieces. Remove the leaves, keeping the nodes intact, and stick them a pot of sand mixed with peat moss or potting soil.
Soaking the cuttings in a natural willow bark rooting hormone first can help the process, but isn't totally necessary as American Elderberry will readily root on its own.

How to Care for American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)

  • Light
American elderberry prefers a spot that boasts full sun or partial shade.
  • Soil
American Elderberres are a perennial crop that require proper soil preparation before planting. On sandy soils or soils low in fertility, organic matter such as manure or peat should be incorporated prior to planting to increase moisture retention and provide nutrients.
  • Water
American Elderberries need a lot of water, but as long as the roots have had a chance to anchor themselves, the shrub can handle periods of drought. The soil around an elderberry shrub should be moist, but not waterlogged.
  • Temperature and Humidity
American elderberry shrubs' easygoing nature extends to temperature and humidity as well. While elderberries thrive in zones 3–11, American Elderberries are deciduous through zone 8, and evergreen in zones 9–11, where there is no frost.
  • Fertilizer
Growing American Elderberry doesn't require a lot of maintenance. Once plants are a year old, fertilize yearly in early spring, right before the plant comes out of dormancy.
  • Pruning
The largest American Elderberries grow on new shoots, wlth smaller berries forming on the previous year's growth. Cultural practices In Missouri are to cut the bush down after harvest and grow new shoots every year.
American Elderberry

Uses of American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)

American Elderberry are a versatile plant, with tons of uses. Obviously, the American Elderberry flowers will look great in any part of your yard or garden (especially a landscape setting), but you'll get the most practical use out of the berries, which are mainly used as an ingredient in syrups, pies, extracts, jams, wines and champagnes. The flowers can also be ground up for the same uses. Just make sure the berries are ripe and properly cleaned before you use them, just like any other fruit.
Like most other berries, American Elderberry are chock-full of antioxidants, and contain high amounts of Vitamin C and potassium, which aid your immune system in preventing and fighting off cold and flu symptoms. Unripe elderberries, in addition to the American Elderberry's leaves, twigs, stems and roots, contain traces of cyanide. Make sure American Elderberries are ripe and clean before consumption. The leaves, twigs, stems and roots should be avoided to begin with.
American Elderberry

American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) Common Pests/Diseases

Diseases
Tomato Ringspot Virus is among the most serious diseases affecting elderberries. It is spread by nematodes and through pollen transfer. Dandelions and some other weeds can also carry this virus. It results in weakened plants, reduced productivity and eventually plant death. To control the virus, the soil should be tested for nematodes prior to planting, and fumigated if necessary. Wild elderberry plants within an area of 100 ft. (31 metres) surrounding cultivated plants should be eradicated also.
Stem and twig cankers (Cytospora, Nectria, and Sphaeropsis) are among the fungus diseases which can be controlled by pruning and burning of infected canes. Powdery mildew can affect canes and berries in late summer and early fall. It results in a grey appearance on the berries, but does not lower the quality of the juice. Leaf spotting fungi, thread blight, root rots, and Verticillium are among the less common diseases.
Pests
Birds are the major pest affecting elderberries. They eat the fruits, and can be a serious problem in small plantings. Control measures include noise cannons, distress calls and prompt harvesting of ripe fruit, but the most effective means is netting.
Elder Shoot Borer
The larva is yellowish white with a double row of black dots across each body segment and a black head. It feeds inside the stem and may cause substantial dieback and loss of canes. Infested and dead canes should be cut out in the fall to destroy overwintering eggs. The adult is a moth with rust red forewings mottled with grey and yellowish grey hind wings.
Sap Beetles
Adult beetles are 5 mm in length, black with four yellow spots on the elytra. The beetles become a problem when fruit is damaged or overmature, as they are attracted by fermenting sugars. Sap beetle larvae can also be a problem. As the blooms form larvae will tunnel into the base of the bloom and feed in the centre of the flower cluster.
Eriophyid Mites
These tiny mites, visible only under microscope, attack the leaves and cause the edges to roll and yellow bands to appear. They can be controlled by dormant sprays, but their damage is normally not serious.

American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) Companion Plants

White pine trees or quaking aspen are good American Elderberry companion plants, if you want something taller than the shrubs. For a plant about the same size, consider winterberry. Remember that elderberries do not like their roots disturbed once they are established.