Earth Sky Time

In the garden and beyond

Go native with elderberries

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Red Berried Elderberry (Sambucus pubens) is a native shrub that is a very important food source for a wide variety of birds. It produces clusters of red fruit that ripen just about the same time that many baby birds leave the nest in late May and June.

Planted beneath large trees, elderberries make excellent understory plantings. Grow them in full sun for the best berry production and plant them in moist and well drained soil about 4 to 5 feet apart.

Elderberries attract Blue Jays, Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Flickers and many other fruit-eating birds. Fall is a good time to plant shrubs, and warmer than usual temperatures have extended the planting season this year. Be sure to water new plantings deeply and regularly right into November. The current drought shows no signs of easing.


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