Earth Sky Time

In the garden and beyond

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Go native with elderberries

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. The fruit can be toxic to humans.

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, Robins, Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Flickers and many other fruit-eating birds. Late summer is a good time to plant these shrubs, but be sure to water new plantings deeply and regularly right through the fall.