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Crop Matrix Tool

Use this tool to find out about characteristics; such as soil pH, cultivation methods, pests and post harvest treatment; for a specific crop. To load a crop's characteristics choose a crop from the drop-down menu. To see a list of all possible crops grouped by category click on the “Show List of All Available Crops” link next to the drop-down menu.

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Common NameElderberry
Latin NameSambucus canadensis, Sambucus spp.
VarietyAdams No. I, Adams No. 2, York, Johns, Kent, Nova, Scotia 
Visual Traits
Flowersmall, white clusters; June
Fruitfall; Adams series ripen early September; develop on current season's growth, but especially on second-season lateral canes
Height7 ft
Cultivation and Mulchingmulch for weed suppression, do not cultivate deeper than 2" to protect roots
Field preparation and plantingincorporate manure or compost prior to planting
Field spacing / planting depth6-10' spacing; plant two different cultivars within 60' to ensure cross-pollination
Hardwood Cuttingsheel cuttings from older wood; late winter
Harvestlate August to early September; remove cluster and strip fruit
Pollinationvirtually self-incompatible; plant two cultivars to ensure pollination
Propagation methodseed, container, division
Pruninglate winter, early spring; remove weak canes more than three years old, leaving equal number 1:2:3y growth
Retail Source6-10 ft apart
Seed treatment and storagestore 60days at 68°F, 90-150days at 41°F in moist sand
Softwood cuttingsSeptember
Sowing seedsow immediately in fall or store and sow in spring; germinates following spring; 1/4" deep, cover 3/8" sawdust
Transplantspring; plant as soon as received from nursery to prevent drying
Watering guidelineskeep well-watered first season to prevent drying shallow roots
Insect and invertebrate pestscane borers
Pathogenspowdery mildew
Fertility / qualityfertile
Moisture and drainagemoist, well drained; intolerant to poor drainage; tolerates dry
Soils and topographystream banks, meadows, fencerows
Textureprefers sandy loam, tolerates wide range
Growth Pattern
Fruit bearing age / full crop load1y / 2y (lose vigor by 3-4y)
Root habitshallow rooted
Habitat and Climate
Fire tolerancemoderately tolerant
Frost-free days (FFD)100
Hardiness Zone(3)4-9
Rainfall / humidity34-60"
Light recommendationfull sun to partial shade
Shade tolerancemoderately tolerant
Special Notes
Note 1Must match variety to site
Note 2higher in phosphorous and potassium than any other temperate fruit, rich in vitamin C