Sambucus Velutina which is more commonly known as the Velvet Elder is a relatively large, deciduous shrub.
Overview of Sambucus Velutina
• This shrub is endemic to the Southwestern region of the United States.
• This particular species is characteristic of Central California and Western Nevada.
• The Velvet Elder has medium-hued, green, pinnate leaves that are notably hairy to the touch.
• There are about 5-9 individual leaflets present which measure from 5-30 centimeters (cm) in length.
• The plants are capable of growing up to anywhere from 3-8 meters (m) in height.
• It has a typical, relatively thick, stem diameter of approximately 30-60 centimeter (cm).
• These plants have berries that are black and deep blue in color.
• These characteristics can be observed among-st many of the similar species that will be briefly discussed below.
Growing/Caring conditions of Sambucus
• Plant at least two different cultivators of elderberry bushes to facilitate fertilization.
• Position the bushes in an area of full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil near an outer boundary of your property.
• The branches of mature bushes become weighed down with berry clusters in late summer.
• So, put them in a location that doesn’t interfere with walkways, lawn mowing or nearby plants sunlight requirements.
• Water elderberry bushes frequently during their first year in the garden to keep the surrounding soil consistently moist.
• Once established, both American and European elderberries tolerate drought conditions.
• They may exhibit reduced flowering and berry yields unless watered during extended dry periods.
• Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch in a 3- to 4-foot-wide area around Sambucus bushes.
• In addition to retaining moisture in the soil and suppressing weeds, you can easily see and remove the suckers that sprout up around the bushes’ bases.
• Prune elderberries in early spring before the leaves begin to open.
• During the first two years, allow five to seven of the bush’s multiple stems to grow freely.
• Cut any new stems that emerge down to ground level to keep the plant from becoming leggy.
• Once an elderberry bush is more than 6 to 8 feet tall, prune away up to half of its branches to maintain an attractive, symmetrical appearance.
• Prune back stems more than 3 years old to the ground to allow new stems to grow for more vigorous fruit production.
• Examine elderberry bushes routinely for signs of fungus disease.
• If twig canker appears, immediately cut the entire stem back to the ground and burn it or discard in the trash.
• Watch for any stems that die back, a problem that may be caused by elder shoot borers.
• Cut the dead stems away in the autumn and discard to prevent the pests from overwintering in the plant.
• Protect your elderberry crop from birds by covering the entire bush with lightweight netting.