I planted elderberries in 2013 - and became an immediate convert. They are glorious bushes, versatile, beautiful, hardy, and love Carolina soil and weather. And you may have heard me wax poetic about the health benefits of elderberry juice (and also, did I mention it is delicious?)
But, I noticed my "mother" plants did not produce as well last year.
So I reached out to my friends at Norm's Elderberry and asked what I was doing wrong. It turns out productivity will decrease as the plants get older and you need to <<gulp>> prune them back to the ground to bring them back to full fruitfulness.
So, armed with a chain saw and pruning shears, I tackled the original bushes. They had done a great job propagating themselves, and the original trunks were 3-4 inches in diameter. I cut back all of the original growth, and left the canes that had come up in the last two years. Hopefully, they will still produce, and now I have a whole lot of new slips to plant in the new elderberry orchard this year!! I can hardly wait for spring!