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Pruning Elderberry Plants

Pruning is an important part of proper edible plant care, but many people find the task overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be! Keep these things in mind:

  • You can have confidence in knowing that not everyone will prune the exact same way (even the experts).
  • Elderberries need little to no pruning their first two years.

NOTE: This is part 5 in a series of 8 articles. For a complete background on how to grow elderberry plants, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Pruning Tips

  • During the first two seasons, elderberry plants should be encouraged to grow vigorously with little to no pruning required.
  • After the second year, pruning should be done annually in early spring.
  • All dead, broken and weak canes should be removed.
  • Three-year-old canes should be removed, as they produce less fruit and appear to be more prone to winter injury.
  • Removal of older canes will encourage the growth of new, more fruitful canes.
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