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Planting Honeyberry Plants

Few things are as versatile and flavorful as homegrown honeyberries, and the success of your harvest begins right with the planting site and method. For maximum growth and yields later on, give your honeyberry plants the best foundation possible, starting with the planting site.

NOTE: This is part 4 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow honeyberry plants, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Before Planting Honeyberry Plants

Honeyberry plants thrive in fertile soil, so, before you plant, test the soil where your honeyberries will be planted – including a test of the soil pH. Refer back to the section on Soil Preparation for tips on soil testing.

If the soil pH where you plan to plant your honeyberries is between 5.5 and 7.5, that’s where you want it to be – this is an ideal range for honeyberry plants. Observe the established trees and plants around the site. Check to see that they look healthy and are growing well. This will help give you an idea of the success of new plantings in the area. If nearby trees are unhealthy or pest-ridden, their issues may eventually affect your new plants. It’s best to be aware of the surroundings so you can be equipped with as much information as possible should any issues arise. And remember to avoid planting in soils that are extremely heavy or poorly drained.

When to Plant Honeyberry Plants

Honeyberry plants may be planted even when if you’re experiencing cooler temperatures in your area. If you are planting potted honeyberry plants that may arrive awake and even leafed-out, and your weather is expected to be cool, or if a hard frost is expected, it is advisable to delay planting for a while until temperatures become more suitable for planting. Before planting potted honeyberry plants, you may need to gradually transition or acclimate them to their new environment. When you do plant, do not expose the root system to temperatures that are freezing or below for any longer than it takes to move the plant from its protective packaging and planted in the protection of the soil. It’s beneficial to have the planting holes pre-dug and prepared for plants.

Generally, as long as your soil is workable and not flooded or frozen, it is fine to plant.

How to Plant Honeyberry Plants

Planting Tips
  • If your plant is potted, plant them at the same depth they were in the pot.
  • Honeyberry plants have shallow root systems – similar to blueberry plants. It is important to water thoroughly especially while fruiting and growing during summer.
Planting Steps
  • Do not soak potted honeyberry plants prior to planting. Instead, ensure that the soil around the potted honeyberry plants’ roots does not dry out.
  • Prior to placing the potted honeyberry plant in the planting hole, carefully remove the root system from the pot.
  • Gently loosen and spread the circling roots to encourage them to grow outward as they establish in the ground during the growing season.
  • The planting hole should be deep and wide enough to accommodate the current root system without being restricted. (When digging the planting hole, make sure it is deep and wide enough so each honeyberry plant’s root system has plenty of room to easily expand. Keep the more-nutritious topsoil in a pile so you can put it in the bottom of the hole, where it’ll do the most good.)
  • Place each honeyberry plant in the center of the planting hole with its roots down and spread out. Holding onto the stems to keep them vertical, backfill the hole, putting the topsoil back in first. You can avoid creating air pockets by working the soil carefully around the roots and tamping down firmly with your hands as you refill the planting hole around your honeyberry plants.
  • Spread soil evenly around the plants and finish with a layer of mulch to prevent damage from water pooling and injury from freezing around the plants in fall going into winter.
Post-Planting

Thoroughly water your newly planted honeyberry plants. A deep, slow soaking is best. If you previously determined you need to fertilize your honeyberry plants, this can be done in spring, even at planting time; however, as with any packaged product, follow the printed package label for specific instructions. If planting in the fall, wait until spring instead to make any fertilizer applications. After watering, if soil appears to settle or sink into the planting hole, just add more soil – enough to bring the hole to ground level again.

Apply a layer of organic material like wood mulch (rather than inorganic material like rocks), about 2 to 3 inches thick, around the root zone of your honeyberry plants. Mulching helps discourage weeds while also keeping water from quickly evaporating away from the root zone. In the fall, increase the mulch layer or add a layer of straw for winter protection.

Note: Rodents and other small gnawing critters may take advantage of mulch that is applied too thickly, and they may chew honeyberry plants for sustenance. If these animal pests are problematic in your area, consider applying repellents within the mulch layer to keep them out.

Additional Notes

  • Honeyberry plants may live and be productive 30 to 50 years with proper maintenance.
  • Average yield per plant is 1/2lb to 2lbs (and upwards of 4lbs) of honeyberries, depending on factors like variety, location, pollination, and so on.
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