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The Best Pollenator For Ozark Elderberry

Michael Gonzales
January 2, 2024

Elderberries provide numerous advantages. From serving as food forest staples, providing aesthetic value and aiding soil recovery after construction or machinery use.

The ‘Marge’ cultivar provides consistent vigor and disease resistance that has been demonstrated in trials across the Midwest. Furthermore, this variety has shown its tolerance of Utah’s alkaline soils.


Elderberry plants make an elegant addition to home landscapes and serve multiple functions including wildlife habitat and erosion control. Easy to grow in either full sun or part shade environments and tolerant of diverse soil conditions and weather patterns; drought tolerant too, its flowers attract pollinators in spring while its fruits mature by fall – perfect for jellies, syrups, wines – as they also help control insect pests that damage plants with berry-eating insects that would otherwise damage yields and yields. Elderberries make an excellent addition to edible home landscapes as an attractive native shrub as wildlife habitat and erosion control measures – while also being drought tolerant! Elderberries also help control insect pests that feed on them, helping preserve yields by controlling these insects that damage plants by feeding on them thus increasing yields while helping control against insects that damage plants to reduce losses from damaged berries produced. They make excellent jellies, syrups and wine! Wild birds enjoy eating elderberries which helps control other berry-eating insects which damages yields. Elderberries make excellent jellies, syrups or wine! Depending on the climate zone it produces fruits it can provide the harvest yields from this berry producer produce great fruits such as jellies made with wild birds’ favourite treat eating them from harm. Elderberries produce excellent jellies syrups or wine production from harvest. Elderberries produce better harvest results by bird control of those hungry birds which help with protecting yields by birds’ appetite against plant damage by controlling any insect damage that might decrease yields! Elderberries as wild birds feast on them! Elderberries which in turn produce excellent jams syrups wine making can even higher yields are made into wine made using similar wines due to birds favor of course! berry consumption which aid control. Elderberries that you are produced; making jam, wine a wine which are made for making jam, syrups a wine making plants than ever. Elderberries being their delicious jellies, syrups that might lower yields as wild birds in turn helping control by eating insects that would damage yields or even lower yields from lower yields by birds eating the plants more.

Home gardens can benefit from cultivars designed specifically to produce fruit. You’ll find such cultivars at your local nursery or online seed catalogs; many ornamental varieties also sell as ornamentals with both beautiful foliage and edible fruit; those labeled as ornamentals often produce less berries or have lower quality fruit than their food-oriented counterparts.

The University of Missouri Elderberry Improvement Project has been cultivating and testing European elderberry varieties (Sambucus nigra) since 1997, evaluating several European cultivars (notably, Marge) that were grown and tested here in Missouri. Most European cultivars performed poorly during trials conducted here due to poor winter hardiness or failing under summer heat stress; however one genotype, Marge, showed promise during these tests and may prove useful for commercial cultivation of elderberries in Missouri or other midwestern states.

“Marge” is a hybrid between Sambucus nigra ‘Samdal’ and Sambucus canadensis ‘York.” In our three-year study at two sites, this hybrid was among the earliest to break bud and produced fruit with high levels of soluble solids for harvest, out-yielding other genotypes by an impressive amount. Furthermore, its yield outperformed other genotypes and it was less affected by Japanese beetles than many European cultivars tested in this experiment.

Propagating the ‘Marge’ genotype requires softwood cuttings; however, this approach requires more work and requires luck for success. A more effective means is propagating from root crowns as described in our article: How to Propagate Elderberry from Roots


Elderberry shrubs make an eye-catching and versatile addition to any landscape, from forest clearings and field edges, to streams, ditches and roadsides, offering beautiful colors with high yields of fruit that can be used in juice, jams and syrup production. Elderberries thrive in sun to part shade locations with moist soil conditions. It can even thrive in heavy shade locations where sunlight dappled through. When left to their own devices they produce huge yields of flowers and fruit suitable for juice, jams and syrup production – providing high yields of produce!

These plants make attractive additions to a natural woodland garden, providing an appealing contrast in terms of color, texture and form between other native trees and shrubs. Their delicate flowers have sweet fragrance resembling that of rose family flowers; while their fruits, although smaller, are still quite tasty.

Elderberries tend to produce moderate to abundant harvests the year following planting, although cross pollination is needed for their best performance. To maximize yield from your elderberry plants, plant two cultivars with different pollen profiles so as to ensure some cross pollination takes place; one such cultivar developed by the University of Missouri known as ‘Marge’ stands out among competitors due to its exceptional vigor, disease resistance, superior fruit size and juice characteristics exhibited.

The ‘Marge’ cultivar produces dense crops of flowers and berries on old wood while bearing heavily on new growth. Studies comparing it with York and Johns have demonstrated its superior total yields, greater juice quality and consistent berry production over either of them.

“Marge” can be propagated easily from seed or by softwood cuttings taken in June, July and August and rooted later. Although generally resistant to most diseases and pests, some varieties may still have some susceptibilities like canker, powdery mildew, leaf spot and borers.

DNA markers used to analyze the ‘Marge’ genotypes showed it clustered closely with European cultivars ‘Samdal’ and ‘Samyl’, as depicted by its clustering with their dendogram below. The American and European subspecies of Sambucus differ, with ‘Marge’ clearly clustering with European varieties while remaining distinct from other American genotypes; suggesting it may serve as an intermediate between American and European elderberries; this may provide increased drought stress tolerance or drought stress tolerance.


Elderberry shrubs attract many bird species that feed off them; therefore, if you want to incorporate them into your landscape design, be sure to leave enough room for foraging birds to forage freely. Install nesting boxes as this will encourage nesting birds. They will enjoy munching up some berries but leave behind seeds for other birds to consume later on.

Elderberries are beautiful and productive plants that will add interest to any home garden, even if their fruit doesn’t meet your tastes. Elderberry flowers form white clusters called cymes that produce white blooms which fade to reveal purple berry-like fruit which matures to a deep purple hue when mature. Both the flowers and berries can be used to make tea; some people also find elderberries useful herbal medicine for diarrhea, headache, upper respiratory tract conditions or even minor bleeding issues. Using dried flower infusions as a styptic can stop minor bleeding incidents quickly.

Home gardeners have access to various cultivars of elderberry for growing, and selecting several will stagger the bloom and harvest times, increasing cross-pollination and fruit production. Consider choosing varieties with resistance against disease and pests suitable to your climate as well as planting at least two plants so as to guarantee adequate pollination and an abundant crop.

For optimal results, elderberry plants should be planted in full sun in sandy or loamy soil with well-draining roots and regularly watered without overwatering them.

Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) can be propagated both from seeds and cuttings. Softwood cuttings taken during June, July or August have the best chances of taking root; presoak them in water with willow branches soaking for 24 hours prior to rooting the cuttings in sterilized potting soil or mixed media of sand and leaf compost for optimal rooting success. Lily Springs Farm suggests placing cuttings in containers filled with willow branches as these naturally contain rooting hormones; once established keep elderberry bushes in sunny locations while amending soil accordingly for optimal drainage purposes.

Other Pollinators

Elderberries are popular additions to edible landscapes and homesteads due to their dual functionality as food and medicine crops, offering beauty, pollinator habitat and natural pest deterrence – as well as sequestering carbon, improving soil quality, providing shelter to birds, mammals and insects and sequestering carbon for sequestration purposes.

As with other fruit trees and shrubs, elderberries require careful cultivation practices for success. First, test your soil for any deficiencies – Terry Durham recommends paying particular attention to boron and sulphur requirements that many soils lack; this will prevent unnecessary addition of nutrients that could potentially harm plants or pollute waterways.

Once your plant is out of its pot, loosen its root ball carefully when extracting it from its container. Avoid spreading its roots as you would when transplanting new starts – as doing so could put undue stress on it and reduce long-term productivity – instead, spread its mass across a radius of two feet so elderberries can expand without competing with nearby plants for resources.

After planting, mulch the area surrounding the bush to suppress weeds and maintain moisture in the soil. Permaculture sources recommend inoculating straw used as ground cover with edible mushroom spores for increased mycorrhizal activity and reduced weeds. Clover is another viable choice as a legume which fixes nitrogen in soil while drawing beneficial bugs away from harmful ones.

Nurseries offer a selection of elderberry varieties. When searching, focus on American elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) rather than European cultivars such as “Haschberg” or “Samdal”, which have not performed well in trials conducted in the US. Furthermore, avoid “ornamental” elderberries as these may contain nigra stock that won’t produce as many berries compared to what’s recommended below.

Late spring will bring heaven-scented white flower clusters, creating miniature bouquets atop the shrub’s foliage. Once matured, these flowers become bountiful bunches of berries suitable for various culinary and medicinal applications like juicing, syrup making and cooking.


  • Michael Gonzales

    Michael has a diverse set of skills and passions, with a full-time career as an airline pilot and a dedicated focus on health and fitness consulting. He understands the importance of balancing a busy lifestyle with maintaining a healthy mind and body, and is committed to helping others achieve the same success. Michael's expertise in health and fitness is not just limited to physical training, but also extends to nutrition, stress management, and overall wellbeing. He takes a holistic approach to health and fitness, helping clients to achieve their goals in a sustainable and fulfilling way. With a strong desire to inspire and motivate others, Michael is always ready to share his time and knowledge with those who seek his guidance. Whether in the air or on the ground, Michael is dedicated to helping others live their best lives.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-gonzales-07bb4b31/ [email protected] Gonzales Michael


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