Season’s Preparation Work in Our Elderberry Plantation

14.03.2022 | Blog

Careful pruning in spring paves the way for a successful harvest of elderflowers and berries.
Saisonvorbereitung in der Holunderplantage
In March, the barber comes by: on our organic elderberry plantation in Ufhofen, this is farm manager Remo Knöpfel and his staff. For about two weeks they are out and about with special pruning equipment on the four hectares of cultivated land. Only if the two-metre-high trees are regularly pruned will the yield be good in the long term. And that is what is at stake here, because the blossoms and berries are used in summer and autumn for the production of syrup and in other beverages of Holderhof Produkte AG. Without care, they would grow uncontrollably into metre-high bushes, as we know it from forest edges.

Branches bend automatically

In professional facilities such as our organic farm in Ufhofen, the plants are grown into small trees that yield around 15 years. After the spring pruning, ten to twelve strongest possible upright annual branches remain. The freshly coiffed trees now look a little lost. But with more light and more pleasant temperatures, the first leaves soon develop. By the time the berries are harvested in late summer, the plantation appears lush and green. Side shoots sprout from the upright branches, which eventually grow into the fruit clusters. These become so heavy that the branches automatically bend outwards in an arch.

Fruits stay clean

Cultivation in the tree form instead of the natural shrub form has some advantages. Of course, this form of cultivation allows efficient harvesting at a comfortable height. Because the fruit-bearing branches do not touch the ground, the blossoms and fruits remain clean. This is indispensable for later processing into Holderhof products. In addition, unlike their shrubby “colleagues”, they are less susceptible to disease because there are no shoots close to the ground that would otherwise serve as a gateway for fungi. This prevention is important because, as an organically certified farm, we work without chemical pesticides.