Answer: Sambucus, or elderberry, are deciduous shrubs or trees and it isn't unusual for them to begin dropping leaves in late summer and early autumn, even before the weather cools off. Elderberry are rampant growers and benefit from annual pruning. Even when cut all the way to the ground new shoots will emerge from the crown of the plant the following spring. To keep your plant fruiting each year, cut it back hard each winter. If your plant is Sambucus canadensis (American Elderberry) it will be even more fruitful if you plant a second variety.
The elderberry plants in my yard began losing leaves in mid-August and will be completely bare by the end of September. I leave the berries alone and the birds are very appreciative. I prune everything back in the middle of winter and am rewarded with vigorous new shoots each spring and plenty of berry clusters.
Q&A Library Searching Tips