The Q&A Archives: I am moving and would like to take part of my grandmothers 200 year old Elderberry bush with me to

Question: Elderberry bush is over 200 years old, I would like to know if I can dig it up with the tractor, and ball up the roots, or would it be better to take cuttings, and HOPE they root?

Answer: While it would be wonderful to be able to take the elderberry bush with you, digging it and transporting it would be difficult and there's no guarantee it would survive the move. A better approach would be to take some cuttings or to look for some natural offsets. Elderberry can be propagated by seeds, by cuttings and by a process called layering. In layering, a supple branch is laid along the ground and allowed to root. Sometimes this happens naturally so you may already have some rooted offsets from the parent plant. Look around the base of the plant for new little plants that have rooted on their own. If you find none, you can collect seeds or take cuttings. Tip cuttings root easily if you take cuttings from one-year-old (juvenile) wood. Or you can collect seeds. For elderberry seeds to germinate they must be pretreated. Untreated, fall-sown seeds will not germinate until the second year. Collect seeds as soon as the fruits ripen and turn dark blue. Clean seeds to avoid fermentation. Air dry two days before storing in sealed, refrigerated containers (36-40 degrees for 60 days). When you're ready to plant, scarify seeds by nicking them and then planting in the garden or in pots of moistened seed starting mix.

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