Northern Gardening forum: Saskatoon "blueberries"

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 3, 2015 7:23 PM CST
Does anyone grow these? My "real" blueberry plants are not exactly thriving and I'm tempted to try the Saskatoon bushes/trees.
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Name: Dora
Calgary (Zone 3a)
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dorab
Feb 4, 2015 6:23 PM CST
I don't, but I found a link for you...they have a FAQ about Saskatoons - http://www.saskatoonfarm.com/
However they do not ship to the States.
You might also look at honeyberries. There is a catalogue description on the same site.
Dora
Dora
[Last edited by dorab - Feb 4, 2015 6:56 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Feb 4, 2015 7:19 PM CST
Blueberries should love it up there in the UP, unless you're trying to grow the high bush types. Don't you have the native ones? All the Univ. of Minn. half high cultivars should do fine up there., and of the high bush types:Patriot or Chandler are the best ones to try. You'll have the same problem with birds with saskatoons as you would with blueberries. But saskatoons (or any Amelanchier species) will be more tolerant of varying environments.

Honeyberries are a completely different fruit: a Lonicera species related to Lonicera tatarica which is an invasive in most of the eastern U.S. In Minnesota, Honeyberries are an invasive species.
Name: Dora
Calgary (Zone 3a)
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dorab
Feb 4, 2015 10:07 PM CST
My understanding is that Lonicera caerulea edulis is not considered to be invasive. There are several hybrids which have come out of the University of Saskatchewan research program and they are intended for commercial production.
Dora
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Feb 4, 2015 11:32 PM CST
It depends on your climate. The Tatarian honeysuckle is not invasive in Russia or China either, but it is here. Euonymus species are often invasive in the eastern U.S., but not west of the Mississippi River. Why would it be any different for honeyberries? Actually, I think Lonicera caerulea is native in Alberta (certainly in Canada), so it's doubtful that improved cultivars would be invasive there. On the other hand, since genes from Japan/China/Korea/Russia stock have been bred in all the selected cultivars, it never hurts to keep a watchful eye.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 5, 2015 8:42 AM CST
Thanks for the input !

Rick, we do have the native blueberries, which is why I thought it should be almost a no-brainer that we could grow them, but apparently not... I have the variety "Northblue", which I planted 5 of two years ago; the first year they didn't do much but otherwise looked okay and I figured they were just growing roots and getting ready to grow in the following season. Then last year -- after having the horrendously cold winter -- their leaves were completely bright yellow, obviously not a good sign. Tried a number of the "recommended" things for acidifying the soil around them, in fact I ended up actually completely digging the plants out so I could amend the soil with peat moss, sulfur, etc., and they had extremely small root structures. Still waiting to see how they look this spring of course, and if they still aren't thriving I plan to put them in some big pots where maybe I can control the soil pH a little easier; I hate to give up on them, but I pretty much refuse to grow things that I have to constantly fight with! I guess I can always go back to searching out the wild berries Smiling

After doing a little more googling about the Saskatoons, I see they are also called "June berries," which I think most people in our area know them as... I might plant a couple of them to share with the birds (or, maybe I should say "and hope the birds will share some with me" Hilarious! ), regardless of what the blueberries end up doing.
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Feb 5, 2015 7:07 PM CST
I've grown several of the half high U of M hybrids; Northsky, Northblue, Northcountry, Polaris; and one high bush: Northland. Northblue is my favorite. Of course, nothing beats the flavor of wild blueberries, and the black berried type is the most flavorful, IMO, but they are so darn tiny. If you had an excessive amount of rain (as I did in Minnesota) with the yellow leaves, I'll bet that is the reason. Waterlogged soil can change the way iron, magnesium, manganese and copper are available to the plant, even if the pH is correct. But there should be good root systems.

You're not tied to using only the Amelanchier alnifolia species of June berries, which is what Dora's link is. There are many other good cultivars out there.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 6, 2015 9:25 AM CST
"Excessive amount of rain..." -- no kidding, and I hadn't thought about that! The previous fall was extremely wet, then we had way more snow than normal during the winter, then spring was again very wet. Maybe they'll be looking better this spring, or at least I have a little more hope for that now... thanks !! Thumbs up
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Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Feb 6, 2015 9:38 AM CST
I love our blueberries. Tart and sweet all at the same time. And big and fat. But the bears also like them so I haven't gone picking since moving down to Anchorage. Cold surely doesn't bother them but I think excessive water might. They grow on the sides of slopes here where they have good run off. But I have also gone picking up north in the woods and they loved it there too.
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 6, 2015 10:03 AM CST
Mmmm Wild blueberries in Alaska?
Sounds great!
(Zone 4b)
pjdksmith
Mar 20, 2015 8:35 AM CST
I have two Saskatoon berry bushes
I have never had luck w them being pollinated. I may have to pollinate myself. The bees came late last year. Im in Northern Ontario
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Mar 20, 2015 1:08 PM CST
Welcome to ATP, @pjdksmith -- and thanks for the input about the Saskatoon berries! Our bees were really late last year as well, we don't really see honey bees to speak of but normally have LOTS of bumblebees of various types, and ground bees, that do a great job of pollinating for us. I think it took them a while to rebound and built their numbers back up after the exceptionally cold winter; this winter was much better (where I am, at least) so I hope they will be back to their usual activity. I hope you have a great gardening season! Smiling
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jul 3, 2015 6:22 PM CST
These would also be called Serviceberries. Sometimes called Juneberries. Lovely (but short lived) tiny white flowers in the Spring lead to purple berries in June. At least around here!

There are many varieties, some bushes, some trees. In my yard I have many of the "Regent" Serviceberries. These set fruit heavily, the berries are larger than on other types and they only grown into 5-6 foot shrubs. Taste like really bland blueberries to me. But the Serviceberries are very easy to grow and the backyard birds love the fruit. Sometimes I eat some straight off the shrub, otherwise I leave the berries for the birds and the wildlife.

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