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Can I stop elderberry fruiting?.

thatfatblokethatfatbloke EastbournePosts: 10
edited October 2018 in Problem solving
May seem an odd question, but here goes. I have an elderberry tree at the bottom of my garden which stands about 23' high. Last winter I had the brilliant (not) idea to lay a patio underneath the spread of the tree. Of course I hadn't taken into consideration the fact that the fruit drops and gets squashed all over the patio. Doh!. I want to keep the tree as it provides a lot of privacy and shade when in leaf,so chopping it down isn't an option. I can't really spray it with the gudge that apparently stops it fruiting as it's far too big, and I'm far too fat to climb 23' up a ladder. Also the tree gets a lot of what looks like black fly in the summer, so not too nice to have when sitting under the tree.

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  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,532
    If your elderberry flowers and the flowers are fertilized then it'll produce fruit.
    So i think the short answer is  - no

    I have a similar situation with a neighbour's elderberry. The fruits don't permanently stain the paving, but there are 00's of elderberry (and ivy) seedlings everywhere in that area
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,551
    1. In spring, when it's in bloom, cut off all the flower heads you can reach that are overhanging your patio (get a long reach lopper thingy to extend your reach). Use the flowers to make elderflower champagne.

    2. In summer, on fine mornings, get your hose and blast as many black fly as you can off the tree with a jet of water. In the afternoons, when the water has dried off, sit on your patio sipping elderflower champagne and remember to toast the tree in thanks for her largesse.

    3. In autumn, the berries that are left from the flower heads you missed will hang a little lower so you may be able to reach a few more. Use the berries to make pontac sauce or jam or steep them in vodka to make elderberry liqueur. Any that do fall on your patio, sweep up or hose off.

    4. In winter, prune it hard or even coppice the patio side of tree to get/keep the height down so you can reach more of the flowers, keeping the height at the back to keep the shade and screening you want.

    Always remember to ask the tree before you cut branches - elder is an ancient native tree with a great deal of folklore surrounding it, probably because the fruit and flowers are so useful. It strikes very easily from cuttings too, so if there's space, you could probably plant a new one behind the existing one with a view to taking out the one by the patio when the daughter tree has grown big enough to replace the mother tree's shade.


    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,589
    Excellent advice from RG and the berries are also very good for birds so go easy.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,551
    edited October 2018
    Obelixx said:
    Excellent advice from RG and the berries are also very good for birds so go easy.
    I did consider suggesting a bird box near by to encourage a resident to hoover up whatever is left, but I suppose purple bird poo on the patio isn't going to be better than the berries themselves. I would though urge tfb to leave the flowers and berries for the birds on the side of the tree away from the patio. As Obs rightly says, they are a very important source of 'stocking up for winter' food for lots of birds.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • The black birds have had so many berries this year that they even left a few for me!
    I have made elderberry jelly, elderberry syrup (for adding to icecream or yogurt or gin) and elderberry balsamic vinegar :)
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,589
    Must admit I do like elderberry jelly and will try vinegar next year.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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