Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Seabuckthorn Varieties and Open Pollinated Plants - Mansfield, MA USA

Seaberry /Seabuckthorn Varieties - Three year Review

In 2010 this amateur Seabuckthorn experiment began with the purchase of plants.  The varieties were Frugana, Golden Sweet, Garden's Gift, Leikora, Orange Delight, Orange Energy, Titan, Sunny (Solnechnaya), and a Male plant.  Later Askola, Amber Dawn, and Klim's Prize were added.  The success of these plants has been mixed.  Surviving today are five of the original  twelve purchased plants.  Yikes!  Sounds bad but the experience has, I think, improved the chances of future success.  The common instructions available for growing Seabuckthorn both on the internet and in printed scientific studies has proven to be impractical at best for the North American garden.  I am going to summarize, review, consolidate and especially critique my own experiences here.  I'm certain and still excited that there is a huge amount left to discover.

Beginning with the purchased plants.  The location I planted them in was about 20 feet from an Ash tree.  The root systems on those trees turned out to be very aggressive and formed a dense mat.  This proves to be a significant competition between my Seaberry plants and the tree.  I need to move them and am now weighing the risks of moving and loosing them in the move vs. taking extra care of them and waiting to see if they will out compete the Ash tree roots.  
One of the best suppliers of plants states "Sea Berry is bothered by no significant pests or diseases in North America."  This is what I expected and, sadly, as I have written about, not true at all.

This photo of Garden's Gift illustrates some of the insect damage this year.  For my location in Mansfield, Massachusetts, Winter Moth Caterpillars , Gypsy Moth Caterpillars, and June Bug beetles have been a challenge.  On new or small plants they can take a huge toll very quickly.  Thomas S.C. Li in his book Sea Buckthorn states "growers must protect (plants) from disease and pests...."  He immediately then states "there has been very little research on disease and pest control in the world".  He continues "(these) are major factors affecting the success...."  Mr. Li identifies 6 insect pests, the Gypsy Moth Caterpillar being the only one he listed I have seen.  The others may surface in the future, but for now I can add two more - the June Bug (Phyllophaga) and the Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata).  June Bugs seem to be native to North America while Winter Moths originate from Europe and the Near East.  My plants grown from seed do not have anywhere near the damage as the purchased plants.  It could be chance, luck, or something else which may become apparent over time.

Your experiences with Sea Buckthorn pests, if any, would be very valuable information to me and the readers of this Blog.  Please add your information in the comment section or e-mail me by clicking on my profile at the bottom of the page.  Klim's Prize, pictured is in its 3rd year of growth in my soil.  It is approximately 28 inches high x 20 inches wide (51 cm x 78 cm).

Orange Delight has grown to 46 inches high x 30 inches wide (117 cm x 198 cm).  It, like most of the purchased varieties has struggled and has yet to produce fruit.  I had hoped there would be blossoms this year, but what I thought might be blossoms, were not.
The male Seabuckthorn purchased plant is currently 39 inches high x 13 inches wide (99 cm x 13 cm)

The Orange Energy Seabuckthorn is the largest at 46 inches high x 30 inches wide (116cm x 76cm).  It is the most vigorous and is furthest away from the Ash tree I mentioned earlier.  

I have year 1, year 2, and year 3 plants from seed.  Year 1 being the first growing season from seed. Not sure if this is the correct way to identify the ages but it is how things are described here.  This photo has year 2 and year 3 bushes.  They are very healthy and happy.  The plot where they are growing is only about 50 yards from the purchased plant plot but has not suffered the onslaught of insect pests.  It also is fairly close to an Ash tree, but the roots don't seem to be as invasive here.  

Not sure of the sex of any of the bushes grown from seed as of yet.  They haven't flowered or produced any berries yet.  The 3rd year bushes are over 1 yard or 1 meter tall.

This second year Seabuckthorn bush from seed is also very healthy.  These plants exhibit two different growth shapes.  There is a more upright plant without as many low spreading branches (not suckers) and the other has many low branches which reach out from the lower part of the plant.  According to the Ontario Department of Agriculture the male Seabuckthorn plant has a more upright growing habit than the female.  I'll be testing that theory in my own garden as well. They state "The staminate trees are more erect than the spreading pistillate trees."

A closer look at a three year Seabuckthorn Shrub grown from seed.

The begining of "healing in" (burying the pots to the rim).  There are now over 80 in the ground.  Most have done well.

Closer look at individual unsexed Seabuckthorn seedlings from seeds started this year.  I labeled the last three photos "year 0".  Please consider them year 1- planted from seed this year.

Some of this year's seedlings are reaching 5-7 inches tall!  
One week ago I direct seeded a significant number of Seabuckthorn seeds into the garden soil.  Digging around a bit, I can tell you they have sprouted but not emerged through the soil surface.  Update to follow.

Next Post- Seboeis Maine Update:

1 comment:

  1. I seem to have found the ideal location for Sea Buckthorn in the US, in south central Oregon (near Chiloquin). We are at 4200 ft, have LONG cold winters (down to -7 last year) and very short, dry, max 90 degree summers with not a drop of rain for a good 3 months. The Sea Buckthorns that I put in 5 years ago have gone berserk. No insects eat them, and the runners are getting out of control. My one bush, whose name I seem to have lost :( (but I'm still looking)is absolutely loaded with fruit. I go out and pick for an hour every day and I've barely made a dent. I'm inviting neighbors over to pick now. I gave away several runners this spring and the person who got them said they all took! If I was not retired I might consider trying to farm them here, now that they have reached 'super fruit' status.