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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Orchard or Field? Sea Buckthorn, Seabuckthorn or Seaberry? Tree or bush?

I have been calling my newly planted plot of Hippophae rhamnoides an "orchard". Is this right?  
Orchard - An area of land devoted to the cultivation of trees.
Trees -    a) A perennial woody plant having a main trunk and usual a distinct crown
              b) A plant or shrub resembling a tree in form or size.
Vineyard- cultivated with grape vines
Field -     A cultivated expanse of land, especially devoted to a particular crop.

Vineyard is out, Seaberries are definitely not grapes. Everything else seems to be acceptable - by definition.  The Sea Buckthorn plant can be grown as a shrub or in a tree form.  Wild populations lean towards the shrub form while cultivated plants are more tree form.  I think I got it right.  Orchard it is!

The other thing is how to refer to the plant.  Hippophae ramnoides L. is the Latin name.  The plant is spelled either Seabuckthorn or Sea Buckthorn.  From here on, I am only using "Sea Buckthorn".  

The last oddity I have no solution to.  

  • Apple trees produce apple not Appberries
  • Blueberry bushes produce blueberries
  • Plum trees produce plums not plumberries
  • Cranberry plants produce cranberries
  • Cherry trees produce cherries, not cherryberries
  • Sea Buckthorn Trees  produce Sea Buckthorn berries - OK
  • Sea Buckthorn "trees" produce Seaberries. -- Still the winner. 
I'm not sure why I am looking for consistency in the plant world.  It really isn't a human trait either.

Update on the Sea Buckthorn Orchard:

Three weeks after the first plant went into the ground, the news is good from Seboeis, Maine.  After repairing one of the bridges to the property and thwarting 2 beavers who decided it was a good idea to block culverts, flooding the road.  I can tell you -  out of the 440 plants every one of them is growing, budding out nicely!  I have read stories of a 20 to 50 percent loss with this type of planting.  It is early and, as with any type of farming, the weather can have a large impact on the how well the plants survive.  Over the past 3 weeks there has been over 5 inches of rain here and only 3 days with temperatures over 80F degrees (26C).  Nights have been cool.  

There is no evidence of moose or deer damage.  Rodents like rabbits, mice, and voles have not bothered the plants either.  

In the orchard, there has developed a swampy spot.  The water is literally flowing slowly out of the hill underpinning the upper field and making the feet of about 8 plants very wet or totally under water.  I think this is from all the rain and leftover spring melts.  I don't remember any standing water all of last year.  

Her are some photos of the new buds on the plants.

before and after pruning


  1. Tom,
    I was very excited to find your blog in my quest for Sea Buckthorn info. Interestingly enough, I live very near you - in Alton, ME. My husband and I are interested in planting a few (perhaps 10 at most) Sea Buckthorn trees/shrubs along the North facing edge of our property, parallel to the road. I purchased some seed before learning that is probably not the best way to go (don't want to plant, wait 5+ years and not have a good male:female ratio). Do you know of a reputable supplier that you could recommend? Or, would you be interested in selling a few cuttings to an envious neighbor? :) Any info you care to share is much appreciated! Thank you for your time.

    1. Thanks very much for enjoying the blog. It really is all an experiment which, so far, is going pretty well. One Green World seems to still be shipping plants, the link is - In the right hand column on the page they have German varieties as well. Extra care should be taken with the plants as it is a little late in the season to be planting, but as long as you don't let them dry out they likely will survive. Raintree Nursery has stopped shipping for the year. I reserved 25 plants (healed them in) to replace ones that died in the initial planting. None of them have yet! - so I may have some extras. Surprisingly to me there have been a few people around who want to come by. I am beginning to get involved with Penobscot Valley Permaculture --( Check out this Meetup with Penobscot Valley Permaculture! ) and I plan on inviting the group out sometime this summer. Cuttings are best done in the spring but we can talk more on that.

  2. Thanks for all the great info you had to share. After my internet searches I had gotten the impression that it is a bit late in the season to do much more than try to line things up and prepare a spot for next year. Since your advice seems to support that, I will try to be patient - not my strong suit, but having a 2 year old is certainly helping with that! I'd love to visit if you do have the group out to your place at some point. I'll leave a message on your Facebook page so you have my contact info. Thanks again!
    All the best,