Pruning blue elderberries and transplanting

Asked October 5, 2018, 3:05 PM EDT

I want to move some elderberry starts. The twigs I planted are now 1" in. diameter and 7 ft. tall. I need to prune down before transplanting. I understand elderberries have very long tap roots. What do you recommend?

Benton County Oregon

2 Responses

Hi! Thanks for your question about transplanting elderberries. You are correct that pruning them down prior to digging them is good. They may have a taproot, but there is not much you can do about that. The least-stress time to prune them back and transplant them is when they are fully dormant in the winter. If we have a mild winter, this could actually mean early next year. After cutting them back, get as large a root ball as you can. If there is a taproot, or any other large root, cut it off cleanly with pruners or a saw - don't leave it ragged. Then just re-plant in a hole that is about twice as wide as the root ball, but not any deeper.
Generally elderberries are very resilient plants, so you have a good chance of success.

Thanks. Sort of what I expected. Glad you, and the other extension people, remind me to not be too anxious to "get it done and get on with other things". I need to be patient and willing to do some digging in the cold and wet middle of winter. TGhanks