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Sea Buckthorn: Thorny Shrub, Generous In Fruit

Sea buckthorn is a thorny shrub that is worth seeing for its many brightly colored fruits, which will brighten up your garden in winter.

Presentation of sea buckthorn

Hippophae rhamnoides is a dioecious species, i.e. there are male feet and female feet. To obtain fruits, it is therefore advisable to plant one male subject for 5 or 6 female subjects.

The foliage of sea buckthorn is very narrow and has a green-gray color.

The fruits appear in early autumn and their orange-red color stands out even more when the leaves fall.

Often confused with the arbutus whose phonetics are close, they are indeed different shrubs.

Planting sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn thrives in all types of soil, as long as it is fairly light and draining.

The site should, if possible, be in the sun all year round, even if partial shade can be tolerated.

To obtain fruits, it is advisable to plant one male subject for 5 or 6 female subjects.

When to plant it?

The vigor of sea buckthorn and its resistance to drought allow it to be planted either in the spring or in the fall.

How to plant it?

  • Dig a fairly wide and deep planting pit.
  • If your tree is sold in a container, all you have to do is remove it, clear some roots and install the foot in its new environment.
  • In the case of a bare-rooted subject, perform a pralination before placing the sea buckthorn in the pit.
  • Place a stake near the trunk, while paying attention to the roots.
  • Backfill the hole, packing the soil well.
  • Connect the trunk to its support, using a staking belt placed in an “8”; the “8” knot located between the stake and the tree, in order to limit friction.

Sea buckthorn maintenance

No care is required to maintain the sea buckthorn. Only one size can be done on a few occasions:

  • Training pruning, during the first years of growth.
  • Elimination of dead or dangerous branches.
  • Raising the crown, i.e. removing branches that are too low and can get in the way.

Multiplication:

You can create new sea buckthorn plants by layering, cuttings (on soft wood in August or hard wood in winter) or sowing.

Diseases and pests:

Particularly vigorous, the Hippophae rhamnoides is not the target of parasites and does not seem to be susceptible to disease.

Use of sea buckthorn

Thanks to its suckering root system, sea buckthorn is very useful for fixing unstable soils or embankments.

Resistant to salt and spray, it is also perfect for decorating a garden by the sea.

To take full advantage of the red‑orange fruits in winter, combine your sea buckthorn with trees or shrubs with light ornamental wood, such as dogwood with colored bark (example: Cornus sericea), or white willow with yellow wood (Salix alba).

Fruit harvest and preparation

Sea buckthorn berries are generally harvested from October, preferably after the first frosts.

Picking is not easy, especially because of the thorns of the tree. Nevertheless, by shaking the branches after laying a tarp on the ground, it is easier to collect the fruits of the sea buckthorn.

After harvest, the berries are eaten plain, or as an accompaniment to yogurt or cereal. They can also be stored in juice, syrup, jam, or even frozen.

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