Elderberry (Sambucus) is a large bush or shrub that is native to the U.S. and Europe. The bush produces bluish-black fruit in bunches that are used in wines, juices, jellies and jams. The berries themselves are quite bitter, so they are rarely eaten by themselves.
After you have done your elderberry planting, you should weed once in a while, but do so carefully. You do not want to disturb the roots. Use mulch where necessary to prevent weed growth, and pluck weeds that manage to sneak through. When growing elderberries, remember that the bushes require about an inch or two (2.5 to 5 cm.) of water each week. Therefore, if summertime comes and you find that you are running into periods of no rain, be sure to water them often. The first two years after planting elderberry bushes, you should let them grow wildly. Do not prune and do not bother picking the berries. After that, you can prune the elderberry bushes in early spring by cutting them back and removing all the dead areas. This way, the bushes will grow and produce a lot of berries for you. Right around mid-August and mid-September, there is a 5- to 15-day ripening period. This is the time when you want to begin harvesting elderberries. Be sure to pick them before the birds do, and enjoy!