Two varieties of Common Elderberry are native to the United States -- Sambucus Canadensis in the east and Sambucus cerulea in the west. It has white flowers in the summer, followed by purplish-black or grayish-blue berries in the fall. The berries can be used to make jam, jelly or wine.
Common Elderberry is a deciduous shrub that forms a dense thicket of many canes. Fruits are produced on canes that are 1 to 3 years old, so remove older canes for the best fruit production.
Remove old canes, as well as thin and dead canes, annually. Use lopping shears for limbs larger than 1 ½ inches and hand pruners for smaller limbs.
Determine which canes are more than 3 years old. Use lopping shears to cut the older canes at a 30-degree angle at ground level.
Remove dead canes by cutting at a 30-degree angle at ground level with lopping shears. This will help to maintain the health of the plant.
Weak or thin canes have little or no foliage and do not appear sturdy enough to hold up a cluster of flowers or fruit. Thin out these canes by cutting at a 30-degree angle at ground level with lopping shears. This will encourage the growth of new canes.
Use hand pruners to remove dead or damaged twigs at the tip of the canes. Cut at a 30-degree angle at the first green node or joint.
Use lopping shears or hand pruners to remove canes that spoil the shape of the plant. Cut at a 30-degree angle at ground level.