Fruit and Nut
Long grown as a wind and salt tolerant hedging shrub, adaptable to a wide range of climatic zones and soil types, sea buckthorn is also a valuable nitrogen fixing plant. In many northern temperate countries the plant is highly valued for its berries, which are produced on a large scale for processing into juice and medicinal products. Careful plant breeding over the last 40 years has produced a range of cultivars particularly suited to berry production. The berries are exceptionally high in Vitamin C, typically containing 10 to 100 times as much as an apple weight for weight. The berries are also rich in carotenoids and Vitamin E, amino acids and other antioxidants.
Worldwide, indigenous sea buckthorn covers an estimated 1 million hectares, with a further 300,000-500,000 hectares of plantation or orchard. Wild sea buckthorn habitats typically yield 0.2-0.75 tonne of berries per hectare, with yields of 5 tonnes per hectare occurring in German orchards populated with selected cultivars, and even higher yields being reported elsewhere. Individual bushes can produce up to 7kg of berries per annum.
Sea buckthorn extracts have been used in the treatment of a wide range of medical conditions incuding cancer, heart disease and burns. For the last few decades, it has been the subject of an enormous amount of research, initially in the Soviet Union and Russia, but also in China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Canada, Sweden, Finland and Germany. Sea buckthorn is extremely hardy and can tolerate temperatures down to -40 Celsius. It has been used as a pioneer plant on former industrial sites and also in a defensive capability in areas threatened by soil erosion.
Sea buckthorn probably ranks in the world's top 20 most useful plants.
Sea buckthorn is dioecious, meaning there are male and female plants. Only the female plants bear fruit. However,in order to achieve pollination, both male and female cultivars must be grown in the same area. Only a small number of male plants are needed, typically five to ten males per one hundred female plants.
Please note that sea buckthorn sold as a hedging plant in conventional nurseries will generally be a random mix of unnamed male and female plants grown from seed, and will be very slow to bear fruit. The difference between named cultivars propagated vegetatively and random seed-grown plants is comparable to the difference between named cultivars of walnut or chestnut, and trees grown from seed. Although probably not a good choice if fruit production is the main objective, seed-grown sea buckthorn can be useful for planting on derelict industrial sites as nitrogen fixers, soil stabilisers/improvers and for biomass production (see below).
The named cultivars of sea buckthorn sold here are of German origin and have been propagated specifically for high quality fruit production. They are more suitable for the Atlantic climate than Russian or Finnish named cultivars and will come into fruit early in life.
Sea buckthorn grows into a large shrub and can be planted up to 5 m apart. For a good fruiting hedge (as opposed to a tight wind-break), plant 1.5-2 m apart in in double rows with 1.5m between each row.
Although it will succeed in a wide variety of climatic conditions, sea buckthorn will generally fail in waterlogged ground. It prefers well drained ground with a pH of 6.0-7.0, but will tolerate a pH of between 5.5 and 8.0. It will thrive in coastal zones and has high tolerance of salt.
Named varieties selected for optimum berry production. Both male and female plants are required for successful berry production. There should be at least one male plant within 10-15m of each group of female plants (the female plants produce the berries).
Warning: in favourable circumstances (in particular where there is an absence of grazing animals, including rabbits, or where there is no management of the site in question) sea buckthorn can colonise sand dune systems and in these situations may eventually out-compete the indigenous plants. The plant spreads mainly by suckering, but can also be spread by dispersal of berries (by birds) too. As a precautionary measure, it is strongely recommended never to plant sea buckthorn in or adjacent to sand dune systems unless the risks to indigenous flora and fauna have first been fully assessed.
Availability: Please enquire
Availability: Please enquire