How do you care for the haskap berry?
Posted by Suttons Staff on 01 May 2014 09:30 am

The haskap berry is native to Siberia and is very hardy. This erect, self-fertile deciduous shrub will grow to a height and spread of approximately 1.2-2m (4-6ft).

Haskap berries will grow in any well-drained soil rich in organic matter. For the heaviest crops grow the plants in a sheltered, sunny position. Each spring apply a balanced fertilizer and a mulch of well-rotted garden compost to retain soil moisture. Avoid over feeding the plant as this will result in a lot soft shoot growth at the expense of flower production.

The haskap berry flowers very early in the year when few pollinating insects are around. To aid pollination, hand pollinate the flowers by lightly brushing them with a small, soft paint brush.

It can take two years before they start to fruit. The fruit is harvested in late spring/early summer. The berries turn blue and develop a whitish bloom when ripe; however check to make sure that the flesh is purple-red as green under ripe fruits can be very sour. Some protection from birds will be necessary.

Young plants require very little in the way of pruning and in the first three years just remove any dead wood. Mature plants are pruned in early to mid-summer once harvesting has been completed. Remove any straggly, weak and damaged shoots. Thin out over crowded shoots cutting some them back to the base of the plant. This will encourage strong new growth to replace the older wood. Also remove the tips of young shoots to encourage more flowering shoots.

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