Growing Sea Buckthorn 102

Sea buckthorn after harvest. Cultivar, Mary.

Planning for optimum pollination.

Before planting your first seaberry trees you will want to carefully plan a few things. Understanding the differences between the many sea buckthorn varieties will help you select the right ones to bring to your chosen market. Also, proper pollination is important to achieve a high yielding orchard. By carefully planning your male to female ratio, as well as, the placement of each seaberry plant, you will see amazing results in the productivity of your female shrubs.

It takes both male and female flowers to achieve fruit, and it can be difficult to tell whether you have a male or female in front of you until your shrubs have reached maturity. Professional growers will always mark the type and variety of the sea buckthorn plants they are selling. Keeping a close eye on where you plant each variety and type (m or f) is crucial to telling where each different sea buckthorn variety is located within your plantation. Creating a system to identify your different cultivars apart will be very practical for overall analysis and understanding of your harvests from year to year. The easiest time to tell male sea buckthorn apart from a female is when the berries are in full development on the branches because only female seaberries produce fruit. But a keen eye can tell them apart by a few other subtle clues. One way is by identifying the different flower buds that develop in early May. There is nothing showy about sea buckthorn flowers. The males will have a flower bud which resembles an upside down pinecone and the female flowers are a simple tiny, yellow pistil that comes out from the young leaves. Another less obvious way to identify a male is the slight differences in the tone and shape of the mature leaves.

The proper placement and ratio of male to female sea buckthorn in a commercial orchard or homestead plantation will help ensure optimum pollination throughout the females.

Below are a couple of diagrams that show the suggested planting pattern for a seaberry plantation. Some growers will add a row of males along the most northwestern edge of the orchard so the spring winds will carry extra pollen onto the female flowers.

There are many sea buckthorn cultivars to choose from.

Once you’ve determined how many males you’ll need to add to your plantation and where to place them. You’ll want to carefully choose your female sea buckthorn varieties. With the many great, and not so great, sea buckthorn cultivars out there to choose from, -you might ask yourself which ones are the best tasting, and for what purpose is each best suited? As we know, seaberry oil is famous for its healing properties. The oil is primarily used in cosmetics, such as creams, soaps, and serums. Sea buckthorn oil is also often sold as supplements in gel cap form. Sea buckthorn juice is highly nutritious and can be used in various food and beverage recipes. The berries are most often consumed daily as a natural way to keep a healthy immune system. Some varieties will produce lots of oil which would be less useful to, -let’s say, a brewer, who would be looking for a pronounced flavor in the berry but low oil content. While a berry with low oil content but a great flavor, such as Sunny or Chuyskaya, will be more adapted to juice blends and confections, than a gel cap supplement.

Sea buckthorn varieties of German origin often produce small, sour, berries with tiny stellate hairs on the skins which make them generally unappealing for comestible products. A Leikora, for instance, would be best suited for use in oil extraction for cosmetic purposes.

Russian varieties are most delicious and often have no thorns along the branches which makes them easy to harvest by hand. But these cultivars often weaken over time and will have less longevity of production. Trees will often die out after several years or the yields will become less abundant over time.

Latvian cultivars are generally strong and vital for about 15 years or more. These are larger cultivars that produce bountiful yields from year to year when properly harvested. Fruits of these varieties have high levels of carotenoids (10 – 18 mg/100g), the average oil content is 4,7% – 6,4%, and they are the juiciest. Also, the largest of sea buckthorn berries come from Latvian cultivars, with an average of 80 – 110 g/100 fruits. They are also smooth (without stellate hairs) and very tasty.

Canadian breeds of seaberry, such as; Harvest Moon, Indian Summer and Orange September, can produce good harvests for many years and often have very few thorns along the branches.

Having tested, and tasted many popular sea bucktorn varieties available here in North America, we have summarized below a few lists of “the best of the best” in seaberry varieties.

Best in flavour for juice blends and comestible goods;

Best in flavour for brewing beers and kombuchas;

  • *Orange Energy
  • **Sunny
  • ***Caprice
  • ****Harvest Moon

Best in oil content for cosmetic and supplement purposes;

Russian cultivar *

Latvian cultivar **

Germain cultivar ***

Canadian cultivar ****

Consider this before planting seabuckthorn seedlings.

You might be thinking that planting inexpensive seedlings is the solution to building your homesteads sea buckthorn grove. A few things to consider when planting a sea buckthorn grown from seed are;

1, A seedling is essentially a wild plant. So your seedlings will grow extremely vigorous root systems which will have a much higher tendency to aggressively produce root suckers. These can easily turn into a wild thicket of thorns. Regular mowing around the base of each tree should keep its self-propagation at bay.

2, Seedlings will not produce fruit until about 6 years after sprouting. During this time it will be impossible to tell if you have female or male plants.

3, Since sea buckthorn seedlings are wild and will have roughly 30% difference from the genetics of its parent plant, you will not know what kind of seaberry you’ll end up with. Sea buckthorn grown from seed will likely be very thorny plants. The fruits most often are very sour with many stellate hairs. Making them less tasty for eating whole or baking purposes.

Do you have space for only a few seabuckthorn plants?

We are wholesalers of various sea buckthorn products. We work primarily with resellers across North America to distribute our quality sea buckthorn shrubs, berries, and other products. We also help others build their own seabuckthorn plantations, by providing advice and offering select seaberry varieties of the highest quality. Our sea buckthorn cultivars are recognized worldwide for their high commercial value.

When purchasing sea buckthorn plants for delivery, we require a minimum order of twelve shrubs. For those of you who wish to purchase less than 12 seabuckthorn, please visit our resellers in Canada and the US.

US, Oregon & West Coast

One Green World.

US, Minnesota & North East.


Canada, Ontario

Whiffletree Nurseries

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