Growing EBH

Although the following from PrairieTech Propagation, a specialty propagator of Prairie-hardy fruit and ornamental plants, focuses on Haskap, there is no reason to believe that it could not be applied to Honeyberries as well.

Pollination

Much like apples, haskaps need another genetically distinct cultivar for pollination. We recommend using Smart Berry Blue for the U. of S. haskaps, and Borealis as a pollinator for Smart Berry Blue. Keep in mind that the cultivar you use for pollination will also produce fruit!

The ratio of pollinators to producing plants is about 1 to 8 i.e. 1 pollinator for every 8 producing plants. If you are planting a large area of haskaps you can plant them so that every producing plant is next to a pollinator (X = producer, P = pollinator).

X X X X X X
X P X X P X
X X X X X X
X X X X X X
X P X X P X
X X X X X X
X X X X X X
X P X X P X

Planting and Spacing

Haskaps can be planted 1 or 2 inches deeper than the original depth to establish a deeper root system. If you wish to have a hedge effect, space plants 3 feet within the row; if you want the plants to remain separate, plant them 4-4.5 feet apart.

Between row spacing depends on how the fruit will be harvested. If they are planted for a u-pick operation, you need adequate space between the rows to allow for customers to move up and down the rows comfortably (e.g. 8-10 ft). If you have some sort of mechanical harvester, you may need to have greater space between the rows, depending on the size of equipment (15-18 ft.)

Fertilizer and Water Management

Since haskaps are such a new crop, not much is known about their fertilizer requirements. Dr. Bors, from the U. of S., feels that Prairie soils are fertile enough to sustain haskaps. Since there are no established guidelines, he suggests using fertilizer recommendations for tomatoes or potatoes.

Water immediately after planting. For the first three years after planting, supplemental watering is critical to promote deep root growth. During hot summer months, plants may need regular irrigation. Established plants may need no additional water other than what is provided through rainfall.

Generally, it is better to water thoroughly less frequently with large volumes of water than it is to water frequently with small amounts of water. The goal is to provide water that helps develop a deep root system that will sustain the plant as it matures.

Insect and Disease Pests

Haskaps have few pest problems. Powdery mildew may be a problem on some cultivars. Netting may be needed to keep birds out of the plants.

Pruning

Haskap plants have a naturally round shape and don’t need much pruning. In the late winter or early spring, pruning should be done to take out older branches when the plant gets too dense. Don’t remove more than 25% of the plant in one year.

Harvest and Yield

You may see a few fruit the first year after planting but it will be a few years before there is any considerable yield. After 5 years, you might see 5-7 kilos (11-15 lb) per plant.

Haskaps are an early crop! Berries start to change colour the first week of June but fruit aren’t fully ripe until the end of June. If the fruit have changed colour on the outside but are still green on the inside, they are not yet ripe – give them a few more days. The berry flesh should be red.