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Everything you need to know about sea-buckthorn

Harvesting

Harvesting is difficult due to the dense thorn arrangement among the berries on each branch. For commercial production in orchard like plantations, a common harvesting technique is to remove an entire branch, though this is destructive to the shrub and reduces future harvests. A branch removed in this way is next frozen, allowing the berries to be easily shaken off. The branches are cut, deep frozen to −32°C, then shaken or abraded for removal of the berries.

Sea-buckthorn - LandscapingThe worker then crushes the berries to remove up to 95% of the leaves and other debris. This causes the berries to melt slightly from the surface as the work takes place at ambient temperature (about 20°C). Berries or the crushed pulp are later frozen for storage.

The most effective way to harvest berries and not damage branches is by using a berry-shaker, which was developed in Estonia. Mechanical harvesting leaves up to 50% in the field and the berries can be harvested only once in two years. They only get about 25% of the yield that could be harvested with this relatively new machinery.

Since the 1960s Russian horticulturists developed new varieties with greater nutritional value, larger berries, different ripening months and a branch that is easier to harvest. Over the past 20 years, experimental crops have been grown in the United States and in Canada.

Many Russian gardeners have developed their own method of collecting sea-buckthorn berries from the tree. They simply cut off some branches, then remove the berries from the braches in the comfort of the own home.This does no harm to the tree if certain conditions are met.

Sea-buckthorn - Cutting branchesFirst, all the dry branches should be cut from the tree. as this will make collection easier. Then cut off only “blind cops" with the berries, since these will not continue to grow and will die and wither away by the end of the growing season. This way you can collect half of the yield. When cutting, leave a stump sprouts with 2 - 3 buds for re-growth next spring.

Then collect the remainder of sea-buckthorn berries. Put a polyethylene sheet or cloth under the tree to catch any berries which fall to the ground. Then, starting with the lower branches, remove Berries with your thumb and forefinger working from the beginning of the branch to the end of it.

You can make a simple and very popular wire hinge used by Russian gardeners (shown in the picture) to help you with collection of the sea-buckthorn berries.

Landscaping

Sea-buckthorn Red BerriesSea-buckthorn is a popular garden and landscaping shrub, particularly making a good vandal-proof barrier hedge with an aggressive basal shoot system exploited in some parts of the world as wind breaks and to stabilize riverbanks and steep slopes.

The wide adaptation, fast growth, strong coppicing and suckering habits coupled with efficient nitrogen fixation make sea-buckthorn particularly suitable for planting in degraded soils. Sea-buckthorn can control soil erosion and water loss effectively, and increased land reclamation. In many instances sea-buckthorn has proved highly beneficial for enhancement of wildlife habitat, farmstead shelter belts, erosion control, and land reclamation.

Sea-buckthorn has value in northern climates for their landscape qualities, as the colorful berry clusters are retained through winter. Branches may be used by florists for designing ornaments. The plant is the regional flora of the Finnish region of Satakunta.

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