The continents of Europe and Asia are the natural habitat of the sea buckthorn bush, and it has always been very common there in areas with loose soil, such as beaches and other sandy areas. It is tougher than most other plants, and its name comes from the fact that it thrives in the sandy soil of coastlines, particularly in England and on the Atlantic shores of Europe. It is not native to North America, but the climate of Canada and some parts of the United States are ideal for its growth. Given its low attention needs and substantial health benefits, interest in growing this amazing plant for commercial purposes is quickly increasing.
Horticulturists and landscapers treasure the sea buckthorn bush because it is an excellent retainer of soil. It controls erosion by trapping soil in its dense root system, and it requires very little maintenance in order to flourish. The brilliant orange berries, which appear after four or five years, add an exciting touch of color to any landscaping design.
Sea buckthorn is easy to plant, either by simply placing the hard, small seeds in the ground or by using cuttings. When cultivating the plant, it is important to make sure that there is an even distribution of male and female plants in an area, or pollination will fail. Areas with plenty of sunlight and no shade at all are the best environments for planting.
If the sea buckthorn plant is allowed to grow without pruning, harvesting the berries and seeds will be extremely difficult given the thorny branch structure. The branches must be kept short and neat, allowing for quick removal of the berries by shaking.
Because it naturally grows in cold areas, the plant has a high resistance to frost. This eliminates the need for special protection during the winter months. It is also highly resistant to insect damage, and most animals avoid eating it (with the exception of pheasants, grouse, and some songbirds native to Europe). Weed control, however, is important, especially when the plants are young and have not yet developed a strong root system.
Harvesting Sea Buckthorn Berries
The sea buckthorn does not give up its nutrient-rich berries and seeds easily. Picking them by hand is very time-consuming and difficult, since the fruit is firmly attached to the branches and protected by sharp thorns. Researchers have yet to find an efficient method of mechanically harvesting berries in the field; the best methods to date collect only about half of the berries and leave the rest behind. By far the easiest way to harvest the berries is to cut down the bush, freeze the branches, and knock the berries off. People may think that this method is harmful to the plant, however, careful trimming will actually stimulate the sea buckthorn tree to bears more fruit in two years with an result of increased production.
Learn more about the next step before consumer use, the sea buckthorn extraction process.