Sunday, November 23, 2014

Zone 4b-5a New Mexico Highlands

I'm trying a couple of plants at 5,000 ft. Albuquerque, and 8-plants at 7,500 ft. Taos. I have:
1 plant left at 7,800 ft. Costilla (-23F. No snow cover. Summer high 85-90F. Last spring frost, 2014, May 27. 13" precipitation per year)
3 plants at 8,200 ft. Amalia

I've not had any success with the Siberian/Russian varieties and am now trying a few Japanese varieties. Of the first two original orders I put in, about half have died and the rest are about 4-6 inches tall after a few years. I find that the sun is too much for them here. I'm moving what I have into a shaded apple orchard to see if they fare better. Also, they don't seem to tolerate drought conditions well at all. Unless you can get them some plants with 8-10" roots they are going to struggle and the sun scalded leaves just don't help. Another grower I work with in New Mexico has reported similar results with their haskap/honeyberry trials. Ron, New Mexico, member of NAFEX (North American Fruit Explorers).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Zones 4 Minnesota - Survivor Haskap

This haskap has hardly grown over the past three years (see 2011 blog entry). Planted in rich black dirt next to a garage and just beyond the edge of a black walnut tree, we're not sure what are the most detrimental factors that have stunted the growth. Our relatives reported that the garage wall had been covered with insects this summer and they may have eaten all the leaves, but by September, new shoots were thrusting forth in an effort to make a come-back. The Berry Blue honeyberry bush planted a few feet away looked the same.
Haskap sends out new shoots in fall after a bad summer
We conclude that not all locations are ideal for haskap, but yes, the bushes do make a tremendous effort to stay alive. We did decide that after three years it was time to give the bushes a new home so brought them back to The Honeyberry FarmBernis, reporting on bushes at Albert Lea, MN

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Zone 5b - Maine - Borealis and Tundra Haskap update

Borealis blossoms, May 12, 2014
(planted spring 2012)
Same Borealis bush June 3, 2014
It has been a very cold/late spring in Maine and many of my thornless blackberries and even red raspberries experienced moderate to severe  winter die back.... Haskaps loved it! and I also believe around 95% of the flowers put out were pollinated thanks to mr bumble bee! 

Tundra blossoms May 12, 2014
Same Tundra bush June 3, 2014

I was worried the interior of my plants would remain un-pollinated  due to how thick they are but the bumble bees would just land on the plants and walk their way through the plants from flower to flower (average time a bumble bee would spend on each bush was well over 2 minutes) then just fly to the next haskap plant in the row, ignoring all other flowers in-between in the process. At one point I had a highway of bumble bees going up and down my haskap row.

June 3, 2014 Haskap berries
I have only ever pruned one Tundra while it was in growth (late April) as a personal growth experiment and found it to be extremely detrimental. Instead of spurring new shoot growth it seemed to dramatically slow the plants growth for the rest of the year. I think pruning late fall is the way to go. (Editor's note: A Polish study reports pruning is not recommended until bush is mature, after six years).

The first 2 years the deer really ate all 6 of them back heavily during the fall, this is why I think why the Tundra plants I have seem just as bushy as the Borealis. (Editor's note: Borealis and Tundra are difficult to distinguish the first couple of years anyways, but as they mature, Tundra is significantly more open and sprawling, while Borealis forms a dense dome of branches and leaves. Deer or rabbit pruning does encourage more shoots from the roots. Whether this is recommended in the long term, we don't know, as it takes awhile for the bush to catch up to its unpruned state. Borealis seems bushy enough as it is, while maybe it is beneficial to Tundra to encourage more shoots from the roots.)

Berry Smart Blue fall 2013
(Planted spring 2012)
Berry Smart Blue grows upwards a lot faster and blooms a fair bit sooner then the other two leaving not much overlap but enough (2 weeks this year only 1 last). (Editor's Note: Berry Smart Blue, (aka Czech No. 17) is a Russian cultivar that pollinates with Borealis and Tundra. It has slightly smaller and tarter tubular berries, with some berry drop and leaves turn color earlier as well, but a productive and vigorous bush that fills out more solidly with maturity.)

Brian, coastal Maine

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Zone 4 - Minneapolis, MN

May 15, 2014 Haskap blossoms

May 15, 2014 Haskap blossoms
Thanks to Joseph Wehrman: Wildcard Photographic for these fotos of haskap blossoms that he planted the end of October, 2013. Late spring all over the northern states this year, but these berries should be ripe by the end of June.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Zone 5a - Borealis looking good in Iowa

Borealis haskap blossoms
My five Borealis made it through a brutally long and cold Iowa City winter; down to -30 F for several days. They are leafing out and flowering nicely. I could not be happier.

Three were planted last year and two were planted in 2012. As you may remember, the 2012 plants survived a scorching summer drought that year —what a way to start life in my yard. Unfortunately, I still won’t have any berries this year because my Honey Bee pollinator did not make it through the 2012 drought (it was received later in the spring and didn't have as good an opportunity to get established before it turned so hot and dry) I am planting the newly released Aurora this spring as pollenizers for the Borealis.   Fred, Iowa

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dr. Oz promotes Haskap to the USA and beyond

Before Dr. Oz was off the air, we received a phone call from someone in Kansas looking for haskap to help improve her health. The March 11, 2014 show featured an interview with Bryce Wylde of, one of Canada’s leading alternative health experts, who calls haskap "The Next Superberry." He is launching his new book, "Power Plants: Simple Home Remedies You Can Grow". Check it out at
-Bernis, /

Monday, January 27, 2014

Zone 4a - Idaho Haskap happy at 4,856 feet (1,480 m)

I just called up a grower in southeast Idaho who planted 24 Borealis, 24 Tundra, and 6 Berry Smart Blue in April of 2011. He reported significant growth in 2013, with well established roots and some berry production. He netted against the robbins, so his family was able to enjoy fresh berries and they made some jam. They tended to eat the Tundra fresh as it was the firmest berry, and used a mixture of the Borealis and Berry Smart Blue for the jam, but said all berries tasted good fresh. Berry Smart Blue was the largest and most productive bush. He looks forward to the berries increasing in size as well as a greater yield from the larger bushes this coming spring. Bernis reporting on phone conversation Jan. 27, 2014