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Sea Buckthorn

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  • January 11, 2017
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Hippophae rhamnoides & cvs.

Sea buckthorn is a very common and well-respected plant in the eastern part of the world, where it’s used to produce around 200 different products.  The berries are high in Vitamin C and other nutrients.  In the West, it is largely unknown, except to horticulturists, a few specialty berry growers, and a few adventurous homeowners.  It isn’t a common ornamental plant, and rightly so, as it thorny, suckers freely, and tends to take over the area where it’s planted.

It is a useful plant for reclamation and soil improvement projects, as its roots have the ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.

We tried using the thornless cultivar ‘Hikul’ in a couple of residential plantings, but were put off by the massive amount of suckering the following two years after.  I no longer use sea buckthorn in small residential plantings.  They would be useful in shelter-belt plantings, or on acreages where their spread is either desirable, or at least not problematic.  The berries are delicious and very nutritious.  The foliage is a nice silvery-green, which adds nice contrast in a landscape.


Full sun

Pruning Time

Dormant period (late October to early April).  Anytime, if only minor pruning is required.


On an acreage sitaution, I’d just let this plant do it’s thing. The width might need to be taken in from time to time to keep it in the desired area.  Be prepared for a thicket.  Wildlife likes it.

(c) 2017 Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden & Tree Service In., Red Deer, AB.