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I have a mature elder -sambucus nigra and want to give it a boost. Has anyone ever cut a sambucus fairly severely? The thickest branches are about 4 to 5 inches in diameter. I live in West Yorkshire (thought that might help in terms of knowing when to prune)

I cut both sambucus Sutherland gold and nigra to the ground every,year. They recover very well by producing quality leaf and growth to 6 or 7 feet. Yours is much older wood but you dont say,how old and what size it is. I would cut it hard back to framework keeping much of the old branches.
Jean Genie

Hi Flowerpower, I have a sambucus nigra and a black lace but they are in tubs. They get hard pruned every Spring for the foliage but with your tree , I found this information. It looks a little different.

Hope this helps.

Thank you so much for your help! I'm going to cut it back, even though it's 13 years old and has chunky branches at the base. I never understand why people think it has an unappealing scent- I love it!

Hi flowerpower, I too cut back my overgrown Sambucus hard in spring, it was a

"muck or nettles" job, it has rewarded me with lovely foliage and a much better


Hope this is helpful 


Thank you! The said elder was full of finches today- popping out to feed from our feeder once the starlings had retreated so I'll definitely wait till late winter but am encouraged by all of your advice.

As said on another post I stool many shrubs.....elders, Acer flamingo. Eucalyptus, physocarpus Diablo, purple berberis, Cornus etc and all respond with excellent shape and leaf colour and of manageable size every year

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