Saskatoon Berries (Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt.)
Saskatoons can be found growing on a broad range of soil types; however, the preferred location appears to be on deep, sandy to loamy soils which are well drained. Saskatoons do not like hard-pan layers or solonetzic soils. Saskatoons are adaptive to a wide range of pH levels. However, a pH of 6 - 7.5 is most desirable. Saskatoon berry trees should not be planted within 2 kilometres of native junipers due to problems with juniper-saskatoon rust.
Shelterbelts: Shelterbelts protect crops from dry winds during both the summer and the winter seasons. They shelter the orchard from the prevailing north and west winds and should be planted perpendicular to the planted orchard area. Shelterbelts are very important during every phase of orchard establishment.
Location: The general recommendation for fruit crops is to plant on slight north-east or east facing slopes. This allows the soil to warm more slowly in the spring and results in delayed blooming of the fruit crop which may protect the blooms from late spring frosts.
Planting: Saskatoon orchards should be established on weed-free fields which have been adjusted to recommended fertility levels. For the best results and survival rates, Prairie Plant Systems recommends that the trees be planted in spring, after the risk of frost has passed (May and June) and again in the fall, usually no later than September 30th. Fall planting requires as much care in terms of irrigation as do spring plantings.
Plant Spacing: Plant spacing is based on space requirements of mechanical harvesters currently in use. The recommended plant spacing is about 6.2 metres (20 feet) between rows and a minimum of 1 metre (3 feet) within rows. This will provide a solid hedge of saskatoons which can be efficiently harvested with existing mechanized technology.
Orchards used for u-pick markets may have different spacing requirements. These spacings may be 3.5 metres (12 feet) between rows and 2 metres (6.5 feet) between plants, thus allowing space for hand harvesting of single bushes. However, this spacing would not lend itself to mechanical harvesting. The list below provides the number of plants per acre for several spacings:
|Plant Spacing||Plants per acre|
|1 m x 4.5 m||3 ft x 15 ft||968 trees/acre|
|1 m x 4.75 m||3 ft x 16 ft||908 trees/acre|
|1 m x 6.2 m||3 ft x 20 ft||726 trees/acre|
|1.25 m x 4.5 m||4 ft x 15 ft||726 trees/acre|
|1.25 m x 2.75 m||4 ft x 16 ft||681 trees/acre|
JB30 – Exclusive to PPS!
This Saskatoon was included in the 5 year replicated cultivar trial conducted by the University of Saskatchewan from 1991 to 2003. It was propagated from a wild plant found near Langham, SK.
This shrub is exceptionally high yielding, with fruit produced reaching up to 15mm in diameter. The berries are deep blue when ripe and have an excellent flavour. JB30 grows approximately 3.5m high in an upright, spreading form.