Aronia Melanocarpa is a deciduous shrub with a height of about 3 m (10 ft). The roots are shallow and have many small branched roots. The crown of an adult plant can reach 3 m (10 ft). In diameter. Characterized by a high decorative quality of both fruits and foliage, the autumn foliage of the aronia is especially beautiful, it plays with purple, red and orange flowers. The flowers are bright white, fragrant, collected in corymbose inflorescences of 20 or more flowers.
During the fruiting period, large black berries with a bluish coating gather on the lush green foliage. The berries are juicy, round, the size of a pea. Unripe berries are red. The taste of the berries is sweet with a tart taste.
Black-fruited mountain ash grows quickly and begins to bear fruit from the age of 3 years. From mid-August to September, its fruits ripen.
It is used for planting hedges, strengthens ravines, it can be planted in ordinary plantings, but single specimens in gardens look good.
The plant is undemanding to soils, it will grow on dry sandy places, it even tolerates acidic soils. It also likes moist loamy soils, but not heavy ones, so that the flower buds have more green shoots. It needs good light, otherwise it will not bloom well and the fruit will be small.
Like most fruit plants, it is best planted in the fall. But if you plant the plant in early spring before budding, it will also take root normally. Unlike most plants, Aronia melanocarpa can even be transplanted with loose leaves. The root system is located at a distance of 50 cm (1.6 ft) from the soil surface, so the proximity of groundwater is not a problem.
Aronia melanocarpa is planted, like many other fruit crops. Dig a hole with a depth and diameter of about 50 cm (1.6 ft). Add a bucket of humus, about 60 g (2.1 oz) of potassium sulfide, and about 100 g (3.5 oz) of superphosphate. This mixture fills the planting pit after the seedling is lowered there. The root neck should be buried about 1.5 cm (0.6 in) deep during planting.
After planting, pour the seedlings around 1 bucket of water. The soil is mulched with humus, sawdust, and dry earth. Once the seedling is planted, cut it about 20 cm (7.9 in) from the soil surface to get a strong growth.
Aronia melanocarpa is a self-pollinating crop. The easiest way is to propagate with root suckers. Root progeny can grow to about 40 cm (1.3 ft) in the summer and have a good viable root system, so you can safely transplant them. But this does not exclude the possibility of reproduction by seeds, cuttings, bush division, layering, grafting.
When propagated by seeds, they should be sown in October, in winter they will pass the stage of natural stratification, and in spring there will be seedlings. The depth of planting the seeds in the soil is about 2 cm (0.8 in). Spring sowing requires stratification of the seeds for about 4 months at a temperature of no more than 5 °C (41°F).
Care for Aronia melanocarpa
In order for the berries to be large and juicy, it is necessary to water the black-fruited mountain ash during the formation of the fruit and subject it to a dry summer.
Aronia melanocarpa does not need a lot of fertilizers, otherwise you will get dense foliage and large stems, but the harvest will be worse, and winter hardiness will decrease. If you have added organic and mineral fertilizers to the pit during planting, then you may not fertilize the plant for 2 years. From the age of five, organic fertilizers and ammonium nitrate can be added to the trunk circle.
As I said, after planting, make the first strong pruning. Next year, pruning will consist in the formation of skeletal branches in a young plant – there are about 12 of them.
Remove the thickening shoots every year. You can shorten the shoots after the plant has finished flowering, so you will adjust the shape of your chokeberry.
After 7 years, the old branches are cut off, leaving strong young ones, thereby replacing the old branches with young ones. When the plant is ten years old, feel free to cut it to ground level. This will rejuvenate the plant.
Aronia melanocarpa berries ripen by the end of August, but it is better to collect them after the first frost. Carefully cut the stems with scissors, without removing the berries from their places. So they will be stored longer – you can string them on a wire and hang them in a dark, cool place. Chokeberry berries can be dried, frozen, made compotes, fruit drinks, wine, mashed potatoes, jam.
Aronia melanocarp is very useful and has healing properties, a huge number of different compounds, vitamins, minerals. But before you use it, you should consult with a specialist.