How to Keep Your Aronia Bushes Healthy

Posted by Superberries on 3/9/2017 to Growing the Aroniaberry

Aroniaberry blossom

In a recent discussion I had regarding the growing and the cultivation of Aronia Berry plants, I was asked about the plant diseases, weeds and pests that might prey upon the Aronia Berry bush. I was also asked about the benefits and the drawbacks of using insecticides and herbicides on and around the Aronia Berry bush as a possible pest, weed and disease deterrent.

First, outside of the insects, there is a variety of wildlife attracted to the berries and the leaves of the Aronia Berry bush that may hinder Aronia yields. Deer, birds, rabbits, mice and even some domesticated dogs have been known to feed on the berries and the leaves. The Aronia Berry bush does occasionally release a natural chemical to ward off deer, but the chemical release is sometimes not nearly as efficient or as potent as it should be to provide the best resource of protection. The most efficient and proven deterrent for the deer, dogs and rabbits is high mesh fencing to keep the integrity of the berries at optimum levels. Keeping the Aronia Berry bush safe from the birds entails draping netting over the plant or netting machines as a deterrent. The use of netting can get a bit costly and time consuming if using on multiple bushes, but it has been proven to be highly effective in keeping the “feathered friends” at bay.

The Aronia Berry is in the same family as the apple and therefore has a few insect pests in common. The pests from the insect world that can and have affected Aronia yields are the apple maggot, brown marmorated stink bug, cherry fruit worm, grasshoppers, Japanese beetle, spotted wing drosophila and tarnished plant bug. This group of insect pests may seem overwhelming, but the important fact to note is that many of these pests are not active in every region indigenous to Aronia production. Synthetic insecticides are not generally recommended for use on Aronia Berry bushes because the bush and the fruit do not react well to a variety of manufactured sprays. It’s generally recommended to use organic sprays on the bushes if at all possible to keep the insects away.

Plant diseases that may affect the Aronia Berry bush are cedar-quince rust and cedar-apple rust. This may turn the leaves brown, but it’s very rare that it will affect yield in healthy Aronia Berry bushes. Overall, though, the Aronia Berry bush has very few known plant diseases that affect it at this time making it one of the sturdiest plants in the vegetation kingdom.

When it comes to weeds, it’s generally recommended to mulch the soil around the Aronia Berry bushes to control weed growth and use good, old fashioned “elbow grease” to hand weed the area around the bushes. It’s not recommended to mow or use a weed-eater in the event that this may inadvertently cause damage to the canes on the bushes making them more susceptible to disease. If an herbicide is used, it’s also recommended to use an organic spray to protect the integrity of the Aronia Berry bush.

For further details and a wealth of resources on organic sprays, non-organic sprays and the cultivation and growth of Aronia Berry bushes, please contact your local county extension agent. They’ll be more than happy to provide you with any additional information you may seek regarding the nuances of the Aronia Berry bush and its care. In the meantime keep “eating purple” and keep spreading the Superberries word.