How to Plant and Care for Sea Buckthorn Hedging

What is sea buckthorn?

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a deciduous shrub native to Europe and Asia that is well-known for its vivid orange berries and several health advantages. It thrives in tough environments, frequently growing in coastal locations, sandy soils, and hilly places.

This dioecious plant has male and female individuals, and fruit production requires both genders. The shrub grows to a height of 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 metres) and has silver-grey leaves. It is well-known for its nitrogen-fixing qualities, which help in soil enriching. The vivid berries of sea buckthorn are high in vitamins, antioxidants, and vital fatty acids, which contributes to their appeal in traditional medicine and as a nutritional supplement.

Types of sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is produced in multiple types, each with somewhat distinct properties and functions. Among the prominent types are:

Hippophae rhamnoides subsp. rhamnoides (Common Sea Buckthorn): This is the wild form of sea buckthorn found throughout Europe and Asia. It has vivid orange berries that are abundant in nutrients and are used for a variety of medicinal and nutritional purposes.

Willow-Leaved Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides subsp. turkestanica) is a Himalayan and Central Asian native. It is commonly planted for its oil-rich berries and is prized for its capacity to adapt to dry and severe settings.

Hippophae rhamnoides subsp. tibetana (Tibetan Sea Buckthorn): This variety is found in the Tibetan area, as the name implies. It is well-known for its cold tolerance and medicinal properties!

Indian Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae salicifolia): This species is related to common sea buckthorn and is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is prized for its silvery leaf and berries, which are utilised in traditional medicine in the region.

Hippophae rhamnoides subsp. sinensis (Russian Sea Buckthorn): This variation is grown in Russia and neighbouring countries. It has a high vitamin C concentration and is utilised in the culinary sector to make juices, jams, and other goods.

Improved Cultivars: Various improved cultivars of sea buckthorn have been produced over time for greater fruit output, disease resistance, and climatic tolerance. These cultivars frequently have characteristics that make them suited for commercial production.

What are the benefits of sea buckthorn

It is a great windbreak: Because of its dense growth habit, resistance to harsh conditions, nitrogen-fixing abilities that enrich the soil, rapid growth rate, diverse varieties for customization, and ability to stabilise soil and prevent erosion, sea buckthorn is an excellent choice for windbreaks.

It makes good intruder-proof hedging: Due to its thick and thorny growth, sea buckthorn acts as an effective intruder-proof hedge, producing a solid barrier that discourages unauthorised entrance. Its rapid growth rate and thorns operate as a natural security mechanism, making it a viable option for improving property protection and privacy.

Wildlife friendly: Because of its nourishing berries and safe environment, it supports a wide range of species. Birds like thrushes, warblers, and finches are drawn to its vivid orange berries, which serve as an important food source, especially during the winter months when other food sources are sparse.

Nutrient-dense: Sea buckthorn berries are high in vitamins (such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and numerous B vitamins), minerals (such as potassium and magnesium), and antioxidants.

Immune Support: The high vitamin C concentration of sea buckthorn berries are thought to help the body to resist against infections and diseases by strengthening the immune system.

Skin Health: Sea buckthorn oil, produced from the berries, is well-known for its possible skin health advantages. Because of its moisturising, nourishing, and regenerating characteristics, it is frequently utilised in skincare products.

Digestive Health: Sea buckthorn is thought to have gastroprotective properties and may aid in the relief of gastrointestinal discomfort. The fibre component of the berries may also aid with digestion.

Eye Health: The combination of vitamins present in sea buckthorn, notably vitamin A and vitamin E, may help to preserve healthy eye health and eyesight.

While sea buckthorn appears to have these advantages, additional study is needed to completely understand its effects and processes. Before introducing sea buckthorn products into your regimen, as with any supplement or natural therapy, discuss with a healthcare expert, especially if you have pre-existing health concerns or are using other medicines.

What do sea buckthorn berries taste like?

The flavour of sea buckthorn berries is distinct, blending acidity with a trace of sweetness. The flavour is frequently characterised as tart and zesty, like a cross between orange and lemon flavours. These little, spherical berries are orange in colour and have a silvery top. They are found on prickly bushes with silver-gray leaves. Sea buckthorn berries mature in late summer to early fall, with August and September being prime months for harvesting. Look for clusters of orange berries on the shrub’s branches to help you identify it. Their bright colour, along with the shrub’s spiky and silvery look, helps them stand out among leaves.

Where does sea buckthorn grow in the UK?

Sea buckthorn grows in many parts of the UK, notably along the coast, on sand dunes, and in heathlands. It grows best in well-drained sandy or gravelly soils. It is often found in the east and south shores of England, and it may be found in coastal parts of the Highlands and islands of Scotland. The plant’s capacity to withstand harsh circumstances such as salt spray and high winds makes it ideal for coastal locations in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, sea buckthorn is prized for its function in soil stabilisation and biodiversity in these distinct environments.

How to plant sea buckthorn

Choose a sunny, well-drained spot for planting sea buckthorn. Dig a hole slightly bigger than the root ball, insert the plant, and backfill with soil, making sure the plant’s crown is at ground level. Water generously after planting and on a regular basis until the plant becomes established. If planting a bare root sea buckthorn, follow this guide: How to Plant a Bare-Root Hedge

Caring for sea buckthorn

Regular watering is required to help create a healthy root system in sea buckthorn, especially during its first year of growth. While sea buckthorn is relatively low-maintenance, a balanced fertiliser applied in the spring can encourage healthy growth. Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring to remove dead or overgrown branches, hence improving air circulation and berry production, take a look at our blog on How to Trim a Hedge for more information. Although sea buckthorn is highly resistant to pests and diseases, aphid infestations may occur on occasion. Such problems may be avoided by keeping the plant healthy and well-maintained, and for more information on this, you can read our Popular Garden Pests and Diseases blog. Furthermore, providing sufficient spacing and enough air circulation might help to lower the likelihood of illness development.

Sea buckthorn is a versatile and robust plant that provides several advantages, from its thick growth, which makes it an ideal windbreak and intruder-proof hedging choice, to its acidic and citrusy berries, attracting wildlife to your garden. It flourishes in coastal locations and sandy soils, and it contributes to soil stabilisation and biodiversity in the UK’s coastal zones. Though generally resistant to pests and diseases, regular management protects against possible problems, making sea buckthorn a wonderful addition to both natural and developed settings.