Sloe Berry - Prunus Spinosa
A long lived species, the sloe is a native of the Caucasus region and often used as a thorny hedgerow across the United Kingdom. The small astringent blue berries ripening in March are almost inedible and not ususally consumed straight from the tree. Their value lies in their use as flavouring for gin and other white spirits. Hardy and easy to grow, sloe trees provide excellent wildlife habitat due to their dense structure, but sucker freely so it is important to remove suckers to reduce spread and control unwanted growth. Ideally suited to hedging in rural settings.
Easy to grow, plant in full sun in a soil enriched with aged compost and decomposed manure. Best suited to cooler climates. Prune in winter to keep plants compact and remove suckers to limit spread. Avoid waterlogged or wet sites.