For those looking to enhance their garden with a shrub that offers year-round interest and supports local wildlife, Silver Buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea) is an excellent choice. This long-lived, slow-growing shrub is native to parts of central and western North America and is celebrated for its hardiness and ornamental appeal.

Why Choose Silver Buffaloberry?

Cold Hardy and Salt Tolerant

Silver Buffaloberry is a resilient shrub that thrives in cold climates and saline soils. Its salt tolerance makes it a valuable addition to gardens in areas with salty conditions, where other plants might struggle.

Ornamental Appeal

One of the main attractions of Silver Buffaloberry is its year-round ornamental interest. The shrub features attractive silver-scaled leaves and branches that catch the eye. In the fall, female plants produce bright red berries that add a splash of color and can be a food source for birds and wildlife.

Supports Bird Life

Gardeners who wish to attract and support bird life will find Silver Buffaloberry particularly beneficial. The shrub provides a habitat for birds, and its berries offer a nutritious food source, making your garden a haven for various bird species.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Habitat and Soil Preferences

Silver Buffaloberry is commonly found around sloughs, in coulees, and on light soils across the prairies. It grows best in full sun and adapts well to dry or normal moisture levels. This shrub is particularly suited to those who want to cultivate a hardy, low-maintenance landscape.

Physical Characteristics

Silver Buffaloberry is an upright, bushy, thorny-branched, thicket-forming, deciduous shrub from the Oleaster family. It typically reaches heights of 12 feet and spreads to about 10 feet, though it can occasionally grow up to an almost tree-like 18 feet tall.

Seasonal Beauty

  • Leaves: Silver-scaled, providing a unique and attractive appearance throughout the year.
  • Flowers: White, adding subtle beauty to the shrub.
  • Berries: Deep red, edible, and appear on female plants in the fall.

Growth and Maintenance

Dimensions and Lifespan

  • Zone: 2a
  • Height: Up to 5 meters (18 feet)
  • Spread: Up to 3 meters (10 feet)
  • Growth Rate: Medium
  • Life Span: Medium

Maintenance and Suckering

Silver Buffaloberry is a low-maintenance shrub, making it an excellent choice for gardeners seeking an easy-care plant. However, it is known to sucker heavily, which means it can spread and form thickets if not managed. Its high pollution tolerance also makes it suitable for urban environments.

How to Plant Your Silver Buffaloberry Seedling

  1. Plant your seedling
    • Ensure the risk of major frosts is in the past (tip: do not plant your seedlings until people in your community are planting their gardens).
    • Place the seedling in the hole with the stem standing straight up and with the root collar at ground level.
  2. Water and fill the hole
    • Moisten the soil and fill your hole back in around the roots.
    • Press firmly on the soil around the stem.
    • Cover the roots completely.
  3. Water the area
    • Water thoroughly after planting.
    • Take special care watering your seedlings in poorly drained soil.
    • Do not over-water your seedlings. Stop before standing puddles form.
    • Seedlings should go through a wet-and-dry soil cycle.
    • Allow the soil to dry down before watering again.
  4. Protect your trees from pests
    • Take special precautions to keep deer, rabbits, mice, and other pests away from your seedlings.

Happy Rewilding!

Silver Buffaloberry is a hardy, versatile shrub that brings both beauty and ecological benefits to your garden. Its striking silver foliage and vibrant red berries offer year-round interest, while its resilience in cold and saline conditions makes it a reliable choice for challenging environments. By planting Silver Buffaloberry, you can enjoy a low-maintenance, ornamental shrub that supports local wildlife and thrives in various soil conditions.

Project Forest has planted Silver Buffaloberry as part of the following rewilding projects: