New shoots from healthy elderberry plants usually produce several new canes each year; these attain their full height during that first year. The most fruitful are 2-year-old canes with several lateral branches. Unlike on most other fruiting plants, clusters are born terminally on the current season's growth. Because older trunks lose vigor and become weak after 2 to 3 years, they should be removed along with any dead, broken, or weak canes. Remove canes at ground level during the dormant season, leaving an equal number of 1-, 2-, and 3-year-old canes.