I was up on the land and found a bunch of elderberries growing in the tag alders. I cut the tags around them to allow more sunlight. Has anybody else done this? Should I expect good results like when releasing apple trees?
Whatever elderberry you do cut, push the dormant cuttings back into the ground. Elderberry up to 1-1/2" in diameter can propagate itself from cuttings. From what I have read, survival of the cuttings can be sporadic. Thing is, even if you only get 30% survival rate, it's 30% more than you had before and the only thing you have in it is the time it took you to push them into the ground, since you were cutting them anyway.
Keep cutting that mature tag alder back, I've cut 90% of mine( leaving some mature stuff to break up the landscape. Make the cut about 2-3' up. Just be careful, there is usually a desired species growing inside the clump. You will have an explosion of growth, leave the cut down stuff where it falls. It holds the grass up, creating prime bedding. It also gives stuff like your elderberry room to expand. You should have a few basswood growing in the area. Add some hinge cuts of them, and you will have some of the best habitat in your area. I'm making mine even better by adding some pine and spruce.
Found a dead 10 pointer in this area two days ago, while planting spruce.