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How To Grow Blueberries

May 10, 2018

Bluberry_Plants.jpg

 

How To Grow Blueberries

Select a sunny location with well draining soil.  If soil is moderate to poor draining, grow in raised beds 3-4 feet wide and 8-12” high.  Blueberries require a moist root zone during the growing season, so it is important that the planting area has access to irrigation.

It is important to plant two different varieties to ensure cross-pollination for fruit set.  Any 2 varieties will cross-pollinate regardless of ripening time.

Blueberries thrive in acidic soil.  Incorporate peat moss into the planting medium.  In a planting area approximately 2 ½ feet in diameter and one foot deep, remove 1/3 to 1/2 of soil and add an equal amount of premoistened peat moss and mix well.  One 3.8 cubic foot bale will usually be sufficient for 3-4 plants.  For raised beds mix equal volumes peat moss with acid compost or planting mix.  Fertilize with acid-forming fertilizer, such as you would use for rhodies and azaleas.  

Blueberries can be spaced 2-6 feet apart depending on variety and in rows 8-10 feet apart.

For container stock, remove from pot and lightly roughen up the outside surface of the root ball.  Set the topsoil line of the plant about 1-2 inches higher than the existing ground.  Mound soil up along sides of exposed root mass.  Water in well.

Mulch over the roots 2-4” using bark mulch, acid compost, sawdust, grass clippings, etc.  Repeat every other year.

It is important the blueberries get established before allowing them to bear fruit.  Once established and bearing, they should be heavily pruned each year to avoid over fruiting which results in small fruit or poor growth.

Remove all blooms as they appear the first year.  In years thereafter, follow these steps after the leaves have dropped. 

1. Remove low growth around the base.
2. Remove dead wood and twiggy growth.  Leave healthy wood.
3. If 1/3 to 1/2 of the wood has not been removed by the above steps, thin out the fruiting laterals and small branches until this balance has been obtained.

Use acid forming fertilizer such as Miracle Gro’s Miracid for newly planted stock as well as established plants.  All rhododendron and azalea fertilizer will also work.  Apply in early Spring and again in late Spring for best results.  Always water well after fertilizing.

Fruits will mature between July 1 and October 1, depending on the variety.  Berries are produced in clusters and ripen in succession over a period of time before full maturity of flavor is reached.  Do not pick underripe berries, they won’t ripen.  If birds are a problem, use netting to cover the bushes.



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