General Blueberry Plant Care
WATERING: Blueberries like moist, well drained soil. It is very important that you water your blueberry plants regularly, especially the first year. Water throughout the growing season. It is generally not necessary to water blueberry plants after they go dormant in the fall. Blueberry plants should be watered often, but over watering for extended periods of time may be harmful. A good rule of thumb is if the top inch is damp, you’re okay.
MULCHING: Blueberry plants like to be mulched with just about any type of organic matter. Mulch your plants with 2 -4 inches of wood chips, pine bark mulch or needles, peat moss, saw-dust, or decomposed leaves to help retain moisture. Hold the mulch back from the base of the bush from 2-4″. The base of the plant emerging from the soil should never be covered with mulch. It is very important for it to breathe.
FERTILIZING: Blueberry plants will grow better if you fertilize them. They are acid loving plants, so generally any fertilizer recommended for rhododendrons or azaleas will work well. For a home-owner patch, we often recommend feeding with a product such as Miracle-Grow for Acid Loving Plants. If you are an organic gardener we recommend you use Neptune’s Harvest, AG Grand, or Worm Casting Tea on your blueberry plants. Always follow the instructions on the label. For conventional farmers, we typically recommend fertilizing with 19-19-19 in the spring at a quarter inch green tip, followed six weeks later by an application of ammonium sulfate.
PRUNING: Pruning can be necessary to remove dead or broken stems as your plants grow. As your blueberry bushes mature, annual pruning to remove the oldest canes will increase your plants vigor and help them stay productive. Pruning blueberry plants encourages new growth. Each cane reaches it’s optimal fruit production when it is 3 to 5 years old. Starting when the plants are around seven years old, you should start taking out 1 to 3 of the oldest canes per year. Generally, a mature blueberry bush can be pruned back 15% without decreasing the quantity of fruit you harvest, while maintaining the longevity of the plant. Pruning can be done any-time after the fruit harvest and throughout the fall and winter.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Blueberry plants are shallow rooted & should not be tilled. Keep the area around the bushes mulched and mowed for attractive appearance, ease of picking, and weed control. Blueberry plants are attractive plants with beautiful bell shaped flowers in the spring that turn into large clusters of delicious blueberries in June and July. They have bright green foliage in the summer that turns to brilliant shades of orange and red in the fall. They make nice hedges, landscape groups, and backyard gardens. They are highly profitable for commercial growers and take 5 to 7 years after planting to reach full production.
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