Blueberries are excellent plants for the home gardener, providing not only delicious fruit, but plants that have outstanding ornamental value as well.
'Highbush' varieties grow from 5-8 feet tall at maturity; 'Halfhigh' and 'Lowbush' or dwarf varieties reach from 1-4 feet tall.
In fall and winter, the leaves and the bark of the young branches turn glowing shades of yellows and reds.
Fruiting occurs from July through October depending on variety
CHOOSING THE PLANTS
CHOOSE YOUR VARIETIES according to height or fruiting time.
PLANTING 2 VARIETIES will help produce better pollination than just one variety.
SOIL PREPARATION & PLANTING
CHOOSE A LOCATION that receives full sun in well-drained, acid soils high in organic matter.
SPACE the Highbush varieties about 6 feet apart or 4 feet apart if used as a hedge. Halfhigh or lowbush types can be spaced about 3-4 feet apart.
DIG THE HOLE approximately one foot deep and incorporate planting / soil building compost or peat moss.
PLANT THE BUSH so all the roots are just buried. Do not plant deeper.
WATER DEEPLY because blueberries are not very drought tolerant.
WATERING & FERTILIZATION
WATER THE PLANTS deeply to avoid heat stress and to help produce the best fruit.
FERTILIZE in mid-March with a product for acid loving plants such as rhododendron and azalea fertilizer.
PRUNING YOUNG PLANTS or newly transplanted ones is not recommended. It is best to let them become established for about 3 years before any pruning is done.
THE GOAL OF PRUNING once plants do become established is to promote the growth of strong new wood, facilitating good fruit production on 2-3 year old canes. Cut out broken canes, canes that cross each other, and a few older and less productive canes each year. Severe pruning is not necessary. To keep plants fully productive, try to have no canes over 6 years old on the bush.
DISEASE & PEST CONTROL
THE BEST DEFENSE against pests and diseases is to provide the plants with the right location, soil conditions and deep moisture. Blueberries are relatively easy care and can provide years of productive harvests and ornamental beauty.
GOOD GARDEN HYGIENE is also important. Use sharp, clean pruners to prevent damage and the spread of disease from other plants. Cleaning up dead leaves beneath the plants in the spring is also a good practice. This will help eliminate any diseases or pests which may have overwintered there.