MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE GROWING BLUEBERRY PLANTS
Blueberries are one of the most delicious and nutritious superfoods that you can grow yourself. Majorly, there are 5 varieties of blueberries: lowbush, northern highbush, southern highbush, rabbit eye and half-high. Out of which the most common cultivar is the northern highbush variety. These are more disease resistant compared to other varieties.
Various blueberry varieties can be grown at home but bluecrop blueberry is the most popular range in the world.
Before heading towards the mistakes to avoid while growing blueberry plants, let us learn how to grow blueberries and how to take care of the bushes!
To begin with:
How to plant blueberry bushes?
Under this section, you’ll get to know what steps you need to take while planting blueberry bushes.
When to plant blueberry bushes?
Opt for blueberry bushes that are bare-root and are two to three years old. These bushes are usually planted in the early to mid-spring.
Choose a planting site
Choose a site that receives full Sun, has good soil drainage and the soil is high in organic matter and acidic in nature (pH 4.0 to 5.0).
Spacing and Depth
To provide plenty of space to harvest blueberry bushes, these should be planted in a row at a distance of four to five feet whereas the adjacent row should be 9 to 10 feet apart. When planting bare-root plants, spread the roots in the hole and cover it with soil. Ensure that the root ball is just ½ inch below the soil surface.
BLUEBERRY PLANT CARE:
Once you plant blueberry plants, you need to take care of them. Ensure to avoid following mistakes while growing blueberry plants.
- Planting just one blueberry bush
- Not examining the soil before planting
- Avoid planting them in shade
- Choosing poorly-drained location
- Did not examine the soil before planting
- Did not mulch the blueberry bed after planting
Avoid these common blueberry growing mistakes to get the best blueberry harvest
Planting just one blueberry bush
There are a variety of blueberry cultivars, some are partially self-pollinating whereas some are not. For example, rabbiteye blueberries are not self-pollinating. In that case, two different varieties are required to fertilize the other. If only one bush is grown, it will not bear berries but the flower.
But even partially self-pollinating cultivars should be planted with more than one bush (other cultivar). As cross-pollination produces better crops and yields more berries each year.
Not examining the soil before planting
It is important to check the soil before blueberry plantation. As they grow well in acidic soil. The pH range should be 4.0 to 5.0. Soil rich in organic materials gives them the best start. If the soil isn’t acidic:
- You need to amend it by adding elemental sulfur
- Create a raised bed and apply acidic soil blend
You can add peat moss to your planting hole, it keeps soil loose, acidic and well-drained. It is advisable to reform the soil, the season before you plan to plant.
Planting them in an area with low sunlight
Blueberries grow and fruit well in full Sun. On most days, these bushes need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight.
Choosing a poorly-drained location
Blueberries grow well in sandy soil. Extremely wet soil is not a blueberry’s choice as they don’t like standing in water. They like growing at a site which has good drainage. Ensure deep watering at least once per week.
Not mulching the blueberry bed after planting
Blueberry bushes have a shallow root system due to which roots dry out quickly if the mulching done is not thick. Do spread a layer of mulch after planting. Pine needles, sawdust and evergreen wood chips help in keeping the soil acidic. Further it helps in retaining the moisture already present in the soil.
Also it prevents weed growth or else they may suffer from competition for water and nutrients.
Having tall trees around the bushes
Make sure there are no tall trees or shrubs close to the planting site as they may block sunlight as well as may compete for soil moisture and nutrients.
Mummy Berry Fungus
Stay away from mummy berry fungus due to which fruits may shrink. If the flower clusters turn black, it indicates the disease has infested. Use fungicide to get rid of the same and remove shriveled fruit (if any) to prevent the spread.
If you’re looking to bring home some blueberry plants, there are a variety of blueberry plants for sale online such as Duke Blueberries, Jersey blueberries, Earliblue blueberries. Further, highbush blueberry cultivars such as bluecrop forms an all-purpose blueberry which is great for fresh eating, preserves, freezing and baking. Try it to see it!
Hopefully, this article helps you gain a better perspective to avoid these mistakes and venture well in growing your own blueberries. Happy planting!