Blueberries

BLUEBERRIES:
Latin Name:
Vaccinium corymbosum
Initial Instructions: After unpacking, allow the plant a few days to gradually acclimate to full-sun exposure. Dig a hole approximately 2 1/2 feet around and 1 foot deep. Replace about 1/3-1/2 of the soil from the hole with moistened peat moss and mix well. Lightly roughen the outside of the plant’s root ball and position the plant so the root ball is slightly higher than ground level, mounding the soil well. Water thoroughly. Mulch with a 2-4 inch layer of straw, sawdust or wood shavings (not cedar). The mulch helps retain moisture, keeps the roots cool and suppresses weeds. For the first feeding, fertilize lightly once the plants have become established or in late spring. Use an acid fertilizer, our Acid Mix works well, or rhododendron/azalea fertilizer. We recommend removing the first year’s blossoms as they appear. This diverts the plant’s energy and allows it to establish a strong root system.
Cultivation: Water regularly during the first growing season, but do not allow the soil to become soggy. Fertilize in early spring and once again in late spring. Blueberries are very sensitive to over-fertilization, so be conservative! Always water well after fertilizing. Organic fertilizers, blood meal and cottonseed meal work well. Avoid using manures. After the leaves have dropped in the fall, prune the blueberry bushes. Remove any dead wood, blotchy-colored branches and the very low growth at the base. Thin out lateral and small, weak branches until you have removed a total of about 1/3-1/2 of the wood.
Size at Maturity: Blueberries: up to 8 feet tall depending on variety.
Spacing: 4 to 6 feet
Pollination: Blueberries are partially self-fertile, but will produce much heavier yields when cross-pollinated with a different blueberry variety.
Pests & Diseases: Cover plants with Bird Block Netting if birds are a problem, otherwise blueberries are seldom bothered by pests.
Soil Type: Blueberries prefer slightly acidic (4.0-5.5 pH), well draining soil rich in organic matter. Peat moss, sawdust and composted oak leaves are good amendments to add humus and lower the pH of the soil.
Light Requirements: Blueberries prefer full sun.
Bearing Age: Second year after planting.
Ripening Time: Late June to late August depending on blueberry variety.
USDA Zone: 3-10 depending on variety.