How To Grow Blueberries
There is a trend that keeps on rising and it's growing your own produce in your backyard. People feel a sense of confidence knowing that they produce their own fruits. Growing blueberries fit in with organic gardening due to the seldom use of pesticides to control bugs. Blueberries are a popular choice in home gardening, as long as you know how to grow them. Blueberries grow in zones ranging from three to ten. These plants have bright green leaves and little white flowers in the spring season then turn a reddish-orange color in the fall.
Where To Plant Blueberries
The biggest problem people have is their planting location. If you have the correct plant location it will assure you blueberry crops for years to come. Blueberries require a full sun location, but can grow in as low as fifty percent shade. However, they produce a higher yield of blueberries in full sun than in a part shade location. Once you find the best planting location its time to do a soil test. Blueberries need a lower pH than other common fruit crops. The pH needs to be at or around 5.0 for proper plant growth. To lower the ph you would need to purchase a bag of sulfur. Then follow the directions and application rates on the bag to lower your pH level. Recheck the pH every couple of years and make adjustments if needed. Also soil amendments such as adding peat moss to your backfill soil when planting will help improve plant growth. Blueberry plants also need good soil drainage, so avoid any low-lying areas for blueberries. When your ready to plant make sure you plant the root ball about a inch above the soil level to help with better drainage.
How To Care For Blueberries
Watering during the first year is crucial for plant survival. To avoid a shallow root system and root rot do not water every day but every other day to promote a stronger root system. Apply a layer of mulch to maintain soil moisture. Mulch also helps control unwanted weed growth around the plants. Fertilization of blueberries is best when the leaves have started to break in early spring and fertilize with a basic, low, straight analysis fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Be careful not to over fertilize blueberries, due to being damaged easily from excess fertilizer. Light pruning will not be necessary the first few years except removing any damaged or diseased growth. When the plant gets older and more mature size, you only need twelve inches of new growth for optimal balance of plant size and yield. Any additional growth needs to be trimmed to keep plants from growing too large. Here are a few excellent varieties that grow well here in the Midwest.
Popular Types Of Blueberries
Blueberry Bluecrop, is one of our most popular varieties, it has a light blue medium size fruit and produces heavy yields of blueberries. Bluecrop blueberries will ripen mid season and have consistent yields. This plant is hardy in zones four to eight and grows five to six feet tall and three to four feet wide.
Blueberry Darrow, has dark blue large blueberries and is great for eating right from the plant. Darrow blueberries will ripen mid to late season. This plant is hardy in zones five to seven and grows four to five feet tall and three to four feet wide.
Blueberry Blueray, is a heavy producer of sweet, large, light blue berries. Blueray blueberries will ripen midseason. This plant is hardy in zones four to seven. They will grow five to six feet tall and four feet wide.
Blueberries are self-fertile; however planting more than one variety produces a better fruit crop. One of the biggest pest problems you will have is from birds. Be sure to plant enough to share or find some netting to protect your plants.