Vaccinium corymbosum Famous for eating fresh, canning, and freezing, or as a beautiful landscape shrub. Blueberries provide flowers in the spring, colorful berries, good foliage, and striking autumn color. Plants reach maturity in 5-6 seasons and produce 5-10 pounds of fruit annually. Most blueberries need at least 800 hours of temperatures below 45°F during the dormant season. Call your local county extension agent for information about your area. Harvest from late June through late August, depending on the variety. For optimum pollination, choose separate varieties with the same or overlapping harvest windows.
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.
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.
Pests & Diseases
Cover plants with Birdblock Protective Netting if birds are a problem, otherwise blueberries are seldom bothered by pests.
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.
Blueberries prefer full sun.