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Photo: Blueberry

Photo: Blueberry

General description

Best grown in acidic (pH of 4.8 to 5.2), organically rich, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Shallow, fibrous roots need constant moisture and good drainage. Plants appreciate a good organic mulch. Although blueberries are self-fertile, cross-pollination produces the best fruit crop (larger berries and larger yields). If grown for fruit production, there are many excellent cultivars which should be considered rather than the straight species. Best to remove flowers from plants in the year of planting and in the following year so as to prevent fruit set and to encourage new vegetative growth. Prune as needed in late winter beginning in the third year after planting.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Highbush blueberry is native to the eastern North America where it grows in moist woods, bogs, swamps and low areas. This species is the parent of the many cultivated highbush varieties that are grown for both commercial and home fruit production. It is an upright, deciduous shrub that typically grows 5-8' (less frequently to 12') tall. Dainty, waxy, bell-shaped, white flowers appear in May. Flowers are followed by medium blue blueberries which ripen in summer. Ovate, dark green leaves (to 3.5" long) turn attractive shades of red and purple in fall. Reddish stems can be attractive in winter.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Birds love the fruit, so plants may need to be covered with netting as the fruit begins to ripen in order to protect the crop. Chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) may occur in high pH soils. Potential but infrequent disease problems include stem blight, root rot, anthracnose, cane cankers, mildew and botrytis.

Garden Uses

This versatile shrub has excellent ornamental value separate and apart from the fruit crop: white spring flowers, dark green summer foliage, red fall color and reddish winter stems. Effective in shrub borders or as part of less formal shrub plantings such as in native plant gardens or open woodland areas. Particularly effective in conjunction with rhododendrons and azaleas which share similar acidic soil requirements. Also makes an excellent hedge with the added benefits of summer fruit which can be harvested or left for the birds.

Plants put in large pots with peat and fertilized with acidic fertilizer (avacado & citrus)

Maintenance

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Practical use

When in production we pick close to a gallon every other day of blueberries from 8 plants.  When plants become too large, pry out of pot and split into 2 or 3 pots, then share with friends and neighbors

Properties

Height
150 - 250 cm
PH
Acid
Hardiness
Hardy