Care of Wild Blueberry Bushes


Blueberries are one of the few truly native fruits to North America. The fruits originally grew wild across the United States. Many Midwestern Native American tribes planned their seasonal migration to pick blueberries, which they called star fruit. Blueberries can still be found growing wild in many parts of the country. Care for these blueberry bushes is similar to care for their domesticated cousins.

Step 1

Test the soil for pH levels. Add amendments to the soil, if needed, to reach a pH of 4.5 to 5.0.

Step 2

Select a site for planting the blueberries that has well-drained soil, full sun and protection from strong winds. Avoid areas that are prone to early frost.

Step 3

Break up the soil to a depth of 8 inches with a garden spade. Insert the spade into the ground vertically multiple times and work it side to side to loosen the soil. Spread amendments over the soil and blend with garden rake.

Step 4

Plant blueberry bushes in early spring. Space the plants between 5 and 7 feet apart in rows up to 10 feet apart.

Step 5

Apply a 6-inch layer of pine needles around the base of the bushes to hold in moisture and prevent grass from competing for nutrients.

Step 6

Apply a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer to your plants two weeks after planting.

Step 7

Prune away dead branches and weak, spindly growth for the first two years after planting. Prune away in the spring any cane more than 6 years old, canes that cross inside the plant, diseased canes and weak growth while the bushes are dormant to promote vigor.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Sulfur
  • Spade
  • Garden rake
  • Pine needles
  • Balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Idaho: Growing Blueberries
  • N.C. State University: Suggestions for Establishing a Blueberry Planting in Western North Carolina
  • University of Maine Extension: Growing Highbush Blueberries

Who Can Help

  • Maryland Cooperative Extension: Growing Blueberries
Keywords: wild blueberries, growing blueberies, amending soil

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."