How to Plant a Small Blueberry Bush

Overview

Blueberries are a woody perennial that produce 1/2 to 3/4-inch berries in early to mid-summer. Blueberry bushes are available for purchase as either bare root or container grown and tend to be small at the time of planting. Some people considered blueberry bushes high maintenance, as they do not grow and produce well if the soil pH is not amended and maintained at an acidic level. Blueberry plants have a fragile and shallow root system that is susceptible to over watering and damage from yard tools.

Step 1

Select a planting area that receives direct sun for at least six to eight hours each day and has a well-draining soil. Work 3 to 4 inches of organic compost into the planting area to a depth of 8 to 10 inches with a tiller.

Step 2

Test the soil pH, as blueberry plants grow best in a pH of 4.8 to 5.2. Work ground rock sulfur into the soil two weeks before planting to lower the pH number. Water the soil well after making amendments.

Step 3

Soak bare root blueberry plants for two hours in a bucket of water to hydrate and plump the roots. Dig a planting hole that is the same depth and two to three times the width of the root mass. Remove the plant from the container it came in or the soaking bucket and set it in the hole. Gently spread the roots when planting bare root blueberry bushes.

Step 4

Mix equal portions of organic compost into the soil removed from the planting hole. Gently pack the soil around the roots, and fill the hole. Water the soil well after planting to compact the soil and eliminate air pockets.

Step 5

Apply a 2-inch layer of bark mulch around the blueberry plants to assist with moisture retention. Refresh the mulch each year for maintenance. Pull weeds that pop through the mulch, as they will compete with soil moisture and nutrients.

Step 6

Provide 1 to 2 inches of supplemental water to the blueberry bushes each week during the spring and summer growing season. Do not over saturate the soil, as this will promote root rot.

Step 7

Fertilize the plants each spring, starting in the second year of growth, by applying a 5-10-10 fertilizer. Apply a high nitrogen fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate, in early spring if the soil pH is high.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost
  • Tiller
  • Soil pH test
  • Ground rock sulfur
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Bark mulch
  • 5-10-10 fertilizer
  • Ammonium sulfate
  • Bird netting

References

  • North Carolina State University: Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden
  • Michigan State University: Hints on Growing Blueberries
  • National Sustainable Agriculture: Blueberries: Organic Production
Keywords: plant small blueberries, plant blueberry bush, grow blueberries

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.