How to Plant Blueberry Bushes in North Georgia

Overview

Blueberry plants are long-lived perennials that produce a vitamin-rich berry during the summer growing season. The soil in North Georgia is predominately a heavy clay piedmont soil and requires amending to loosen the texture. The rabbiteye species of blueberry grows best in North Georgia and is available in early-, mid- and late-summer ripening varieties. Plant the northern highbush variety in areas that are prone to late spring frost as this variety blossoms later than rabbiteye.

Step 1

Choose a planting area for the blueberry bushes. The area needs a well-draining soil and full sunlight for at least six hours each day. Plant blueberries once the soil can be worked in early spring, which typically is March in North Georgia.

Step 2

Contact your county University of Georgia Extension office to have a complete soil test on the planting area. The results of the test will give recommendations for soil amendments needed for drainage, nutrients and pH. Most soil in North Georgia is heavy clay and requires amendment before planting blueberry bushes.

Step 3

Amend the soil based on the results of the soil test. Typical amendments include adding organic matter to loosen the soil and increase the nutrient value, and ground rock sulfur to lower the pH number.

Step 4

Dig a planting hole that is twice as wide as and slightly deeper than the blueberry bush root ball. Add 2 to 3 inches of peat moss or compost to the bottom of the hole and set the blueberry root ball on top. Set the plant so the root ball is just below the soil surface.

Step 5

Fill half the planting hole with soil and compact the soil by filling the open area with water. Let the water absorb into the surrounding soil and fill the remaining area with soil. Gently pack the soil and apply a generous amount of water to eliminate air pockets around the root ball.

Step 6

Cut back the blueberry plant to one-third the size. This will allow the plant to use energy reserves for root establishment and stimulate healthy branch growth.

Step 7

Remove blossoms that sprout on the plant during the first two growing season. This will force energy into branch growth to increase the amount of berries produced in the third growing season.

Step 8

Place a 3- to 4-inch layer of bark or sawdust mulch around the plant, leaving a 2- to 3-inch gap between the start of the mulch and stem of the plant.

Step 9

Provide supplemental water to the blueberry bushes when the weekly rainfall is less than 1 inch. North Georgia receives 50 to 60 inches of rainfall each year, which is generally adequate for blueberry plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test
  • Ground rock sulfur
  • Organic compost
  • Tiller
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Pruning clipper
  • Mulch
  • High acid fertilizer
  • Bird netting

References

  • University of Georgia: Home Garden Blueberries
  • Smallfruits.org: Suggestions for Organic Blueberry Production in Georgia
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: Blueberries

Who Can Help

  • National Weather Service: What's Typical in North and Central Georgia?
Keywords: blueberries north Georgia, plant blueberries Georgia, grow blueberries Georgia

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.