Blueberries are an ideal addition to any garden, whether you want the aesthetic beauty, the culinary benefits of fresh berries or a ground cover from the fast-spreading brambles. They are easy to grow but must be maintained if you do not want them to take over your whole yard. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and delicious juice, and can be used for anything from salads to baked goods. There are some key tips to keep in mind when planting blueberry bushes.
Choose Varieties Suited to Your Area
Choose a blueberry bush type that is specific to your region, climate or soil type. You can choose varieties that ripen at different times, have seasonal colors or have larger berries or smaller berries, depending on what you want to use them for. For example, smaller berries are best for baked goods such as muffins, while larger fruit is preferred for eating fresh. For families, rely on two plants for enough fruit.
Creating the Perfect Soil
When planting blueberries, it is best to use tilled soil that is a sandy consistency. It must be well-draining with great aeration. Ideally, you can dig a large hole in the ground that is twice the width and height of the blueberry transplant and fill it in with the prepared soil. Incorporate a generous amount of peat moss into the soil during planting to add nutrients. It is important to make sure the soil for blueberry plants has a pH of 4.0 to 5.0, this will ensure that the plant will thrive. You can obtain pH soil testing kits from your local gardening store.
Picking a Planting Site
Your planting site must be in full sun and in an area where there are not other plants around. This is because blueberry bushes have root systems that spread out right underneath the soil. The hole must be twice the width and depth of the root ball. When planting multiple blueberry plants, space them at least 6 to 8 feet apart, and pack the soil firmly around the roots.
Blueberry bushes can spread easily and quickly, so unless you want them to overtake your garden or planting area you should control the growth. There are a couple ways to do this. You can plant the bush in a pot to keep the roots contained. Pruning is also very important when it comes to this, and you can do it consistently to control the plant. Not only does pruning encourage fruit production, it will keep them looking attractive and deter overbearing. For young plants, cut back dead, dying, weak or very aggressive branches and shoots (aggressive is in regard to a branch wrapping around others or crowding). As the plant matures each year, cut back 1/3 of the oldest shoots annually. Prune in late winter or early spring before growth begins, or else prune the aggressive or dead shoots at any time of year.