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The Fertilizer for Blueberry Bushes

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The Fertilizer for Blueberry Bushes

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Overview

Blueberry plants are native to North America. The plants can be grown in a small space and will yield nutrient-rich fruit for summertime treats. They can be canned, dried or frozen for winter use in desserts and baked goods. Each type of plant or cultivar has a period of two to five weeks of berry production. Proper fertilizer and soil additives are crucial to produce a good yield in that short period. Healthy, established blueberry bushes will live for 50 years when well maintained.

Test the Soil

The pH level of the soil must be 4.5-5.5 for the best blueberry plant growth. It can take 6 months to amend the soil to correct the pH level before planting blueberry plants. Ideally the soil should be tested one year prior to planting the blueberry bed. Add 1 to 2 pounds of granular sulfur to lower the pH in a 100-square-foot area.

Year One

During April of the planting year, incorporate 1 oz. of ammonium sulfate or 2-3 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100-square-foot area. Nitrogen is integral to the health of the blueberry plant. Add nitrogen fertilizer in early June and late July. Each feeding should be sprinkled 10 to 18 inches away from the individual plant. Use caution to keep the fertilizer away from the plant crown or stems to prevent burns.

Year Two

Evenly spread 0.25 oz. per plant or 1 to 1.5 pounds per 100 square feet of ammonium sulfate fertilizer covering the area of soil under each plant. Fertilize in April, May or when blossoms set and again in June of the second year. Keep the fertilizer at least 10 inches from each plant. Be sure that the fertilizer is spread out around the drip zone (where the branches reach to). Soil that is heavy, such as clay, can be fertilized with Osmocote Plus 15-19-12, applied in 2-oz. measures per plant once a month.

Maintenance

The pH of the soil in the blueberry bed should be tested every two years, especially if the plants are showing poor growth. Adjust the pH level to maintain the 4.5-5.5 level. Fertilize the plants with 1-to-1.5 pounds ammonium sulfate or 2-to-3 pounds 10-10-10 fertilizer for 100 square feet each year. Amend the soil with 2-to-3 oz. ferrous sulfate or iron chelate per blueberry plant if the leaves are turning yellow.

Mulch

Organic mulch adds nutrients to the soil of the blueberry bed. Maintain a 2-to-3-inch depth of sawdust, pine straw or peat moss throughout the year.

Warning

Insufficient levels of nitrogen will cause the blueberry plant to become stunted. The leaves will yellow, then turn red and die.

Keywords: blueberry bushes, growing blueberries, blueberry plant care

About this Author

Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written online content for Demand Studios and Associated Content. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Children's Literature course in 1988.