Blueberries are one of the few fruits native to the United States. Blueberry growers in Kansas will find it necessary to do a lot of preparation in order for this bush to thrive here. The best fruit will be produced from carefully planned fields and plants that receive regular water, mulching and pruning. When farmers provide the proper conditions for their bushes and carefully maintain them once planted, these bushes will produce fresh juicy blueberries for many years.
Prepare the Site
Choose a site for the blueberry field that has full sunlight from morning through early afternoon. Select a site that has a tree line on the south edge of the field to provide afternoon sun and wind protection, if possible. Avoid low-lying areas that may collect standing water.
Have a soil test performed by your local county extension office. Add the amount of sulfur recommended by this soil test to bring the pH of the soil down to around 5.5. Till the soil to a depth of around six inches with a tractor that has a disk attachment in order to allow the sulfur concentrate to evenly penetrate the soil.
Add an organic matter such as manure or compost to the area. Spread a three- to four-inch-thick layer of this material on top of the soil using a spreader, which is a piece of equipment designed to distribute organic material.
Till the blueberry field with a tractor that has a disk attachment. Plow the field to a depth of 10 to 12 inches in order to thoroughly mix the manure and soil together. Work up and down the field, overlapping the previous tilling by a width of two to three feet each time.
Choose a variety of blueberry bush that will do well in Kansas. Select from varieties such as Bluecrop, Colville, Jersey, Herbert or Blueray. Plant more than one variety in your blueberry field for optimum pollination.
Dig a hole for the blueberry bush that is around six inches wide and two to four inches deep with a round tipped garden spade. Remove excess soil from the root ball by kneading with your hands. Place the plant into the hole with the roots spread wide, and cover with dirt one to two inches higher than the root ball.
Plant blueberry bushes five to six feet apart in rows that are 12 to 20 feet long. Allow eight to 10 feet of space between each row of blueberry bushes to allow them plenty of room to spread and for access of farm equipment.
Water the blueberry bushes with a water hose that has a spray attachment. Direct the spray toward the base of the plant with the sprayer. Water the soil in a two-foot radius of the new plant until it is very moist and no longer crumbles when picked up by hand.
Mulch the blueberry plants with a layer of sawdust, tree bark, shredded leaves, grass clippings or pine straw. Add a two- to four-inch-thick layer of this material to the rows of new plants.