How to Care for Wild Low Bush Blueberries

Overview

Wild lowbush blueberry plants are hardy in zones 3-6, and generally grow no taller than 18-inches. Spread by shoots from underground runners, these low matting bushes offer the best fruit production on a two year cycle; one year of growth followed by a year of fruiting. Lowbush blueberries are self pollinating, but your production will be improved if you plant other varieties of blueberries in close proximity.

Step 1

Select a planting site for your wild blueberries that enjoys full sun and that has few to no nearby trees and plants. Blueberries have shallow root systems and do not grow well in competition with other large rooted trees, weeds and plants.

Step 2

Begin conditioning your soil the year before you plant lowbush blueberries. The best soil pH levels or growing blueberries is between 4.0 and 5.0. Test the pH levels of your soil and add sulphur or 4 to 6 inches of acid peat moss to bring down the pH as needed. Mix the additives into the first 6 to 8 inches of topsoil. Mix in a layer of organic compost for added nutrients.

Step 3

Plant wild lowbush blueberries in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. Place the plants 1 to 3 feet apart in rows that are 3 to 4 feet apart.

Step 4

Add a 3-inch layer of wood chip, oak leaf, sawdust or shredded bark mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and to help maintain soil acidity.

Step 5

Make sure your wild blueberries receive at least 1-inch of water each week. The best water to use is rainwater or saved rainwater as tap water will increase the pH of the soil to unacceptable levels.

Step 6

Fertilize the blueberry bushes in the spring with organic azalea fertilizer or other fertilizer that's formulated for acid loving plants.

Step 7

Remove all of the blossoms that appear during the first season. This will help your blueberries become established and will provide a better harvest during the second year.

Step 8

Protect your wild blueberries from birds with bird netting. You can drape netting over each individual plant, but your plants will have better protection if you build a wooden frame and drape netting over all of the bushes.

Step 9

Mow your lowbush blueberries to the ground after harvesting. This pruning method is the simplest way to remove dead material from your low growing bushes, but it also means that you'll only have fruit from these bushes every other year. If you plant wild blueberries two successive years, you'll have fruit every year, beginning with the second season for each plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil tester
  • Organic compost
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer
  • Bird netting
  • Lawn mower

References

  • About Blueberries

Who Can Help

  • About Lowbush Blueberries
Keywords: lowbush blueberries, caring for blueberries, wild blueberries

About this Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.