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How to Raise Blueberry Bushes

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How to Raise Blueberry Bushes

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Overview

The blueberry plant is a flowering fruit bush that is native to North America. The state of Maine is the largest producer of blueberries in the world, producing 25 percent of all blueberries harvested. They are relatively easy to grow, high in vitamin C and can be used in a wide variety of foods, such as pies, jams and jellies. Once it has matured, a blueberry plant can be expected to produce approximately eight quarts of berries.

Step 1

Test and prepare the soil at least two weeks before planting blueberry bushes. You may need to add peat moss or manure compost that will help the soil retain moisture. Blueberry bushes like a pH anywhere from 4.0 to 5.2. If the soil pH is too low you can add a small amount of limestone; if it is too high, adding a nitrogen fertilizer will bring the pH down. Follow the directions on the packaging for the size of your planting site.

Step 2

Plant your blueberry bushes early in the spring and in full sunlight for best fruit production. Dig holes that are at least 2 inches deeper than the nursery pots the plants came in. For example, if the plants were in 4-inch pots you will need to dig holes at least 6 inches deep.

Step 3

Space each plant 6 to 8 feet apart and plant the rows 8 to 10 feet apart. Place each seedling in a hole and backfill the hole three-quarters full with an all-purpose potting soil. Water each hole until it is completely saturated. When the water drains, finish filling the holes with soil. Tamp it down by treading lightly around the plant.

Step 4

Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch on top of the soil. This will help hold moisture in the soil and deter the growth of weeds around the blueberry plants.

Step 5

Give the blueberry bushes 1 to 2 inches of water every week. They need plenty of water for maximum production and sweeter fruit. Continue to water throughout the berry season.

Step 6

Prune blueberry bushes in early spring when they are approximately four years old or going into the fourth growing season. Remove dead twigs and any spindly stems that do not look to have good fruit production. Trim away growth in the very center of the bush to let in light and air. Pruning is usually done every year after this fourth year.

Step 7

Harvest your blueberries after they have been blue on the bushes for at least a week. Fruit that has just turned blue will still be a little sour and not completely ripe. Allow the berries to ripen on the bush for best flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Blueberry seedlings
  • Water
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Limestone

References

  • Growing Blueberries
  • Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden
Keywords: growing blueberries, blueberry bush care, planting blueberries

About this Author

Melanie Hammontree has a master's in business and is working on a master's in journalism from the University of Tennessee. She is a member of the Society for Porfessional Journalists and has been writing for five years. Works include publications with Hall County Crime Examiner, Player's Press and The Gainesville Times.

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