How to Plant & Care for Blueberry Bushes

Overview

The blueberry bush is a perennial fruiting plant that produces a sweet, blue-colored berry that is eaten fresh or used for jellies and baking. Blueberry bushes will grow in USDA growing zones 4 and higher where the winter temperature does not drop below -20 degrees F. The bushes grow to a height of 4 to 6 feet and width of 3 to 4 feet, however dwarf varieties are available.

Step 1

Dig a hole that is 18 inches wide and deep. Mix compost with top soil and fill into the bottom of the hole. Set the plant in the hole and cover with the remaining mixture. Set plants 5 feet apart in rows that are 10 feet apart.

Step 2

Water the bushes thoroughly after planting. Continue to water the blueberry bushes with 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Increase the watering amount during periods of dry weather. Discontinue watering in September unless the soil is extremely dry.

Step 3

Apply a 4-inch layer of mulch that reaches 2 feet from the bush after planting. Maintain this thickness of mulch as the blueberry bush has a shallow root system and benefits from the moisture retention. Use mulch that has a high acidic pH, such as pine bark or sawdust.

Step 4

Apply ammonium sulfate fertilizer four weeks after planting. Apply fertilizer on a yearly basis to stimulate fertility and acidity in the plant. Do not apply fertilizer within 6 inches of the plant.

Step 5

Prune blueberry bushes after the first three years of growth. Remove blossoms in the first and second years of growth to stimulate plant growth over fruit production. Prune dormant plants in the fourth growing season by removing weak and dead branches and terminal woods that have small buds.

Step 6

Harvest blueberries by hand, picking them once per week. Gently roll the berries between the thumb and pointer finger to remove them from the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Ammonium sulfate fertilizer
  • Hand pruner

References

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

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.