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How to Feed Blueberry Bushes

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How to Feed Blueberry Bushes

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Overview

Everybody loves blueberries. The fruit is high in vitamins and antioxidants, and it can be made into delicious jams, jellies, pies and more. Blueberries can also be canned, dried or frozen. Blueberries aren't for every garden. Unlike many other garden plants, blueberries require a low soil pH, and they grow best near or under pine trees where the soil is more acidic. Blueberries generally don't need much fertilizer, but you may need to amend your soil to get the proper level of acidity.

Step 1

Test your soil before planting blueberries to find out what the natural pH level is. Blueberries perform best with a soil pH of about 4.8. If your soil pH is too high, apply wettable sulphur according to package instructions, wait three to four months, then test the soil again. You can also add peat moss or pine sawdust to the soil to lower the pH. Blueberries will thrive more if the soil is well-balanced from the start.

Step 2

Read any planting instructions that came with your blueberry plants. Different varieties have different fertilizer requirements.

Step 3

Install a layer of mulch three to four inches thick around your newly planted blueberry bushes. Acidic mulches such as peat moss, bark or pine needles will help maintain a low soil pH, although you may also use straw or hay as a mulch if your soil is naturally acidic.

Step 4

Apply fertilizer about a month after planting your blueberry bushes, or as soon as the leaves have reached their full size. Use a complete fertilizer (10-10-10) or organic compost.

Step 5

Consider applying an acid-producing fertilizer, such as azalea fertilizer, once a year if you continually need to lower the soil pH.

Step 6

Water your blueberries regularly throughout the growing season. Blueberries need at least an inch of water every week.

Things You'll Need

  • Blueberry bushes
  • Wettable sulphur
  • Peat moss
  • Acidic mulch
  • Acid producing fertilizer

References

  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden
  • University of Maine Extension: Growing Highbush Blueberries
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Blueberries for Home Landscapes
Keywords: fertilizing blueberries, acidic soil, blueberry soil pH, peat moss, caring for blueberries

About this Author

Sonya Welter graduated cum laude from Northland College in 2002, and has worked in the natural foods industry for nearly seven years. As a freelance writer, she specializes in food, health, nature, gardening and green living. She has been published on Ecovian.com, LIVESTRONG.com and several local print publications in Duluth, Minn.