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How to Plant & Care for Huckleberry Bushes

Bush of a bilberry image by Maslov Dmitry from Fotolia.com

Huckleberry bushes are berry bushes that grow to about the size of a bell pepper plant. Huckleberries are suitable for cultivation in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 3 through 7. Huckleberry bushes grow well in full sun but are also tolerant of moderate shade. Huckleberries are green when immature and black when mature. Huckleberries have a flavor similar to a bitter tomato and are often made into sweet pies and jams. Because huckleberries are native to many parts of the country, such as the Pacific Northwest, you can sometimes use wild huckleberry patches as a source of bushes for your patch.

Prepare your huckleberry patch in the spring after the risk of frost has passed. Prepare the soil by turning over 12 to 18 inches of soil with a shovel.

  • Huckleberry bushes are berry bushes that grow to about the size of a bell pepper plant.
  • Huckleberries have a flavor similar to a bitter tomato and are often made into sweet pies and jams.

Add a 2 inches of compost to the turned soil and work the compost into the soil as you break up soil clumps. Break up the soil with your shovel and with a hoe. As the soil breaks up, use the rake to reduce the larger clumps down to the size of a pea.

Dig holes 18 to 24 inches apart for your bushes. If you are planting nursery stock, dig the holes a uniform size slightly larger than the root balls of the huckleberry bushes. If you are transplanting wild or donor bushes from a friend’s patch, dig the holes to match the actual size of the root balls.

Plant your huckleberry plants in the holes and mulch the patch to discourage weed growth and to help hold moisture in the soil.

  • Add a 2 inches of compost to the turned soil and work the compost into the soil as you break up soil clumps.
  • If you are transplanting wild or donor bushes from a friend’s patch, dig the holes to match the actual size of the root balls.

Water your patch thoroughly. Water the plants with a couple of inches a week and care for them like tomatoes or peppers until established. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Tip

Huckleberries grow well in sandy or rocky soil and prefer soils with a high pH level.

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