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How to Care for Bluejay Blueberry Shrubs

By Sarah Terry ; Updated September 21, 2017

The Bluejay blueberry shrub (Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Bluejay’) is a “highbush” blueberry variety that produces a heavy crop of large, sweet blueberries in mid-season. This blueberry variety blooms during spring in clusters of small white flowers that are waxy and bell-shaped. Vigorously growing and preferring acidic soils, these blueberry shrubs grow best in fertile, organic soils that are moist but well-draining. Bluejay blueberries are hardy down to -20 degrees F and are also resistant to mummy berry disease.

Water Bluejay blueberry bushes slowly and deeply to provide 1 to 2 inches of water per week when rainfall is inadequate. A soaker hose or drip irrigation system is best for delivering water to blueberry shrubs. Don’t water the blueberry bushes after early September unless conditions are extremely dry or drought-like.

Keep a 4-inch-thick layer of organic mulch on the ground around Bluejay blueberry shrubs to control weeds and preserve soil moisture.

Feed Bluejay blueberry shrubs with 2 to 3 lbs. of 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer per 100 feet of row each year. Divide the applications into half at bloom time and half four to six weeks later.

Prune Bluejay blueberry shrubs once each year in late winter to remove all weak and dead branches, as well as any branches that are thinner than a pencil, old and nonfruiting, and crowded. Begin pruning in the third year after planting it.

Harvest Bluejay blueberries once every five days during mid-summer, when the blueberries turn deep-blue in color. Pick off the ripe blueberries by gently twisting them between your thumb and index finger.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Soaker hose or drip irrigation system
  • Organic mulch
  • 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

Tips

  • Remove the flowers from Bluejay blueberry shrubs during the first two years after planting to encourage vigorous vegetative growth instead of early fruit production.
  • When you're preparing to plant Bluejay blueberry bushes, it's best to have your soil pH tested by submitting a sample to your local agricultural extension office. Bluejay blueberry bushes require a soil pH of 4.8 to 5.2 (acidic), so you may need to amend your soil with sulfur or ammonium sulfate.

Warning

  • Always plant more than one variety of blueberry shrub to ensure good cross-pollination and fruit production. Also, be careful if you hoe around Bluejay blueberry bushes to remove weeds, because they have very shallow and easily damaged root systems.

About the Author

 

Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.