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How to Plant Blueberry Bushes in Georgia

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Georgia is the fifth largest producer of blueberries in the U.S.

Blueberry bushes do so well in Georgia that by the time the plant is six years old, it will provide as much as 2 gallons of fruit per plant. The yield increases each year after that. Horticulturists at the University of Georgia suggest planting the rabbiteye blueberry, as it is native to the state and can tolerate the hot Georgia summers. These are not self-pollinating blueberry bushes so you will need to plant more than one variety for cross-pollination. Consider the Austin, Bluebell and Baldwin varieties. Plan to put the blueberry bushes in the ground in late winter.

Choose a planting location for the blueberry bushes that has, at a minimum, a half day of sun.

Dig into the soil to a depth of 8 inches and a width of 4 feet. Til the soil, either with a gardening fork or, if planting a large area, a rototiller. Level the soil.

Add a 3-inch layer of compost to the soil and mix it to a depth of 8 inches.

Deliver a soil sample to your county's University of Georgia cooperative extension agent for pH testing. There is a nominal fee for this service and the results will be invaluable. Blueberries grow best in a soil pH of 4.0 to 5.3. Soils with a high pH will require an application of sulfur. The extension agent can suggest which, if any, soil amendments you will need to purchase.

Add any soil amendments recommended by the soil test and mix them into the soil to a depth of 8 inches.

Remove the blueberry bushes from their pots. If the plants are pot-bound, meaning the roots are twined around in a tight ball, strike the rootball against the ground until the soil falls away and the roots are exposed. Use your fingers to loosen the rootball and spread the roots out in all directions.

Dig holes the same depth as the pot in which the blueberry plants are growing, and twice the width. Space rabbiteye blueberry plants 6 feet apart and highbush blueberries, 4 feet apart. Place the roots of the blueberry bushes into the holes and backfill with soil. Tamp around the base of the plants with your feet.

Prune the plant immediately after putting it in the ground. Remove any low growth and prune the tips of all other shoots. Remove all flower buds.

Add a 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the blueberry bush, placed at least 3 inches from the bark of the plant. Mulch will help to keep the soil moist and cool in the hot Georgia weather.

Water the blueberry bushes until the water puddles. In the summer in Georgia, keep an eye on the moisture content of the soil. You will generally need to supply the plant with 2 inches of water a week. When it is especially hot, water more frequently.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Garden fork
  • Rototiller
  • Shovel
  • Mulch

About the Author

 

Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.