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How to Feed Blueberry Bushes

By Heidi Almond ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

 

Things You Will Need

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

Tips

  • Be stingy with your fertilizer. Over-fertilization can cause blueberries to put out too much spindly new growth and become leggy and overgrown.
  • Blueberries should only be fertilized in the early spring, and one or two applications is usually enough. Fertilizing in the autumn can cause new growth to form, which may get damaged by the snow and cold of winter.

About the Author

 

Heidi Almond worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn. In 2002 Almond graduated cum laude from an environmental liberal arts college with a concentration in writing.