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How to Plant 'Northland' Blueberries

By Richard Hoyt ; Updated September 21, 2017
"Northland" gives high yields of smaller blueberries that work especially well for jams and jellies.

“Northland” blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum “Northland”), a cross between lowbush (Vaccinium angustifolium) and highbush blueberry species (Vaccinium corymbosum), grows 4 to 5 feet tall, large enough for substantial yields of berries but small enough to fit into an urban garden. Many nurseries stock bare root or container grown "Northland" blueberry plants.

Where They Grow

Choose an area for your "Northland" blueberry in full sun with a soil pH between 4.8 and 5.2. If you plant a “Northland” on a wet site, it likely won’t survive, as it needs well-draining soil.

“Northland” blueberry grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3a through 7b. It prefers climates in the northern U.S. Standard highland blueberry grows in USDA zones 3a through 8b. Lowbush blueberry grows in USDA zones 2a through 6b.

Choosing Plants

Blueberry plants that are 3, 4, 5 or 10 years old are more expensive but yield berries two or more years sooner than 1- or 2-year-old rooted plants. Plant 1- or 2-year-old plants in early spring. Plant blueberries 3 years old or older in early spring or in October.

If you buy a bare-root “Northland” blueberry from a nursery, prune its smaller roots. Prune its main branches by one-half. Before you plant it, soak its roots in water for about an hour. When pruning and trimming, use shears that have been wiped with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. This helps prevent the spread of disease.

If a container plant has broken dormancy and is growing green buds or shoots, keep it on a porch or in a garage until the last expected date of frost date. When you’re ready to plant it, use a hand pruner to lightly roughen the outside of its root ball.

Planting

Plant bare root or container-grown "Northland" blueberries 4 to 6 feet apart in early spring. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots, 6 to 8 inches deep. Set the plant at the same depth as it was in its container or so the crowns are 1 to 2 inches below the ground.

Fill the space around the roots with 1 part soil and 1 part compost. Tamp the soil to remove air pockets. Water the area around the blueberry thoroughly. Prune away branches that touch the ground or broken branches. Apply a 2-foot-wide band of 4-inch-deep of wood chips around the stem, but don't allow the mulch to touch the stem.

Fertilizing and Watering

Do not fertilize a “Northland” blueberry when you plant it. Four weeks after planting, apply 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of water-soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer for each 10 feet of row at least 6 inches from the stems. Water well after application. Give the "Northland" blueberry 1 to 2 inches of water a week using a soaker hose from spring through fall, while it's actively growing.