Planting & Fertilization
Highbush blueberries are self-fertile;
Southern Highbush blueberries will
produce better crops if more than one variety is planted. Space plants
approximately 4 feet apart.
Blueberries demand just
the right climate and planting soil, but take very little care if you
provide them; the conditions they
Like their cousins rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel,
and huckleberries, blueberries like soft rich soil which is rich in organic
matter, very acid, and extremely well-drained. Blueberries require 800
chilling hours for proper dormancy (perfect for our area!).
When planting, add plenty of compost or peat moss, but be sparing with manures which are alkaline. Select a sight in the yard which will give your new plant
some afternoon shade, which is critical in good fruit production (hot, dry
afternoon winds may cause thick-skinned, shriveled small berries). Dig
your planting hole slightly wider and deeper than the nursery pot and check
for drainage by filling the hole with water. If the hole drains in a
short amount of time, 1-2 hours, your new blueberry will be happy. Blueberries need constant moisture but will not live if their roots are
standing in water.
Once planted, try not to cultivate around these
plants; their shallow roots are easily damaged. Consider mulching at a
depth of 2-4 inches which will aid in moisture retention. Compost or
bark products work well. Peat moss dries too quickly in our arid
climate and will blow away too readily.
Blueberries will benefit
from regular feedings. Commercial fertilizers with an acid base will
be of greatest benefit.
Master Nursery Camelia, Azalea and Gardenia
Food is an excellent granular fertilizer which may be applied 3-4 times
yearly. Acid base water soluble fertilizers may be applied
semi-monthly from April 15 through August 15 in lieu of granular mixes. Master Nursery Master Gro Acid Food, Peters Acid Food and Stern’s Miracid
are all good choices.
For the most efficient
pruning, plan to prune when your blueberry bush is dormant—anytime from late
November through late February.
Blueberry pruning is simple—you don’t
have to be too precise. Leave the plants basically alone for 2 or 3
seasons, except for broken or damaged branches. Then, about the 4th
season, when heavy crops of small berries occur, remove some of the oldest
canes and clip out the weakest twigs. For largest berries, clip off
the outer third to half of the fruiting twigs you retain. If you never prune you
will still get fruit, but it will be small and eventually decline in
Pests and Disease
Blueberries suffer from
few difficulties. You may wish to spray in winter with a dormant oil
and dormant disease combination spray to kill any overwintering insect or
fungus spores. Birds will be your biggest challenge; consider placing
bird netting over the shrubs as the berries begin to ripen.
Taste testing is truly
the most accurate measure of ripeness.
Blueberries tend to be a bit
tart up until harvest.Due to the uncertainty of wholesale grower stock,
trucking, and weather, all varieties will not be available at all times. Although we do have the ability to special order some stock, we make no
guarantee of its arrival and cheerfully encourage alternate selections.
These may reach an
overall height of 4-6 feet, depending on variety.
Earliblue: One of the best for all areas. Berry is large, light blue, firm.
keeps well and resists cracking.
Plants are upright.
Large, bright blue berry with outstanding dessert flavor.
stunning pink flowers and burgundy red in fall.Upright growth to 4-6
feet. Performs well in areas with hot summers or very cold winters.
Ripens early to mid-season.
Berkeley Medium to large berries. Powder blue, firm with slight aroma, less
acid than most Vigorous, spreading to 5-6 feet.
value with brilliant autumn color and yellow twigs in winter. Ripens
mid to late season.
Bluecrop Considered the best for consistent yields. Large, bright blue berries,
good dessert quality. Upright bush to 4-6 feet. Excellent
ornamental value with fiery red fall color. Ripens mid-season.
Chandler Largest berry, longest ripening season.Ripens mid
late season.< Slightly
spreading habit to 5/6’. (850-1000 hours)
Darrow Slightly flat, light blue, with a delightful tart flavor. “Blue
ribbon” size berries.
Vigorous growth to 5/6’. Orange
fall color.Ripens late season.
Ivanhoe Large, light blue, firm berry.
Tall, open shrub. Ripens early.
Northland Medium size, round, moderately firm, and medium blue. Flavor is good.
Spreading plant to 4 feet. Ripens early.
Olympia Medium sized dark blue fruit is perfect for muffins & pancakes.
Pleasant aroma & spicy flavor. Easy to grow- bright red fall color.
Semi-self-fertile varieties. Choose 2 varieties for better
Cape Fear Very large fruit, sometimes covering a quarter Light blue with
excellent firmness and mild flavor. Ripens early to mid-season.
Georgia Gem Medium sized fruit with excellent flavor and quality.
Upright bush to
5-6 feet. Ripens early to mid-season.
O’Neal Large, light blue, very
sweet fruit of terrific quality.
Best flavor of the southern highbush. Upright to 6 feet. Ripens early
(300-400 hours) Self-fertile.
Sierra Northern and southern highbush hybrid. Distinctively flat,
quarter-sized berries borne in clusters. Moderate producer.
Adaptable to many soil types. Ripens mid-season.
Half-High Varieties Bred for cold hardiness
and compact shape with an average size of 3 feet, depending on variety.
Northsky Small to medium, light blue fruit. Excellent wild blueberry flavor
that is superior to most highbush varieties. Red fall color
Northcountry Medium size sky blue fruit with a mild and sweet wild blueberry flavor.
Plump, sweet, and firm navy blue fruit. Very good quality with a wild
blueberry flavor. With refrigeration will store well. Red fall color.