Three Tips for Growing Blueberries
There is a strong case to be made for growing blueberries in a home garden. The bushes are similar in stature to common ornamental bushes, like rhododendrons, but they offer much more of a payoff for the space that they occupy. Here are 3 tips for successfully growing blueberries.
Tip 1 for growing blueberries
Blueberry bushes require "very acidic soil", according to the Ohio State University Extension Service. Moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 4.5-5.0 is ideal for blueberries. Before planting blueberry bushes, you'll need to have your soil analyzed to find out its pH, and which nutrients need to be added to it. Many university extension services offer soil testing. You may need to add organic matter (like compost) to the soil. Also, you'll need to maintain the soil throughout the year to ensure optimal growth of your blueberry bushes.
Tip 2 for growing blueberries
Watering blueberry bushes properly is critical for growth and good formation of berries. You'll need to deliver one to two inches of water per week to your blueberry bushes. Even after the harvest during late August and September, watering the bushes will promote growth of the following year's crop. In late fall, once the bush's leaves drop, you can stop providing supplemental water. During the growing season, the best way to water blueberry bushes is with soaker hoses, which deliver water right to the roots.
Tip 3 for growing blueberries
Pruning and mulching your blueberry bushes help them live longer, grow bigger, and produce more fruit. We'll start with pruning. Blueberry bushes do not need to be pruned until March of their fourth year of growth. Remove dead branches, dormant branches, and interior cross branches that block light from reaching the interior of the bush. Now, on to mulch: Since blueberry bushes like nutrient-dense, moist soil, mulching is important. Keep the mulch at a constant two to four inches in depth. Wood chips and peat moss are fine mulches for blueberry bushes.
Benefits of growing blueberry bushes
Blueberry bushes provide necessary food for pollinators. Since honeybee populations are on the decline in most of the USA, it is helpful for homeowners to create bee-friendly landscaping in order to bolster local bee populations.
Blueberries are extremely nutritious, not to mention tasty.
In season for a short time, blueberries tend to be expensive in the markets. Blueberry bushes can provide you with an ample supply of fruit during their growing season, as well as extra to freeze or can for the winter.
With a bit of care, you can grow blueberries in your yard, and enjoy the bushes for years to come.
One last tip: If birds are eating up your blueberries, netting can help to protect the bushes.
Consult a professional landscaper for help with your gardening projects.
Chaya Kurtz writes for Networx.com.
Updated January 14, 2018.