Blueberries: How to Plant Them

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Blueberries  are delicious!

Blueberries are delicious!

  Blueberries are one of the most delicious fruits you can eat. Blueberries are good for you too, and are extremely  rich in  anti-oxidants and vitamins.  Do you dream of blueberry pie?  How about blueberries with ice cream?     You can grow blueberries in your back yard.  You don't have to go out in the wilds, argue with bears, poison ivy,  or get lost searching for the delicious blueberry out in the great outdoors. Here's how to plant blueberries.

Choose healthy plants for the best outcome!

You can find low-bush and high-bush blueberry plants  down at your nearest garden center. Choose green, healthy plants that look fresh. Some blueberry varieties have some reddish leaves, that's normal.
  • Avoid sickly plants with dead branches, wilted leaves, or obviously bone-dry soil in the container--which may suggest the plants were not cared for properly and may already be highly stressed. Lack of watering or other stresses from improper care may cause plants to fail shortly after transplanting.
  •  Make sure you choose a variety that will survive in your gardening zone.  The 'Chippewa' high-bush blueberry, for instance, will grow in Zone 3-4, and survive freezing winter weather. Providing mulch and winter protection may be necessary for some varieties.
  • Choose the right blueberry type for your location. There are low-bush, medium and high-bush varieties available. You may need an ultra-hardy hybrid in some geographical areas.

Location:  Sunny!

Plant your new blueberry bushes in a bright sunny location. Blueberries love the sun! Partial shade is acceptable, but locations with full sun are preferable.

How to Plant your Blueberries

How do you plant blueberries? It's simple.
  • Dig a hole  approximately  twice the size of the potted plant container and and about the same depth.
  • If the soil is excellent, you're off to  a great start!  Otherwise, add some high-quality garden soil.  If the soil is heavy, mix in some peat moss.  You'll want to line the hole carefully with good soil so all feeder roots have access to proper nutrients.
  • Pour water into the hole.  If the soil is bone dry, fill the hole and allow the water to soak in, -and add some more.  A couple of inches of water will be perfect.  If it drains away in a few minutes, that means the soil is permeable, which is a good thing.  You don't need standing water in the hole, remember, we're not trying to float a boat.
  • To remove the bush from the pot, support the  plant and soil at the surface.  Turn the pot over and tap the container smartly, which will release the bush from the pot.
  • Carefully loosen the soil around the roots. Tease them loose with care;  use your fingers or a soil trowel. If the soil is hard, it is helpful to soak the root ball  to soften it for a half hour first, to minimize damage to those  important little feeder roots.
  •  Inspect the root structure  carefully, if you see any big, broken, damaged roots, prune them off with a clean cut.  Don't prune off  small feeder roots,  handle them gently  to avoid breaking them.
  • Arrange the root ball and spread the  roots so the plant crown will be level with the top of the hole. Add more soil if necessary to raise the plant to the right level. Do not bury the crown,  the top of the root ball.
  • Fill in the hole level with the surrounding soil.  Tamp  the soil gently around the roots  as you go --without packing the soil rock  hard.
  • Add some more water and allow the plant to settle in; add more soil if necessary and tamp it firmly.

Blueberry Hints to remember

Mark the bush with a stake and wire mesh for protection if necessary, and record the hybrid name in your gardening book. Blueberries love acid soil,  so collect some orange-brown pine needle duff from under the nearest conifers (pine or spruce trees) and mix a few handfuls into the soil around your blueberry bush.  Add more soil if necessary after a few days. Water your blueberry bushes carefully every day for the first couple of weeks. When you observe active growth, you can begin to fertilize the bushes.  Avoid fertilizing prior to the observation of active plant growth. Note: Fertilizing excessively before the bush is growing may  burn the tender feeder roots.  If you use a commercial fertilizer, use a product specially made for acid-loving plants. There you have it, when you see flowers forming, the tasty blueberries won't  be too far behind!  #

 Is that Incoming I hear?

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2 Responses to Blueberries: How to Plant Them

  1. HERB MUNDON says:

    Thank you for this article. I am expecting a shipment of blueberry plants and have already planned out an area adjacent to our deck. Our area requires gopher baskets to keep those critters away from the roots until the plant/tree is established. If you’re planting more than a dozen plants/trees, it’s more economical to make your own wire baskets rather than buying individual baskets to match the size of the root ball. Something the kids can have fun helping…but wear gloves! Thank you again.

    • Herb, thank you, that’s a great tip re. gopher wire baskets. The little critters seem to love blueberry bushes, they certainly have to be protected while very young and tender. Mice will ring the bark off of them a ground level upon occasion also. Blueberry bushes are a great addition to the home garden and worth taking care of–and it certainly is good to have the kids involved in gardening. Thanks again! ~R

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