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Notes from the Test Garden

Designing with Blueberries

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  1. user-939178 05/15/2017

    Yes, but:
    You didn't say a thing about the blueberries need for acidic soil and high water table. Think about where they grow natively, in almost boglike sites. I've seen local gardeners plant blueberries and have them die out for not providing the exacting conditions they require.

    1. user-7008557 05/15/2017

      dxn, Here in Maine we grow acres of blueberries with very little water.
      We have fields of them on porous soil with no irrigation and in full
      sun. Our acid soil helps!

  2. springle 05/15/2017

    They've planted several perennials amongst the blueberries with no mention of soil needs. Blueberries like acidic soil like rhododendrons and camellias, so a careful selection of acid-loving perennials should be considered as companion plants.

  3. user-939178 05/15/2017

    Jennifer, I'm deeply jealous. Fields of blueberries strike me as acres of great abundance in the fruiting season. It's a dream for someone living in the suburbs of Chicago where we used to have a field, Marshall Fields to be precise, but no longer. Sprawl took out almost all the open spaces. And since our native soils are basic, acid loving plants have a hard time of it here, you'd be hard pressed to find a blue hydrangea, a thoroughly happy rhododendron that's not situated in a seriously amended spot, and a blueberry patch.
    I'm assuming your native blueberries are the high bush variety. In west central Wisconsin where I spend summers, there's a low bush blueberry growing on the ridge tops that we refer to as a huckleberry. It does indeed grow in xeric conditions.

    1. martietchells 05/15/2017

      I grew up west of Chicago so now I know why I don't have any memories of blueberries growing there! I spent summers in western Michigan near the lake though and have great memories of picking at the farms and the beautiful blue bushes during harvest time.

  4. salimjiven 05/15/2017

    I love blueberries. I wish I could grow them.

  5. user-7008562 05/15/2017

    I have lots of shrub blueberries on my property but the berries are quite small and the birds get them first.

  6. martietchells 05/15/2017

    Don't know where you live but in the Atlanta area of Georgia we grow Rabbit Eye varieties. I fertilize then with Cotton Seed meal once when they start to leaf out, once when the blossoms appear and once when the blueberries are forming. They do well in our acid soil. I'd like to solve the bird problem though. I tried netting last year but hard to place on large bushes, gets stuck on twigs, I don't like trapping birds and difficult to harvest with netting. I'm sure commercial growers have a good solution.....

    1. karenroloson 05/26/2017

      Our blueberry bushes are getting huge. I also feed them with cotton seed meal but only fed them twice. Netting doesn't work on blueberries. I've tried and have finally given up. Do you prune them? I've only pruned the dead branches but wondered if I should shorten them. We live on the Gulf Coast so also use the rabbit eye varieties.

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