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I wanted to make this thread to help me keep track of and document my blueberry bushes.

Hopefully it can be helpful to others also!
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garden master
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I love blueberry blossoms!

The pollinators are busy at work too on these rabbiteye blueberries!
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Blueberry blossoms!
 
pollinator
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So purty...
 
Steve Thorn
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Tj Jefferson wrote:So purty...



Thanks TJ!

They always looks so pretty, dainty, and fragile to me!
 
pollinator
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I had to coddle ours for the first years... some varieties didn't do well through the winter, etc.  After the survivor varieties became decently rooted, they've thrived.  Some of ours are now 7-ft tall and 4-ft across.  And producing lots of sweet berries.  Best of luck with yours!
 
Steve Thorn
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Joel Bercardin wrote:I had to coddle ours for the first years... some varieties didn't do well through the winter, etc.  After the survivor varieties became decently rooted, they've thrived.



I had a similar experience with mine during the summer of the first year. The heat and drought really got to some of them, but like you said, once they made it past that and got a little established, they've really thrived!

Some of ours are now 7-ft tall and 4-ft across.  And producing lots of sweet berries.  Best of luck with yours!



Thanks Joel, yeah there's nothing like fresh blueberries, glad to hear yours are doing great!
 
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Will blueberries do ok in an understory?  I have acidic, heavy clay soils, with some areas that get plenty of sun - up on a ridge, but there is scattered tree cover, perhaps 4-5 hours of sun overall.
 
Tj Jefferson
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Josh, most of mine are on an edge with 4-6 hours of direct sun while growing, essentially a north-south hugel. They definitely like more sun, but they absolutely need to have moist soil in the heat until well established. I'm replacing the current shade trees with other trees, and they will have full sun for 5-6 years while those fill in, and I'm not worried. They will produce far more in the sun, because of course that is how they obtain energy.

I would encourage you to richly amend your clay before planting, they prefer lots of decaying things. The ones I planted in clay- even mulched- had very high mortality.
 
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I have two bushes, both planted in a bale of peat, one in the ground,one in a sub irrigated container.
Neither are dying but neither are thriving.
So I'm wondering, do y'all fertilize your blue berry bushes,and if so,  with what?
 
Steve Thorn
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Josh Garbo wrote:Will blueberries do ok in an understory?  I have acidic, heavy clay soils, with some areas that get plenty of sun - up on a ridge, but there is scattered tree cover, perhaps 4-5 hours of sun overall.



I have some growing with a little more light, maybe 6-7 hours that have done pretty well. Like Tj mentioned, they didn't have quite the production or growth as ones with more sun. They were also more susceptible to late frosts, but they still did well.

It seems like blueberries are pretty tolerant to some shade, I think it would be worth a try!
 
Steve Thorn
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William Bronson wrote:
I have two bushes, both planted in a bale of peat, one in the ground,one in a sub irrigated container.
Neither are dying but neither are thriving.
So I'm wondering, do y'all fertilize your blue berry bushes,and if so,  with what?



I just mulch mine with what I have, usually leaves, pine straw, and occasionally grass clippings. Mine have done really well with that and also being in an area with plenty of moisture.

I also don't prune mine, which has really helped them put on a lot of growth and has also increased production!
 
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William Bronson wrote:
I have two bushes, both planted in a bale of peat, one in the ground,one in a sub irrigated container.
Neither are dying but neither are thriving.
So I'm wondering, do y'all fertilize your blue berry bushes,and if so,  with what?



Our local  blueberry farmer who we buy rooted cuttings from says they don't need much fertility but do need some nitrogen.  He says plant in a hole three times the root ball, mix in peat moss with the soil and don't let them dry out...mulch heavily.   I watered our young ones with the watered down pee bucket all last summer and they look good.  On the other hand I think the neighborhood dogs killed the bush on the corner of the yard from peeing directly on it.

 
pollinator
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Josh,

I am growing some blueberries and like you, they are in heavy clay.  As others have pointed out, I had to really coddle them in their first 2-3 years after which they got well established.

The place I planted them was not the best for blueberries, but then I don’t think much else would have grown there.  In retrospect, it does not get enough sunlight.  There were some nearby trees that looked far enough out of the way when I planted, but as these were locusts, they shot up like rockets and their lateral branches are giving some serious shade to some of my blueberries.

Circumstances dictated that I had to leave the blueberries neglected for a while, but as I am getting back to giving them more attention this year, I am planning on trimming back and maybe even cutting down those offending locusts.  The blueberries that did survive are well established and the only amendment I gave them was a healthy layer of pine mulch to enhance acidity.  I am thinking about spreading woodchips around the bases and sowing wine caps.

By far this point, for the bushes that survived neglect, my biggest problem are birds.  Birds will and have wiped out crops even before I knew that the blueberries were set.  The plants need some netting and I may see about that this year.

But to condense everything I said to a few words, coddle your blueberries the first couple of years till they get established, make sure and give them as much sunlight as you can, and give them some healthy mulch.  After those first couple of years, the bushes will be pretty bulletproof.

Eric
 
Steve Thorn
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Eric Hanson wrote:By far this point, for the bushes that survived neglect, my biggest problem are birds.  Birds will and have wiped out crops even before I knew that the blueberries were set.  The plants need some netting and I may see about that this year.



The birds have thoroughly enjoyed my blueberries too, and my grapes also.

I've planted some mulberries though this year, which I've heard the birds prefer over almost everything else, so hopefully they will leave my blueberries and grapes alone once the mulberries come into production!
 
Steve Thorn
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The pollinators are enjoying the blueberry blossoms!
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Busy pollinating!
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Flying through the flowers!
 
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Josh Garbo wrote:Will blueberries do ok in an understory?  I have acidic, heavy clay soils, with some areas that get plenty of sun - up on a ridge, but there is scattered tree cover, perhaps 4-5 hours of sun overall.




I think this depends on your local conditions (maximum temperatures and humidity levels), we have a few U-pick farms here and two have installed blueberry fields in full sun, the bushes are pretty scraggly compared to the ones I know in New York state.
Arkansas has high humidity levels most of the year and we can have temperatures reach 108f but normal summer temps are near 100 with an 80% humidity level and night lows in the summer never get below 70, unless we have a freak cold front pass by.  

I planted my new batch on the woodlot line in an area where they will get morning and evening sun but be in at least partial shade from 11am to 3pm (our hottest part of the day). They are also able to remain more moist than most of our garden area because I located them near the pool of the backyard mini swale system.

I did this because of trapesing through the woods I would come across huckleberry stands that were in openings of the forest canopy where they got nicely dappled light most of the day.
I figured that if that is what the wild huckleberries liked, blueberries probably would too.
 
Steve Thorn
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The blueberries are growing quickly with lots of fruit clusters everywhere!
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Cluster of blueberries!
 
Steve Thorn
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I like to almost never prune my blueberries, which from my experience, has produced a multitude of flowers and later tasty blueberies!

Here's a link to a thread discussing that in more depth Why I don't prune my blueberries and a video about it below.

 
Judith Browning
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We've eaten most of our early bearing blueberries but the others look quite promising.  These are three year old bushes and I think bearing so well because of our rains this year.  
I'm challenged by bermuda grass everywhere here...it grows right through and over the pine needle, grass clippings and sawdust mulches so I'm experimenting with letting the creeping charlie 'mulch' more and more area.  

I tried to sharpen up my photos...so much green it's hard to see the green berries themselves.

Flavor wise we are not at all happy with the early ones...nice big berries but bland.

I've lost track of the names...have a stick down there somewhere with a label.  I'm planning to mark the better tasting ones and do cuttings.

There is a sage going to seed, poke, golden marguerite (small yellow flowers), a rose bush I keep having to prune back, iris and other things in the area that don't seem to mind sharing the space.  I'm trying to make the bermuda feel unwelcome
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Steve Thorn
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Those look great Judith!

I love the diversity of plants growing around the blueberries, such great polyculture!

We've had a mini drought the last few weeks combined with really hot weather, which has made ours have a very strong flavor, and also I probably picked them a little early too since it was so hard to wait. We've had some thunder showers today and yesterday, so I'm thinking that will help sweeten up the berries also.

Do you have rabbiteyes, southern highbush, or another type of blueberries?
 
Steve Thorn
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First blueberry harvest for this year!
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First blueberries of the year!
 
Judith Browning
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Do you have rabbiteyes, southern highbush, or another type of blueberries?



We have mostly northern high bush varieties that are good for our area in northern Arkansas and a couple southern high bush.  I'd like to try some rabbit eye but might have reached our limit at 20 bushes although I can't imagine having too many blueberries.  

We bought from a local blueberry farm that sells one and two year old rooted cuttings.

Your blueberries look tasty!

 
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