Growing blueberries like growing any plant takes planning and care. Knowledge of the requirements of blueberry plants is essential if you expect to be successful.
Buying a one year old plant that you might find in the supermarket or store like Sam’s club is usually a poor purchase. This is true for several reasons. They frequently do not survive because the root system is very small they require extra care if they are to survive. A second reason is that they take too long to reach a point where you might expect a crop. Two year old plants that are well-developed with a good root system are probably your best purchase. They will grow the first year and if you pick off the flowers as they appear the plants energy will go into producing a strong plant and root system. The next year the plant will be three years old and you can expect to start getting some blueberries. The production will increase each year thereafter until by year 6 the plant will be at or near maturity. Purchase your plants from a reputable on-line source so you can select the variety you want.
Planting and caring for blueberry plants is easy if you know what they require. Blueberry plants need an acid soil to survive and do well. Planting a blueberry plant in a soil that is not acidic is one of the biggest reasons for failure. The soil needs to have a pH of 4.5 to 5.0. You should have a soil test to insure the pH is correct. One of the easiest ways to have a good planting medium is to use peat moss which is both acidic and contains plenty of organic material. It is common to use peat moss. We use peat moss and finely ground pine bark for growing blueberry plants ant it has worked well.
Water is another major issue when growing blueberries. Blueberries require a good supply of water. The area also must be well-drained because if there is standing water in the ground the roots will rot and the plants will die. A solution to this problem is to use raised beds to insure drainage. By using raised beds the plant roots will not find themselves in standing water.
Weeds are one of the problems with which you must deal. The weeds must be kept under control. The blueberry plant particularly is its early stages of maturing cannot successfully compete with weeds for water, sunlight and nourishment. The weeds can kill or stunt the plants growth. The blueberry plants roots tend to grow near the surface. This means you cannot cultivate very deeply without damaging the blueberry plants roots. One solution to this problem is to first of all get the weeds under control before you plant you blueberries. Then when you plant use about a 10 layer thickness of newspaper or cardboard to keep weeds from growing and cover this with thick layer of mulch. Usually a 4 to 6 inch thickness is used.
Blueberry plants are sensitive to fertilizer and you can easily put on too much for the plant to handle. A good method of taking care of the plants is to use aerated compost tea. Aerated compost tea is full of needed microorganisms that the soil needs. Using aerated compost tea is one of the best things you can do to improve the soil and grow healthy plants. A slow release fertilizer that is used for Rhododendrons is a good choice. A fertilizer such as a slow release 14-12-14 would be acceptable. There are also many commercial water soluble fertilizers that are popular for example; Miracle-Gro® is the world’s best-selling plant food. The composition of Miracle-Gro is (15-30-15). This is an All-Purpose Plant Food. As the label indicates it is 15 percent nitrogen, it also contains 30 percent phosphate and 15 percent water-soluble potash.
The items discussed in this article are the major factors in successfully growing blueberries. You can do the job. If the soil analysis proves the soils pH cannot be adjusted to an adequate level you can always grow your blueberries in containers.