Growing Blueberries

Blueberries can take between three and eight years to bear fruit but are well worth the wait as they fruit for many years after. There are 2 main types , the Lowland Blueberries which include the Whimberries or Bilberries and the better known and more grown, Highland Blueberries. None of the varieties are self pollinating so at least two bushes will have to be grown are self-fertile, so only one plant need be grown.

Recommended varieties: - Bluecrop, Michegan, Earliblue, Blue Ray and Berkely.

Soil Conditions and Siting

Blueberries need a very acidic soil, with a pH of 5.0 - 5.5.

Supports and Training

Blueberries are always grown as free-standing bushes so no support or training is needed.

Planting

Plant bare rooted stock in autumn or early winter. They are often sold in containers and these can be planted out at any time of the year. Allow 6ft (2m) between plants and 6ft (2m) between the rows.

They should be planted slightly deeper than they were grown in the pot or nursery. Add 2 handfuls of Bonemeal when planting and mulch with a well rotted manure or compost.

Maintenance

Feeding

Apply 2 handfuls of Blood, Fish and Bone or Growmore at the rate of 2 handfuls per Sq. Yard/Metre in the late winter. Mulch annually.

Pruning

In the first few years the tips of the branches should be removed in the autumn. As the bush gets larger, any old, weak or damaged growths should be cut out. Ensure a free air supply by allowing about 6" (15cm) between each branch.

Protection

The bushes may need netting as a protection against bird damage.

Harvesting

Pick the fruits when they are ripe, This is roughly ten days after they have turned blue. Use immediately as they do not store well.

Pests and Diseases

Aphids, Birds, Mildew, and Botrytis are common problems. (See pests and diseases section for prevention's and cures. This is accessed via the Main Index Page)

 

Last updated 14 December, 2003
© copyright 1999, P. A. Owen