“Blueberry Bush Maintenance – How to plant, prune, and grow your blueberry bush to get the most blueberries possible”
Fresh blueberries! They are delicious and loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients. Both kids and adults can’t get enough of their sweet, juicy flavor both fresh and in baked goods. This “superfood” has been said to help lower cholesterol and even reduce the risk of certain types of cancer!
But did you know that blueberry bushes are also one of the easiest fruit producing plants to grow and maintain?
Let’s face it. Many fruit trees are either just too large or require way too much care and maintenance for the average homeowner to be very interested in trying them out, even if they do produce the delicious fruits that we love.
A blueberry bush, on the other hand, when established will flourish and produce berries by the multitudes for many years with even the minimal amounts of sun and water, and just the occasional fertilization.
Contained in this article are some simple but invaluably useful tips towards establishing and maintaining a thriving blueberry bush!
It all begins with the first step, which is the planting of your new blueberry bush or bushes. While blueberry bushes are incredibly tolerant to various types of soil and sun conditions, they thrive and produce best when planted in an area that receives full sun and has an acidic soil. Once you have selected the closest to ideal location in your landscape for your plant, you will want to dig your planting hole. Be sure to make it twice the height and width of the root ball or container.
Place your blueberry bush in this hole and backfill with soil. To give your blueberry bush an especially strong start, it is highly recommended that you amend the natural, pre-dug soil with quality, nutrient rich gardening soil to increase its acidity if necessary in your area.
If you are planting more than one blueberry bush, like in a row, you will want to space the plants about five to six feet apart. Once you’ve planted the bush or bushes and filled the holes back with soil, it is time to water, and water well! This will compact the freshly dug soil and eliminate any air pockets with can dry out your roots and lead to problems with the bush.
Pay careful attention to watering your blueberry bush well for the first few weeks after planting, as this is necessary to promote good, strong root growth. Once established, a blueberry bush will be highly tolerant to drought and you will not have to be quite as fastidious about watering. Insulating your bush’s roots with two to three inches of mulch will not only help to lock in moisture, but also to maintain the soil temperature and prohibit weed growth, which would compete with your blueberry bush for nutrients.
You may wish to invest in some netting for your plants if you don’t want the birds to get to them: they think blueberries are just delicious, too!
Fertilization, with a standard 10-10-10 formula, should take place in early spring, following the last hard frost of the season. If desired, you can fertilize once more at the end of the summer before cool weather sets in.
Pruning is recommended for optimal growth and production of larger fruit, however it is not necessary for your plant to live and produce fruit in general. If you do choose to prune, it is recommended that you do so in early spring, right after the last hard frost of the season but before you fertilize.
Remove any and all dead branches, stems or leaves and trim back the bush to keep it at what you consider to be an acceptable height. This process will lead to fewer but larger berries. Letting the bush grow naturally will result in more, but smaller berries. It all depends upon what you consider to be “more” blueberries!
Follow these simple growing tips and we believe you’ll be enjoying fresh, homegrown berries from thriving blueberry bushes for many years to come!