Fruit trees can be too large or require too much work but blueberry bushes are small and can even be grown in planters. They’re low maintenance too – blueberries need sunshine, water, and an occasional fertilizer treatment and they will produce for years. Blueberries generally harvest in July, so it’s not surprising that July is National Blueberry Month.
The Health Benefits Of The Blueberry Bush
Blueberries are chock full of antioxidants and help fight cancer and aging. Buying blueberries in your local produce department can be quite pricey, and growing your own can help you enjoy these berries without breaking the bank. If you grow enough, you can try drying them to enjoy in salads or oatmeal in the cold winter months as well.
Tips For Growing Blueberry Bushes
Purchase young blueberry bushes from a reputable nursery and plant them in early spring, after the last threat of frost. When determining where to plan blueberry bushes, keep in mind that your plant will grow best in sunny locations but can tolerate partial shade as well.
They need a soil with a pH of 4.0 to 4.5 and tend to like poor soils, such as clay. You may need to increase the acidity of your soil in order to grow the healthiest blueberry bushes possible. This can be done with peat moss of other soil additives. In addition to the additives, the native soil should be mixed with a healthy amount of compost or other organic material.
Once your soil is prepared, dig a hole a few inches bigger than your root ball. Place your blueberry plant in the hole and pack soil firmly against the root ball. Cover a little of the bush stems with soil to encourage runner development and layer mulch over the earth to deter weeds and help to keep the soil moist.
When planting blueberry bushes, they should be spaced 5 to 6 feet apart. If you want to grow several blueberry plants in rows, space them about 8 to 10 feet apart. Water your new blueberry bushes often for the first few weeks to help encourage root growth. Blueberry plants will fruit after 3 years, but will give you fruit for years to come with minimal maintenance afterwards.
How To Prune Blueberry Bushes
Pruning blueberry bushes should be done in the winter, and can generally wait until their 3rd year to begin. Fruit grows on last year’s wood, and this should be kept in mind when pruning your bush.
Birds love to feast on blueberries, so investing in some inexpensive bird netting can help assure that you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labors.