The Q&A Archives: Watering Bluberries

Question: Seems SC is in for another hot, dry summer. Last year our blueberries flowered & set fruit but the berries dried up before ripening. What can we do this year to keep from losing the fruit? Water with sprinklers or just soak the ground? In the morning or late afternoon?

Answer: Blueberries require lots of water during the summer. Apply water slowly and deeply so that it soaks past the root zone. Morning is better than late afternoon because wet plants can promote fungal diseases. Sprinkling is usually a less effective way of watering, since the water doesn't penetrate deeply enough and water splashed on the shrub can also cause fungal problems. Blueberry shrubs need full sun and cool, moist, acid soil that drains well. Mulch your plants with at least 2-3 inches of compost to help retain soil moisture. Plant two different varieties for better pollination. Plants should be pruned after harvesting to promote new fruiting buds. Simply cut back the ends of the twigs that produced fruit and new shoots will develop the following spring. Good luck!

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