Blueberry Bushes Not Growing - Knowledgebase Question

Gaithersburg, Ma
Question by katgue
June 30, 2010
Purchased 2 varieties 5 yrs ago. A few berries but not much growth- planted in full sun. Last fall I moved them to a raised bed and added compost and peat. Still no growth of the plants from when they were first planted. Any idea what is wrong?

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010


I apologize for the delay in responding. We were flooded with questions and are working to catch up! Blueberries are one of the fussier plants in terms of soil requirements. They need a soil pH between 4.5 and 5.5 to thrive. At this point, I suggest a pH test and add the appropriate amounts of ammonium sulfate or sulfur to the soil to adjust the pH. Blueberries grow best in a moist, but not soggy wet soil. Below are guidelines for planting and care. You've already planted but it will help you figure out what else might be done.

Dig a hole 18 inches 18 inches wide. Add a mix of compost and peat moss and with top soil until the hole is filled 4 inches from the top. Place the plants in the hole and cover the roots with the remaining peat-soil mix.
Set plants 5 feet apart in rows 10 feet apart.
Mulch with a 4 inch thick layer of sawdust or bark mulch, spread 2 feet wide around the plants. Maintain the mulch depth throughout the growing season. Water well.
Fertilize based on a soil test each spring. Apply an acidifying fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate, around the drip line of the bush. Apply half of the fertilizer at bloom time and the second half one month later.
Blueberries are shallow rooted plants. Keep a 4 inch thick layer of mulch to conserve moisture and water with a soaker hose or drip irrigation for best berry production.
Keep weed cultivated, being careful not to damage the shallow roots.

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