Blueberry Cultural Needs/Time to Fruit - Knowledgebase Question

Kansas City, MO
Avatar for michelleste4
Question by michelleste4
May 10, 1999
I will be planting blueberry plants this spring. What are some important tips I should consider? The soil I have is clay-like, should I add peat moss to loosen up the soil? How long does it take for the plants to bear fruit?

Answer from NGA
May 10, 1999
Blueberries need very fertile, very well drained, acidic soil, with a pH of between 4 and 5.5. A soil test is the best way to determine your soil's pH. To make a soil more acidic, add partially decayed oak leaves, peat moss, or pine needles. Adding compost is always beneficial for any soil and will help improve your clay soil's drainage.

Blueberries require full sun during fruiting, probably daily water. It's best to plant more than one variety as cross pollination helps with the yield. Apply compost or slow acting general purpose fertilizer in the spring. (Manure tends to be alkaline, which will raise your soil pH level.)

If your plants are still young (under 3 years old), then it's not surprising, or desirable, for them to produce fruit. Let the shoots and roots get well established and then the plant will bear heavy for you for many years. The flowers on bluberries are perfect (male and female parts in the same flower), but fruit best with cross pollination from bees. They benefit from the mix of pollen from different varieties.

Blueberries can be fertilized lightly after fruiting and in late winter with an acid loving plant food, such as an azalea/camelia fertilizer, or cottonseed meal. All tend to be acidifying and provide plants with nutrition. I love blueberry pie!

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