Blueberry questions - Knowledgebase Question

Cincinnati, OH
Question by hcouch
September 19, 2005
I have read through the responses to many blueberry questions and a few things are still confusing. First, when advised to have two varieties for cross pollination, does this mean two plants of the same variety or two entirely different varieties. I have ordered Top Hat and Rubel varieties with intent to plant the Top Hat in a large container set nearby and sheltered in winter on our enclosed porch. Also, there was advice given that Strawberries are fine to plant beneath blueberries, but then in another response the advice was to avoid planting anything under bluberries. Is it OK to have strawberries growing around blueberries? In the site I have prepared there is Periwinkle growing and variagated Vinca which I have read does fine in acidic soil. Since I have amended the soil, the vines will perhaps grow more strongly - should I remove them before placing the blueberry? Thanks for your comments!


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Answer from NGA
September 19, 2005

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Let's see if we can clear up the confusion. Blueberries do not absolutely require two different cultivars for cross pollination purposes. However, bigger berries and higher yield will result from cross pollination, and thus it is desirable to plant at least two different cultivars. Blueberry bushes have very shallow root systems and are very sensitive to water fluctuations, so planting beneath them can create too much competition for moisture and nutrients. You can overcome this with additional water and fertilizer. I think the important thing to remember is that the roots are shallow and could be damaged if you regularly cultivated beneath them. To be on the safe side, I would not plant anything beneath them and I would mulch over the soil surface with peat moss, both to help moderate soil temperatures and to aid in moisture retention. As the peat degrades, it will help acidify the soil.

Hope this information sheds some light on the subject!

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