Who wouldn't enjoy ripe, lush blueberries right in their own backyard? The problems is, many people do not know how to properly care for them, particularly during the first year. Blueberry plants are pretty and will be very hardy once they are well established. The problem is, will they survive until then? This guide will help you care for those precious plants during the first year so they can have blueberries by the bushel for many years to come.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- blueberry bushes
- pH tester
- acid peat or iron sulphate
Purchase your blueberry bushes while the weather is still cool. Blueberry bushes hibernate in the winter and if you can buy bushes that are still partially in that stage, you will be better off. Also, blueberry bushes are sensitive to the extreme heat during the first year, so the sooner you can get them in the ground before the heat hits, the better off they will be.
Figure out where you are going to plant your new bushes. Blueberry bushes like full sun away from trees; you also need to plant them six to eight feet apart so they have enough room to grow.
Test the acidity of the soil using a pH tester. Blueberry bushes enjoy acid-rich soil. The pH level needs to be between 4.0 and 5.0. If the pH is higher than that, buy acid peat or iron sulphate and mix the prescribed amount on the bag in to the top six to nine inches of soil your blueberry bush is going to be planted in. Plant the bush, forming a small mound above the level of the ground where the bush is planted. This will ensure water run off so the soil will be well-drained.
Place mulch around the base of your bush. The mulch will ensure adequate drainage of the soil as well as add additional acid to the soil as it deteriorates.
Water your newly planted blueberry bushes everyday for the first two or three weeks. Continue watering them about twice a week through their first summer, completely drenching the soil each time. Add additional mulch as it deteriorates.
Steps to Caring for Blueberry Bushes
Tips and warnings
- Purchase several different varieties of blueberry bushes. Many of the bushes and different flowering and ripening times. By having different varieties, you are ensuring yourself blueberries all summer long.
- Even if your blueberry bushes lose all their leaves and look dead, do not pull them up and continue to care for them until midway through the next growing season. They can be very resilient and may come back long after you've given up on them.
- Don't get excited if you purchase blueberries loaded with flowers or fruit. Most of the fruit and berries will fall off or dry up, partially due to the transplanting process. You are setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Ants love mulch; keep an eye out for them and get them before they hurt the root system of your new blueberry bush.