Blueberries

Planting

If you like blueberries, plan on 2 blueberry plants per family member. If you want to enjoy frozen blueberries year-round plant about 4 blueberry plants per family member.

Plant Blueberries in well-drained soil with lots of organic materials. Space plants about 6 feet apart and allow 8 feet between rows. Plant with the top of the root mass just at the soil surface. Mulch with 3 to 4 inches of compost or bark mulch.

Feeding

Blueberries are fertilized when their leaf buds start to open, generally in spring. Blueberries need an acidic fertilizer that is balanced, a Rhododendron-type fertilizer will work perfectly. It is common practice in large-scale blueberry farms to use mulches like sawdust which are low grade and deplete the soil’s nitrogen. If you’re going use sawdust or bark mulch it is important to add a bit more nitrogen.

Pruning

Young blueberries should be lightly pruned to encourage a bushy upright spreading shape. As they age, thin long top and interior stems, tip thin branches to encourage a dense rounded shape. Older blueberries need to have old production branches removed to allow newer, more vigorous growth to come through.

Disease and Pest Control

Blueberries can have problems with leaf spot and stem canker. Scheduled sprays can help to reduce these diseases. The fruit is subject to botrytis and mummy berry, both of which can be controlled with a fungicide. Birds can become a problem eating berries, netting plants can reduce their consumption.

Download a complete information sheet on blueberries, including blueberry varieties.
See a Spray Schedule to best target your efforts.


Please note that you need at least two different varieties of blueberries to get fruit. In addition those blueberries need to bloom at the same time to cross-pollinate and create blueberries. Italicized are the varieties available in 2009.

Berkeley – Midseason, Late. One of the most popular varieties for home gardeners. A relatively large bush at 5-6 feet tall and wide with powder blue mild tasting berries.

Bluecrop – Midseason. Considered one of the best all-around varieties for its consistent yields, high quality fruit and relative disease resistance. Open and upright usually reaching 4-6 feet.

Bluegold – Midseason. Compact round habit, reaching 4 feet. Berries are firm and flavorful in large easy to pick clusters. Sometimes referred to as the “mortgage lifter” because of its abundance of fruit on a small frame.

Blueray – Midseason. An old favorite that is a heavy producer of large high quality berries that are powder blue. An excellent dessert berry. Rosy pink flowers that turn white with age are an ornamental feature. Upright and open growth habit, generally 5 feet with burgundy leaves in fall.

Bluetta – Very Early. Another very early ripening variety with medium dark blue berries that are tangy. It is more adaptable than Earliblue. It’s a very compact bush generally only reaching 3-4 feet. A dense globe with scarlet red foliage in fall.

Brigitta – Late. Large light blue berries are firm and crisp, with the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Berries have an excellent shelf-life.

Chandler – Mid-to-Late. Giant fruit for blueberries and a long ripening season make Chandler a great choice. Slightly spreading habit that reaches about 5-6 feet tall.

Darrow – Late. Giant blueberry that is light blue and robustly flavorful. Vigorous it generally reaches about 5-6 feet at maturity.

Duke – Early. Medium to large light blue berries with a mildly sweet flavor. Retains berry quality fresh longer than most. It is one of the most consistent and heaviest producers. Yellow-orange fall color.

Earliblue – Very Early. As the name denotes they are the first to ripen. Produces large light blue sweet berries.

Elliott – Very Late. Extend your blueberry season with these late ripening berries. Sky blue berries can be quite tart unless picked when fully ripe.

Jersey – Late. Easy to grow, heavy producing variety that is an old favorite. One of the larger varieties reaching 7 feet tall but tolerant of a variety of soil types. Dark blue berries are small to medium sized and very sweet, perfect for baking.

Legacy – Late. Keeps its leaves well into winter, unlike most varieties of blueberry. Vigorous, upright and slightly spreading usually maturing around 6 feet tall. Medium to large light blue berries have a robust blueberry flavor. USDA top rated for flavor.

Olympia – Midseason. An easy to grow large spreading bush. Many people also believe it to be the best tasting varieties, with a pleasant aroma and spicy flavor. Medium sized dark berries are great for blueberry pancakes and muffins. Beautiful bright red fall color.

Patriot – Early. Consistent heavy bearing variety for colder areas. Berries are large dark and highly flavored. It is lower growing, reaching about 4 feet and spreading. Patriot can tolerate wetter soils. Fiery orange foliage in fall.

Spartan – Early. Large, light blue berries with delicious tangy sweet flavors. An upright bush 5-6 feet tall. Yellow-orange fall color.

Sunshine Blue – Midseason. This semi-dwarf variety is highly branched, compact and generally only reaches about 3 feet tall. They also have hot pink flowers. Berries are small and tangy and are generally produced for up to two months. As it is self-pollinating you only need one bush to get delicious berries on patios and small lots. Generally only carried in container stock, not bare-root.

Top Hat – This dwarf variety generally only reach about 1.5 feet tall and wide. White blooms in spring yield pea-sized light blue berries. Generally only carried in container stock, not as bare-root.

Toro – Midseason. Stocky and compact stature like a bull with large sky blue berries and hot-pink flowers. Bright red foliage in fall makes this blueberry especially ornamental.

Download a complete information sheet on blueberries, including blueberry varieties.

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