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I got some Blueberry bushes from my neighbors garden store, and was wondering how should I plant them?

  • What’s the weather around your place? Is there plenty of space? Sun, shade? – dakab May 8 '16 at 20:39
  • zone 4 approved by the neighbors gardening center – black thumb May 8 '16 at 23:52
  • You may have to protect them in winter as some rabbits like blueberry plant stems. – kevinsky May 9 '16 at 9:50
  • Deer can be pesky as well, depending on the winter and/or the deer. – Ecnerwal May 9 '16 at 14:15
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Blueberries are acid loving plants so depending on your soil ph you may need to amend the soil if it isnt acidic. If you dont know your soil pH then you should get a test kit and test the area where you are going to plant. If your soil pH is neutral to alkaline then you will need to apply sulfur or an amendment that would be used for acid loving plants to lower the pH. I try to get it around the 5 and then check it again with a cheap soil probe to get a rough estimate after fruit has set. I do on some occasions water with coffee that we didn't drink (after it has cooled of course ) since it is acidic.

Blueberries have a shallow root system and will have a hard time during the hot dry spells if they don't have moisture. You will need to put down a good mulch and form a bowl so that any rain will be directed to the bush. Pine straw is a good mulch but it isn't as acidic as people claim it to be.

We have Sandy soil that we amend with acidic peat and shredded leaves. In Florida it doesn't last as long as it should so I tend to mix the peat and leaves with the pine straw mulch on top with a light and shallow cultivation in late winter. Go light on the compost in the planting hole. It will raise the pH back up to neutral. I normally don't add it to the planting hole. I still put a small amount between the mulch and the soil. I would do about a 2 or 3 foot diameter planting hole with peat. I think I did 4 parts peat to 1 part leaves shredded and 2 parts sand. Near the end when I was running out of materials it was more sand than peat or leaves.

For clay soils you will need to mix in some acidic peat and a little sand down to about 12-16 inches (30-40 cm). You might be okay with just 10 inches.

We water about once or twice a week depending on how much rain we get. We try to slow drip with a plastic jug with pin holes but a soaker hose works better. If the bush doesn't get enough water it will take it from the berries.

After the berries appear I do a foliar application of epsom salt at 1 tsp per gallon via the watering can about once a month. I use fish emulsion fertilizer for the soil, but my uncle uses the miracid (miracle grow for acid loving plants). We have about the same results so it really depends on your gardening preference.

A sunny place is better but they can tolerate some shade. Mine are in the sun all day while my uncle has a large pine that provides his about 2 hours of partial shade in the morning and they still produce.

Good luck with your plants.

  • I dug up some great black dirt from the edge of my yard (dug down about 2 feet in all directions to fill with the dirt from planting) where it floods if there's we get a heavy rain, and has always had grass growing on it, so it's probably the richest soil you will probably ever find (natural compost that stays wet for over an hour), then mixed in some epsom salt. – black thumb May 9 '16 at 2:05
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    Sounds good. You are making me jealous. I bought a shake and bake house and the builder scraped all the topsoil off then put back about a quarter of an inch. The rest is sand. The property was previously part of a tree farm for longleaf and loblolly pine. For the first 5 years I had to bring in leaves and compost to build up the soil for any plants or gardening. It has been about 10 years now and I am finally seeing some results. – Charles Byrne May 9 '16 at 2:18
  • You can always ask a farmer (my neighbor would probably say yes, as he gave me permission to dig it for free) who has a lot of swamp around them if you can take some dirt from their yard for the beds, and you'll be sitting happy. When I finally move out of my parents and get a house of my own I will be having a construction budy (excavation) get several yards of the dirt for my beds, then dry it out for a few months to kill everything before planting to get plenty of food in the bed. – black thumb May 9 '16 at 3:21
  • I'm also going to make you more jealous, I have about 60 pine trees 30 year old (with a few in the yard 20+) pine trees between the city land and my house, so I can spread pine needles all I want to make the ground around the blueberries as covered with pine needles as I desire. – black thumb May 9 '16 at 3:36

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