If you are looking for a plant that does not require much maintenance, and will produce for several decades, then you will want to plant blueberries. The downside of blueberries is that they are very fickle on the ground condition. If you can master the soil, then you will have a plant that has a fairly easy upkeep. The highbush blueberry type is the most tolerable to cold temperatures, so beginners find it easier to grow.
When you go to select where to plant your blueberry crop, you want an area that is in direct sunlight for a majority of the day. The ground must be able to drain quickly and it must have a high acidic level. You can achieve the acidity levels necessary by adding rich matter into the soil, and using fertilizer that increases the pH levels.
The blueberries require a great deal of space between rows so you will not have drainage problems. For most people, planting one row of blueberries will fair better than trying to get the proper spacing. You want to plant early in the spring and start with plants that have already been growing at a dependable nursery for a few days first.
When you go to plant the blueberries, you want a shallow hole that will cover the rootfill only. After replacing the dirt around the plant, keep competing plants pulled as the blueberries grow. After a month, you will want to apply the mulch and fertilizer. Adding it too soon can kill the crop. The fruit will take a few years to begin bearing fruit, so make sure you remove the flowers for the first two years. When you do this style of pruning at the beginning, your blueberry plant will begin working on the vegetative growth instead of just the flowers. Your blueberries will begin producing fruit in bulk about three years after you originally plant them, so be patient.
There are a few things you want to know about maintaining blueberry plants. You will not need to prune the plants until they start bearing the bulk of their fruit. Remove the branches that are darker, as they are the older branches. Remember that the roots of the plant are shallow, so watering will need to be frequent and on the ground instead of the plant. Test the soil every year to make sure it is still at optimum pH levels to promote continued growth.
Blueberries are a common fruit ravaged by birds, so you will want to drape netting over the berries when they are ripe so you do not lose the entire crop. Blueberries, like most berry plants, do best if they are discouraged from fruiting the first year or two. This will help the plant grow and develop a healthy root system. With the highbush variety, you want to remove wood that is older than six years or drooping towards the ground. Always start with the big cuts and then move to the smaller ones for the best crop possible.
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