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Master Gardeners: Growing Your Own Blueberries

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Master Gardeners: Growing Your Own Blueberries Empty Master Gardeners: Growing Your Own Blueberries

Post  sanderson on 12/30/2014, 12:02 am

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Post  Kelejan on 12/30/2014, 12:32 am

Thanks for that link, sanderson.  Last spring I bought four different high bush blueberry bushes and this is perfect for me, showing how to prune and when etc.
At least I did right by mulching with pine needles and oak leaves.
I have printed it out to go into my how-to book.
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Post  sanderson on 12/30/2014, 1:04 am

I'm glad you like it. I didn't realize that MG posted some of the handouts and PowerPoints until today.
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Post  countrynaturals on 12/30/2019, 1:02 pm

Southern Highbush Blueberry?

I have tried and failed at blueberries, and it was an expensive and labor-intensive failure. very sad That was in the last century. I've learned a lot since then and now I'm ready to try again.

The first thing I learned was that we need varieties that can survive our brutal summers. The vast majority of blueberry varieties only go up to Zone 8. We're in Zone 9b. Anybody try these in zones above 8?

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/gardening-by-zone/zone-9-10-11/growing-blueberries-in-zone-9.htm
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Post  OhioGardener on 12/30/2019, 1:42 pm

Don't know about the west coast, but in the SE zone 9 there were native blueberries, and we had Rabbiteye Blueberries on the property that were there when we bought it.

Here is Ohio I tried to raise blueberries, and they were the most expensive deer feed I ever planted. Gave up on that experiment. (In gardening, there are no failures. Only experiments.)

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Post  Kelejan on 12/30/2019, 2:47 pm

@Kelejan wrote:Thanks for that link, sanderson.  Last spring I bought four different high bush blueberry bushes and this is perfect for me, showing how to prune and when etc.
At least I did right by mulching with pine needles and oak leaves.
I have printed it out to go into my how-to book.

One does not normally answer one's own quote, but seeing as it is  five years ago, all I can say is that my four bushes have not done very well.

This year I was away for five weeks in a very hot summer and they were nearly dead on my return.  One bush managed to produce 6 berries and they were the most delicious and sweetest blueberries I have ever tasted.  The four bushes have survived, just.  Sad
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Post  Dan in Ct on 12/31/2019, 9:17 am

countrynaturals, here is a link to growing blueberries in California, Sacramento area and it lists varieties and chilling hours.

http://sacmg.ucanr.edu/files/138069.pdf

I am also thinking of trying to grow blueberries. I am going to take 1 1/2 years to prep the soil as I am looking at them as something I plan on growing for many years. I had black cap raspberries where I plan to grow the blueberries but I have a virus in the soil from the wild raspberries. Basically I had great looking plants and they would green up nicely and try to spread like normal brambles but when it came time to blossom, something would happen. The bees would try and pollinate but the blossoms would turn brown and not fruit except for an occasional raspberry bump, just a single when it takes a multitude to make one berry. I finally found the answer of the virus in a Rodale book. So starting this year I will prep the soil where the bushes will go and hopefully in 2021 the bushes go in the ground unless I read I can plant them in the fall of 2020. Good luck with your blueberries.
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Post  countrynaturals on 12/31/2019, 2:50 pm

@Dan in Ct wrote:countrynaturals, here is a link to growing blueberries in California, Sacramento area and it lists varieties and chilling hours.

http://sacmg.ucanr.edu/files/138069.pdf

I am also thinking of trying to grow blueberries. I am going to take 1 1/2 years to prep the soil as I am looking at them as something I plan on growing for many years. I had black cap raspberries where I plan to grow the blueberries but I have a virus in the soil from the wild raspberries. Basically I had great looking plants and they would green up nicely and try to spread like normal brambles but when it came time to blossom, something would happen. The bees would try and pollinate but the blossoms would turn brown and not fruit except for an occasional raspberry bump, just a single when it takes a multitude to make one berry. I finally found the answer of the virus in a Rodale book. So starting this year I will prep the soil where the bushes will go and hopefully in 2021 the bushes go in the ground unless I read I can plant them in the fall of 2020. Good luck with your blueberries.
Bummer about your virus. I'm glad you found the answer.

Thanks for the link. It verifies what I was thinking about:
Southern highbushblueberries are hybrids from crosses between northern highbush varieties and native southern species, mainly Vaccinium ashei and evergreen Vaccinium darrowi. Southern highbush cultivars have lower chilling requirements (150 to 800 hours per year) than northern highbush varieties, greater tolerance to higher summer temperatures, and somewhat greater drought tolerance.The varieties that grow and produce most successfully in our areaare the southern highbush types;most of the northern highbush varieties do not tolerate our hotsummers and do not get enough chilling hours, but some grow satisfactorily in most years and are used commercially.
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Post  sanderson on 1/4/2020, 9:18 pm

I bookmarked the link. High organic matter? Sounds like Mel's Mix with some pH tweaking. ??

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Post  llama momma on 1/7/2020, 12:08 pm

Few years ago planted 3 varieties here that were suppose to be good for central Ohio, meticulously amended the soil as the National Blueberry Council or some authority like that instructed.   Still lost 2 bushes.  The third one continues to grow and produce more berries each year.  Here I thought it had to have other bushes near it for better berries.  My takeaway is blueberries are not easy, read somewhere that if very good compost is used the whole acidity issue just disappears and compost takes care of it all.  So now that's all I do, add my best homemade compost, keep the critter cover over the bush for bird and critter protection.  Water it during dry stretches, and enjoy whatever comes.
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Post  Dan in Ct on 1/7/2020, 1:06 pm

Compost as the process continues although during part of the process initially does become acidic but at the end returns back to normal. Blueberries need 4.5 to 5.5 pH to thrive. So if your soil is not naturally acidic, every few years just do a quick pH test and add some elemental sulfur in a prescribed dose to keep it in the required pH range, it takes awhile for the sulfur to have the desired effect if done correctly. Same holds true if you wish to change the color of your hydrangeas.

Plants do have the ability to change the pH in their root ball zone. Blueberries need the lower pH to get certain nutrients in abundance. I just don't know if blueberry plants can change the pH scale 2 full points and with the pH scale being logarithmic, I would have my doubts. The University of Maine is an excellent source for information on both blueberries and composting as they were the first University to have an accredited curriculum for Compost. Cornell is an excellent source for all things fruit.
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