Planting Instructions Bare Root Blue Berry Plants•
Posted on August 14 2017
These need to be started indoors for the first two weeks. No direct sun for first week.
Spring is the best time to plant blueberries, planting in fall is ok but is recommended to plant in containers. Blueberries need ridiculously acidic soil. Although most sources give a range of 4 to 5.5, they really don't like a pH higher than 5; and they will quickly join The Choir Invisible in soil with a normal pH. So excavate their planting area as deeply as your muscles allow, use a garden fork to break up the clay at the bottom and refill the hole with equal amounts of milled peat moss, compost and any native soil you have that doesn't look like clay. A researcher we quoted in an old story on blueberry growing specified a minimum of one five-gallon bucket of milled peat per plant. But don't fill the hole with just peat moss; you need the compost and soil in there to provide food and stability for the plants.
Then mulch the plants with an inch of peat moss, an inch of compost on top of that and then some well-shredded leaves. As always, don't let any mulch actually touch the plants. Like azaleas and rhododendrons, blueberries are shallow rooted and water hungry, and you'll need all members of that mulch combo to keep moisture in the soil and prevent competition from grass and weeds.
Then buy a pH meter and use it to test the soil around your blueberries. If a yearly mulching with naturally acidic materials like peat moss and shredded oak leaves can't keep the pH low enough, you'll have to turn to sulfur. It's natural and lowers pH well, but it takes a long time to become active in soil, so ideally you'd apply it now if you know you're going to need it. (Heck; ideally, you'd apply it a year in advance!) Three-quarters of a pound of sulfur should lower the pH of 100-square feet of sandy soil one point; it'll take a full pound in clay soils. And pay attention to the plants; their color will tell you if they're happy with the pH or not. Nice deep green leaves are the best sign of pH success.
Feed them yearly with a nice fresh mulch of compost in the Spring; on top of fresh peat moss, of course! (Spread out the old mulch so that it prevents weeds and grass further out.) As the season progresses and the plants flower and set fruit, you can water them every couple of weeks with compost tea, or give them a one-time boost with a gentle organic fruit fertilizer. No Miracle-Grow, Osmocote or other chemical crap!
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