Blueberries are picky about soil. They require one that is acidic, high in organic matter, and well-drained yet moist. pH should ideally be between 4 and 5.
Bushes should be planted in the early spring. If available, one to three-year-old plants are a good choice. Be sure to go to a reputable nursery.
Dig holes about 20 inches deep and 18 inches wide.
Space bushes about 5 feet apart.
Apply fertilizer one month after planting, not at time of planting.
Mulch to keep shallow blueberry root systems moist, which is essential. Apply a 2-4 inch layer of woodchips, saw dust or pine needles after planting.
Supply one to two inches of water per week.
For the first four years after planting, there is no need to prune blueberry bushes. From then on, pruning is needed to stimulate growth of the new shoots that will bear fruit the following season.
Prune plants in late winter, preferably just before growth begins.
On highbush varieties, begin with large cuts, removing wood that is more than six years old, drooping to the ground, or crowding the center of the bush. Also remove low-growing branches whose fruit will touch the ground, as well as spindly twigs.
Prune lowbush blueberries by cutting all stems to ground level. Pruned plants will not bear the season following pruning, so prune a different half of a planting every two years (or a different third of a planting every three years).
Do not allow the bush to produce fruit for the first couple of years. Pinch back blossoms, this will help to stimulate growth.
Blueberries will be ready for picking in late July-mid August.
Don’t rush to pick the berries as soon as they turn blue. Wait a couple days. When they are ready, they should fall off right into your hand.
Be aware that full production is reached after about 6 years.
Blueberries are one of the easiest fruits to freeze. Wash, dry thoroughly, and pop them in the freezer in a plastic container with a lid or a plastic bag. You’ll have berries all winter long.