Establish a Blueberry Bush: Plant, Water and Fertilze
A blueberry bush is a long living, fruit bearing, and ornamental plant. It is an easy fruit to grow with beneficial antioxidants for good health. In order to establish a bush, there are a few key points to consider when plantin, watering, and fertilizing the plant.
Step 1-Preparing the Soil for Blueberry Bush
Blueberries need full sun exposure to flourish, but they can tolerate partial shade. It takes three years for a blueberry bush to produce fruit. Blueberries thrive in acidic, well drained, loose soil mixed with organic matter. Organic matter is important to the blueberry’s healthy growth because it improves the aeration of the soil and locks in moisture. Standing water around a blueberry bush can damage the plant’s roots so be careful to plant in an area that provides for good drainage. Organic matter can consist of compost, grass clippings, manure or leaves. Do not use red maple or beech leaves for organic material. Mix the organic matter in the top four to six inches of the soil.
Step 2-Blueberries Need Acidic Soil
The blueberry bush needs soil with a pH level ranging from 4.0 to 4.8. Without the proper pH level in the soil the blueberry bush cannot absorb water or nutrients. A soil test will tell you determine the pH and nutrient levels in the soil.
If a ph level is high, add powdered sulfur to lower it to a good range. Once sulfur is mixed into the soil, allow two to six months to lower the pH to the right range. Do not continue to add sulfur to the soil into the fall before the spring planting of the blueberry bush. The amount of sulfur applied to the soil depends on the soil type and pH level.
Step 3-Planting a Blueberry Bush
Plant a blueberry bush in the spring, before the buds appear. Dig a hole 18 inches wide and deep. Put one gallon of peat moss in the hole, place plant in the hole and fill in with soil. Place mulch around the plant to keep in moisture and prohibit weeds. Slowly decomposing mulch such as saw dust, salt hay, wood chips, oak leaf compost or clean straw can be used. The depth of the mulch should be several inches and replenished yearly. When planting more than one blueberry bush space four feet apart.
Step 4-Watering Blueberries
Blueberries are sensitive to water fluctuations due to their shallow roots so it needs one inch of water a week. In drought conditions, the blueberry plant may need more water.
Step 5-Fertilizing a Blueberry Bush
After new growth appears on the blueberry bush, apply ¼ pound of a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Repeat the same amount of fertilizer the second year. In the following years add ¼ pound in March and ¼ pound in May.