Something new for me....blueberries


#1

Apples, stone fruits, paw paw, persimmon,citrus,now blueberries. Bought 4 yesterday, planted in the ground today, going to get 3 more sometimes soon I hope. Not easy to dig a good size ditch, more rocks than dirt, bought a bale of peat and big bag of compost and a pile of oak hips 3 or 4 years old, plenty of oak leaves. I am good to go.


#2

Pine is better. some elemental sulfur and holly tone and they will be very happy.


#3

Have pine needles also, I don’t think I have a problem. Just don’t know what varieties is good for my area, will see and wait.


#4

Everyone (well, Lots and lots of people) say to use Pine Needles, so when I planted my blueberries, I actually went under my pine trees with a shovel and dug up lots of rotten pine needles and very top 1/2 inch of dirt, then collected lots of freshly fallen needles as well. I didn’t just mulch my blueberries with this material…I actually put all that Pine organic matter in my blueberry holes first, then set my potted berries on top, then dumped the pine needle mulch and the newer (but dead) pine needles all around the root ball of my blueberries from the bottom of the hole to the top, all the way around the root ball… Finally, I put a very large, 4 inch layer of these rotten pine needles, the dirt that was under them (which I’m sure was mostly just decomposed pine needles) and the newer needles all around my blue berries. Left them for 3 years like that and they did awful. I was adding more needles - rotten and new fallen- all the time. Nothing. It wasn’t until I did exactly what @lordkiwi just said that my blue berries started to take off, look healthy, and do well.

My point is, no matter how many tell people tell me (and you!) how pine needles will acidify the soil and make your blueberries happy, I’m not buying it. I don’t know how alkaline my soil is, so maybe I just have a terrible case. But still, to hear most people tell it the pine needles would still fix it. Its one of those deals where I have to trust my eyes more than other people’s words. I tell you all this just to say, don’t rely too much on pine needles- get the sulfur and holly tone! Hope this post will warn others who may come here in the future.


#5

Cityman, I do have a big supply of Espoma holly tone that I use for my Jaboticaba tree’s, these tree’s are somewhat similar to blueberries Sulver, I don’t have. This is just my second days going into growing these berries, have a decent background in solving possible problems.
Citrus likes acidic fertilizers too.
This nursery close by just carry 4 varieties, Duke, Blue ray, couple others, a dozen of each. A little over a foot high. $12.95 each, not bad.
They all are multi stems, one had more than a dozen flowers, which I cut of.


#6

When I first started growing blueberries they all dropped their leaves and died, I planted them directly into native soil and added too much acidic fertilizer and sulfur near the surface. This is a big no no. I later read what Drew51 suggested and now three years later have very healthy and productive plants. I dug a big hole, added a lot of peat moss (almost 1 bale), mixed in some native soil along with some sulfur and acidic fertilizer. This must be mixed evenly. Planting was done after soil prep. They like a pH of around 5. This should be checked every couple of months. Watering with about 5% apple cider vinegar added will help maintain the desired soil pH. Now they are doing great! If you live in a wet environment, they should be grown in a raised planter.


#7

Rich , a bale for one plant, seems like overkill. Am I reading it right?


#8

I planted several varieties in the hole and for better pollination.1/4 bale per plant should work.


#9

Thanks Rich, I didn’t use that much but can add more and also use 100 0/0 organic Compost.


#10

Sounds like you have it under control, aap.

Go for it.

And, you can try a couple of the “Rabbiteye” kind of blueberries also in Arkansas.


#11

Thanks, I try these 4 for this year, if they grow the way it should, i,ll might-expend.


#12

Yeah it’s a myth. Now pine bark will, but not pine needles! And when things compost they usually become basic. Exceptions are peat and pine bark. Many mentioned success with peat, add pine bark too if you can. It lasts a long time. My mixes are either 2-1 pine bark and peat or 1-1 depending on what I have. I prefer 2-1.
I would use pine needles and pine needle compost as mulch.

I read a study where they tried straight peat, straight pine bark and mixed pine bark with peat at 2-1 ratio. The latter out performed the others, so it is what I do. All worked!! I do add a 1/2 part of DE the size of perlite. It is about neutral, but holds water and keeps soil mosit but not wet longer. With saturation DE acts like perlite and moves excess water out. It helps soil retain water longer without ever pooling the water. Great stuff all around. A fantastic rooting media too! I have about 30 fig cuttings rooting in pure DE right now.


#13

You need to take a look at well landscaped places in S.Carolina and Georgia…and you’ll know that pine needles are mighty fine mulch. And fine for blueberries. (But, if you have to ship pine needles 500 miles…the cost is the issue.)


#14

Drew, a lot of help here. I am close to what you are doing, got all the ingredients. And btw, the fig sions starting to show growth, the bigger stick is doing better, so thanks again.
Have anybody ever heard of a blueberry plant called, Bonus? Bought one, but still better than Bogus.


#15

Bob,
The easiest way to see if your native soil is acidic is to check if your hydrengia bush has blue flowers (if you grow hydrengia). My have always pale blue, almost white. So, I know my soil is not blueberry-friendly.

My soil is not acidic enough and my tap water is high ph, a bad combination for blueberry growing. I know about pine bark, peat moss, element sulfur, ammonium sulfate, battery acid, vinegar, etc. After 5 years of growing in-ground blueberries, it was an uphill battle to keep my blueberries happy.

In the end, I gave mine to my friends. They have thrived in her more acidic soil and lower ph water. She gave me some of the blueberries. Not a bad deal.

I recall you have a humongous container of rain water, too. With the correct planting media, soil amendment, fertilizer and water, I think you will be successful in blueberry planting. Good luck.


#16

Thanks Tippy, always good to hear from you: Tips from Tippy!


#17

Now it’s interesting and Kevin and I have discussed a bit about our blueberries before. We have experienced drastically different results with blueberries and we live within 50 miles of each other. My blueberry patch has 22 bushes and has been amazing. The key for me without question has been the type. For my area it’s Rabbiteyes and specifically Climax and Premier types.
I tried Northern and Southern bushes and even hybrids and they all failed.

With the rabbiteyes, heavy pine needles and 2-3 doses of cottonseed meal my blueberry bushes are over 7-8 feet tall and absolutely loaded once again with 1000s of berries coming in. The best part is they didn’t get any damage from the freeze that killed every pear, peach, mulberry and plum I had.

Love my blueberries!! Most important thing you can do @aap is get correct type. Find the right type, use pine needles and cottonseeed meal and I believe anyone can hit a high success rate with em.
I’ll post pics soon.


#18

Great,like to see a couple pictures of your setup, got to be good.


#19

Here is the thread I started three years ago. I’ll update some pics soon.


#20

Aap, I just planted my third Bonus blueberry today. They were listed as zone 3, so I figure they should be reliable here, even if they don’t turn out to be the cat’s meow in other aspects.