How to Care for Highbush Blueberries
Providing for Moisture: Good drainage is important since the fine root system needs adequate aeration. Water covering the soil for more than 3-4 days during the growing season is harmful and dangerous to the roots. It is equally important that the roots do not dry out and this is best assured with soil high in organic matter. Set your plants where they will get the most sun.
DO NOT PLANT IN SOIL THAT HAS BEEN LIMED & DO NOT USE MANURE OF ANY KIND
Preparing the soil: The degree of success is closely related to the level of organic matter in the soil. The higher the better. In soils low in organic matter, 2 shovels full of MOIST peat moss , worked well into the base of the soil at planting time will be very beneficial. This organic matter is vital not only for its moisture holding capacity but because it assists in making the essential nutrients available to the plants.
Planting: Highbush Blueberry roots are extremely fine and dry out very quickly when exposed. Plants should be set 2 inches below the level at which they were previously planted. This can be determined by looking at the base of the stock. Plants should be set minimum of 4' apart and actually we found that 5-6' would be better especially if you want to mow around the plants.
Fertilizer can be 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 at the rate of one ounce per plant the first year and two ounces the second year etc.. It was always suggested to use an Urea fertilizer for blueberries. For the first two years keep off all blossoms to build up the health and strength of your plants. Be patient, you'll be glad you waited.
Cultivating: The Highbush Blueberry roots are shallow, so cultivation should be shallow and only enough to control weeds. WE also spray around our plants with Gromoxine, it is very safe to spray around numerous plants( as far as hurting the plants are concerned) and only kills the weeds but of course hand weeding is the best.
Mulching: Mulching for the home gardener with material such as OLD sawdust and wood chips is valuable. For the first year, apply mulch after you have fertilized. Add 3-4" of mulch yearly as it will decompose adding valuable nutrients to the soil. Happy Harvesting, mature bushes should produce 10-15 pints a year.