Short-term preparation for a blueberry bed?

Ben E Lou

Garden Ornament
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
137
Reaction score
383
Points
97
Location
Greensboro, NC (7b)
I've read in some places that I should allow up to a full year to get a bed ready for blueberries. However, I'd prefer not to wait that long to get 'em in the ground. I'd like to plant them roughly 2 months from now, in mid-February, so here's what I've done and plan to do.
  1. Sent soil to extension service to be tested for pH, and purchased acidifier in advance of getting results. (My soil pH is around 6.0, I'm fairly sure, but I'll wait for the extension service to confirm that.)
  2. Mowed the area as low as possible, then used my weedeater to remove all remnants of anything in the area.
  3. There's virtually no grass in the area I want to use--just a bunch of weeds--so I put down some weed and feed that allows planting within three weeks of application. (I used the same on the front yard early this fall and successfully overseeded 3 weeks thereafter.) I figure that'll get rid of the sparse/ugly vegetation that's there.
The above items are done. Beyond that, I'm thinking....

4. Mulch the area with pine straw as soon as all this stupid snow melts. (We got roughly 13 inches earlier this week.)
5. Once soil test results come, pull back pine straw, apply acidifier as recommended and till into soil.
6. Wait for February.

I'm going to grow 6 or 8 rabbiteye plants, as they're recommended by my local extension service for this area, and I *might* add a couple of dwarves to the one that I've already bought in a container. Anything else I should be doing, or anything on the list above that looks wrong?

(I'm in zone 7b--Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, in NW Greensboro.)
 

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,439
Reaction score
7,137
Points
377
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
Blueberries can be challenging because they have a shallow root system. If the area is too wet they can drown so it needs to drain well. On the other hand they need a lot of watering because that shallow root system can dry out. Look at the drainage where you want to put them. You might want to build up the soil level a bit so they drain well.

I don't know what your soil looks like and maybe chat with the extension office about it, but I'd till in a bunch of compost along with that acidifer. I can't see compost hurting no matter what kind of soil you have.
 

catjac1975

Garden Master
Joined
Jul 22, 2010
Messages
8,467
Reaction score
7,301
Points
397
Location
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts
I've read in some places that I should allow up to a full year to get a bed ready for blueberries. However, I'd prefer not to wait that long to get 'em in the ground. I'd like to plant them roughly 2 months from now, in mid-February, so here's what I've done and plan to do.
  1. Sent soil to extension service to be tested for pH, and purchased acidifier in advance of getting results. (My soil pH is around 6.0, I'm fairly sure, but I'll wait for the extension service to confirm that.)
  2. Mowed the area as low as possible, then used my weedeater to remove all remnants of anything in the area.
  3. There's virtually no grass in the area I want to use--just a bunch of weeds--so I put down some weed and feed that allows planting within three weeks of application. (I used the same on the front yard early this fall and successfully overseeded 3 weeks thereafter.) I figure that'll get rid of the sparse/ugly vegetation that's there.
The above items are done. Beyond that, I'm thinking....

4. Mulch the area with pine straw as soon as all this stupid snow melts. (We got roughly 13 inches earlier this week.)
5. Once soil test results come, pull back pine straw, apply acidifier as recommended and till into soil.
6. Wait for February.

I'm going to grow 6 or 8 rabbiteye plants, as they're recommended by my local extension service for this area, and I *might* add a couple of dwarves to the one that I've already bought in a container. Anything else I should be doing, or anything on the list above that looks wrong?

(I'm in zone 7b--Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, in NW Greensboro.)
Ask neighbors who are gardeners. The old saying os dig a $10. hole for a #2. bush. Did a giant hole and add compost, manure, and anything available. Mix the native soil back into the hole before you plant. I have about 6 different types so I get a long berry season. Also there are tall bush and ground berries. Make sure you get what is right for your zone.
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
8,335
Reaction score
6,966
Points
327
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
as much organic material you can use they're happier. friend in FL says they grow them there in shredded tree bark perched on top of their alkaline soils. so it is possible... :) i haven't grown any here myself so i can only pass along second-hand information.
 

Ben E Lou

Garden Ornament
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
137
Reaction score
383
Points
97
Location
Greensboro, NC (7b)
Oops. Left that out. I've been doing a lot of composting on my own, and the City Of Greensboro provides a full truck load of compost for $20 as well. I definitely intend to till compost into the entire blueberry area. (I have a roughly 16x18 space marked out for blueberries.)

@catjac1975 Yes, I'm buying the plants from a local blueberry farm that's only about 15 miles away from my house, and everything I've read from the extension service about blueberries indicates that rabbiteyes are by far the best choice for my location.
 

thistlebloom

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
16,383
Reaction score
16,976
Points
457
Location
North Idaho 48th parallel
Blueberries are great! As Ridge pointed out, their root systems are shallow and netted so cultivating around them, or letting them dry out will spell doom.

My climate and soil are probably as different as you can get from yours. I have grown them in the ground and I have grown them in half barrels, and for me the barrels work best. I can control the soil better, and they probably get watered more consistently because they are off my patio.
That's just my situation here, you will probably have great success in the ground.

But here's a warning - blueberries can be very addicting!
 

Rhodie Ranch

Garden Master
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Messages
2,514
Reaction score
2,808
Points
313
Location
Southern Oregon
Easy to grow if you use peat moss (or equivalent) and keep the pH right after that. We planted 5 blueberry bushes here and 4 are thriving! I'm weird. I don't care for fresh blueberries. But hubs did.
 

baymule

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
14,701
Reaction score
18,947
Points
427
Location
Northeast Texas
Since there are some real nice blueberry farms nearby, I let them do all the upkeep and go pay-to-pick. We planted 2 peach trees-still living and produced a few peaches last spring. We planted 2 plum trees-died. We planted a pear and apricot tree, still living, have produced nothing so far. Planted 2 almond trees, one is living. I had a fig tree to plant, puppy wanted the plastic container, dumped it out, chewed up tree and container, it is dead. :he He did the same thing to the blackberries I bought. :he We planted a loquat tree, it is growing, doing well, so far no blooms or fruit.

We pick wild plums from the fencerows around here and make wild plum jam. I don't even want to plant a plum tree any more, the marble sized wild ones make the BEST jam!

In August we found a great patch of elderberries on the side of the road and picked lots of them. I made elderberry syrup and canned it. Also made an elderberry pie that was to die for. I'm going to cut some canes in the early spring, root and plant them here.
 

Latest posts

Top