Blueberries

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Ken Anderson, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    A few years ago, I transplanted six blueberry plants of a couple of different varieties on our land up north. Each were within the growing zones, and our land has wild blueberries growing wherever they aren't crowded out by other vegetation. There are wild blueberries within a few feet of them, and the wild plants have berries every year.

    However, while these plants still look healthy, they have never flowered or bore fruit. I am not sure what the problem might be, but I have had similar results with raspberries in another part of the land; and yes, our wild raspberries do well too.
     
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  2. Louise Williams

    Louise Williams Veteran Member
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    Hi Ken. we had 6 blueberry high-bushes and they always produced plenty of blue berries. there also were plenty of cultivated blueberries fields around too. We would go and pick our own and pay by the pound for those..
    I did find this for you..maybe it will help..the cultivated blueberries. the small berries,, are what you use for cooking. pies, etc. the high-bush blueberries ,the big berries are good for eating as is.. we use to put them in a small bowl and just sprinkle a little sugar on them and add a little half & half. gosh they were so good. and all blueberries can be frozen in a plastic bag for up to a year.. Hope you have good luck with them this coming new year..!!

    Hello and thanks for your questions. I have included a link to an OSU Extension publication, "Growing Blueberries in Your Home Garden". I think that reading it will help you tremendously. Generally when flowering plants do not bloom as expected too much shade would be the first thing that comes to a gardener's mind so I tend to think that you are correct in suspecting the tree that shades your plants. You did not say how large the tree is. If it is a large tree the roots could also be competing with your blueberries for water and nutrients. I often recommend the thinning of a tree canopy to allow more sun to reach other plants under them so you may want to consider that to try and increase the amount of sunlight reaching your blueberries. The other thing that trees do is harbor birds that can eat all your blueberries. You also said your soil was at a pH of 6 which is still too high for blueberries. Soil pH for blueberries should ideally be between 4.5 and 5.5 for best production. You did not mention drainage but blueberries also require a loamy well drained soil. This is usually achieved with raised beds. The soil water table should be at least 14 inches below the soil surface in which the plants are in. The publication recommends the incorporation of some Douglas fir sawdust prior to planting and the use of this medium to mulch the soil after planting. It recommends 2-3 inches of sawdust. Pine needles can also acidify the soil but might not be as effective as the sawdust. They are not mentioned in the publication. The sawdust can also 'tie up' some of the Nitrogen that you are applying so you may have to apply up to 25% more Nitrogen. Generally in the Willamette Valley we do not need to add Phosphorus or Potassium as our soils generally have adequate amounts of those nutrients. You should be using ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) or urea (46-0-0). Nitrogen for blueberries must be in the form of ammonium as nitrates are not taken up by blueberries. I hope that my comments and this publication can help you solve the issue.
    http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/12202/ec1304.pdf;jsessionid=98C2CE4BD53F7A4C201B2037B441ACC4?sequence=1
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    No, there are no trees shading these blueberries. That reference was to the wild blueberries, which grow throughout the woods wherever there are clearings. The blueberries that I planted are not in shade.
     
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  4. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    A friend gave me some sprouts from her blueberry bushes a few years ago. I Googled "How to grow blueberries in North Carolina" so I could successfully grow them. :D I found the NC agriculture site. I printed 7 or 8 pages of excellent advice. In the end, I dug some holes beside my garden, stuck the sprouts in the holes and put the dirt around them. I put pine straw around them and kept them watered the first summer. Now I have lovely blueberries. Sometimes, it's just dumb luck. :)
     
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  5. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    ....the best laid plans of mice and blueberries! I found a female version of Blueberry Hill, just for you, Shirley! Good job!
     
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  6. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    It's funny because we used to call mulberry as blueberry. All the while, I thought that it's the real blueberry until I saw in S&R a pack of blueberries costing so much. And that hit me with the realization that what we love to pick in artificial forest (in the park) are actually mulberries. Now we have mulberries in our extended garden and this morning my husband trimmed some of them because the branches are encroaching on the side of our house.
     
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  7. Louise Williams

    Louise Williams Veteran Member
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    Loved that song by Loretta and it also reminded me of a small mountain hill in Rome, Maine ,,called ? yep! Blueberry Hill !and yes it did have wild blueberries growing there too.:D
     
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  8. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Blueberry.jpg Blueberry 2.jpg Blueberry 1.jpg

    A treat for the eyes and the taste.
     
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  9. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    Those are beautiful photos Shirley. Here are two excellent articles to answer your question @Ken Anderson . Each article covers different reasons but all good. After reading both articles, the diminishing bee population came to mind. The first article said blueberry plants don't need cross pollination but they do need "Busy bees pollinating". I stopped seeing bees around my garden around 2004. I still don't have any. One year I had a plethora of zucchini and the very next year I had lots of blossoms and not one zucchini.

    Shirley, do you ever see bees around your garden?

    Here are two thorough articles that should answer your question, Ken :
    http://www.michigangardener.com/growing-blueberries-why-didnt-my-bushes-produce-fruit/
    http://www.hortmag.com/plants/fruits-veggies/getting-blueberries-from-blueberry-plants
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Wild blueberry plants only a few feet away are producing.
     
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  11. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    Okay, here are some other ideas:

    ….Don't let your bushes produce fruit too early or it will stunt their growth.

    ….Prune! Blueberry canes between 4-6 years old and 1 to 1 1/2" diameter produce the most fruit. Regular pruning is necessary for a high yield production. Prune the plants when they are dormant (fall to spring). In early spring, you have the advantage of being able to see the canes that were damaged during the winter.

    ….There are a number of diseases that can plague our Michigan blueberries…I assume Maine is similar.

    ….There are different types of blueberry plants and not all produce fruit

    ….Blueberries are very susceptible to early fall and late frosts in the spring

    ….Soil content needs to be acidic and less than a pH of 5.5. Maybe soil differs even if it's close to the other thriving plants (it's possible?)

    …Blueberry plants don't like sitting in water. Soil must have good drainage (throw some sand in it if it doesn't)
     
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  12. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    I've long ago found there is nothing of the farmer in me. I've not been able to raise anything on purpose.
     
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  13. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    Bill…looks like you've raised a wonderful family. That's sure worth a lot more than raising anything else :) Love that picture of you and your granddaughter(?)
     
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  14. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Ken, I've been thinking about why your blueberries don't bear. The plants sold in stores are most likely hybrid like most other plants sold these days. I wonder if they may not be hardy to your zone? The wild ones have grown naturally there and are adapted to the climate.

    Lara, I do still have some bees but not as many as a few years ago. There is a man near here who is a bee keeper. His bees probably visit my flowers and garden.
     
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  15. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    It's good news for you, Shirley, that they don't just mind their own beeswax!;)

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    That's a possibility, but they weren't supposed to be. They are supposed to be blueberries from two different varieties, which are not hybrids, and they are rated for my hardiness zone; and in fact, the plants themselves are doing well. They just never flower or bear fruit. There are bees around, particularly since I planted the lupines nearby but, even before that point, I have wild blueberries throughout the area that are doing well.
     
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  17. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Do any of your neighbors have cultivated blueberries? If they do, ask for a couple of sprouts, Mine have quite a few sprouts that could be transplanted. Set them out near the ones you have and see if they bear. It would be interesting to see what happens. If I remember correctly, mine had berries about three years after I set them out.
     
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  18. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    They may yet produce. It just seems strange that the plants themselves are doing well, but not producing fruit.
     
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  19. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Bees, today, are overworked, and underpaid. They may not have have had time to visit your plants.o_O
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    February means the time to prune blueberries is drawing near, and it is crucial to production of fruit. The article is in today's paper, that's how I know.;)
    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
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  21. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Those are gorgeous pictures, @Shirley Martin.

    I'd love to have berries growing in the yard, but I'm lazy about gardening. It would probably be a waste of money for me to invest in blueberry plants and then forget about them. The spot I had in mind is shaded anyway, so they probably wouldn't do well there. At some point, maybe I can get one for the balcony.
     
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  22. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Thanks for the info, Joe. I will take care of that right away. :D

    Diane, they really don't require much care once you get them established. At least, mine don't get much care. :D They do need full sunshine, though. Actually, I set mine out as much for my birds as I did for myself. They love them. I enjoy picking them right off the bush when I go out to the garden in the early morning. They are my breakfast some mornings when they are in season.
     
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  23. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    1. They are in the sun.
    2. Yes, they are rated for my hardiness zone.
    3. The plants themselves look healthy and have grown in size.
    4. Wild blueberries are doing fine, even in parts of the woods where they get very little sun.
    5. Wild blueberries are doing fine not far from the ones I planted.
    6. There are bees, particularly in my lupines, only a few yards away.
    7. The bees don't really enter into it until there are flowers, and that's the problem -- they don't flower.
    8. They are capable of flowering. They were flowering when I bought them.
     
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  24. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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