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What size box for blueberries?

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What size box for blueberries?

Post  retired member 2 on 6/6/2011, 9:08 pm

I have 3 blueberry bushes I planted 3 years ago in regualr raised beds. They are not thriving at all. I want to replant them this fall in MM. each in its own SFG box. What size box will each bush need?

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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  milaneyjane on 6/6/2011, 9:11 pm

MM might not be the best for your blueberries. They prefer a sandy enriched acidic growing site. You also need more than one type of blueberry. I would check your soil.

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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  milaneyjane on 6/6/2011, 9:12 pm

http://www.hardygardening.com/HOW_TO_GROW_BLUEBERRIES.html It talks about raised beds for blueberries.

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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/6/2011, 10:42 pm

I can't imagine it working long-term, but I read dozens of times that blueberries do well in a mound of straight peat moss. I wouldn't waste valueable SFG space on a bush that gets fairly big over the years....big compared to typical SFG stuff.

I would give them a dedicated space and prep it per planting instructions I read specifically for blueberries.

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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  retired member 2 on 6/6/2011, 10:50 pm

That is what I was thinking, maybe I didn't convey that in it'idea in my original post. Each blueberry bush in it's own SFG. But I am not sure what size it should be and how I could make MM acidic enough for them to flourish?

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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  CindiLou on 6/6/2011, 10:53 pm

Usually a blueberry won't do well in soil that the ph is to neutral. They like acidic..around 4.5 to 5.
I did a lot of research before I planted mine. So this is my first year so I am still a blueberry beginner.
I planted mine in a raised bed but not MM! I used topsoil instead of compost. I am hoping the peat most lowers the ph. I guess you are actually supposed to prepare the ground the year before so you can do the adjusting. They say 3' apart so I put 3 in a 4x4 box in a V pattern. Just an experiment so if it doesn't work I'll add compost next year and plant veggies lol...

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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  westie42 on 6/6/2011, 11:26 pm

I agree they are acid lovers. I have tried them a couple times with no success even though I bought and used all the Gurney recommended supplements. My friends son close by has his in an old dog kennel because year around the rabbits will destroy them till you are in tears and total anger. He uses some pin oak leaves and heavily mulches them full time to build acid soil. I thought about that and used pine needles which obviously failed. His are shoulder tall and produce heavily. Mine are about half the height of the rabbits why rip them to shreds. I thought I had provided reasonable protection but sure didn't. Better luck with yours. Let me add that rabbits can definitely be a problem.

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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  jymarino on 6/7/2011, 12:08 am

I bought three blueberry plants from a blueberry farm in KC last April. The instructions were very specific on how to plant them. I have learned that blueberries are very particular and yes rabbits are a very big pest.

Here are some of the instructions I was given:


[size=16]Blueberries grow just as well next to your house as in the garden. They prefer a clay soil.

Select a very sunny location with easy access to water. Space plants 3' feet apart for a hedge or 4' feet apart if you want to walk around the plant.

Blueberries are self-pollinating. For optimal cross-pollination, blueberries require at least 2 plants be it the same variety or a different variety. Blueberry plants grow to 5 feet in height and 3 feet wide and live for 30 years.



Dig a hole 20” inches in diameter by 15” inches deep. Remove all the native soil. Re-fill entire hole with 1.8 cubic feet of Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss purchased in “bales” at Lowe’s or Home Depot stores. Mix peat moss thoroughly with 5-7 gallons of water usually in a wheelbarrow until all peat moss turns dark brown with the consistency of thick mud. Make hole in peat moss.The top of the blueberry root ball should be level to the native soil line. Do not put any native soil in or on top of this hole filled with moist peat moss. We do recommend staking the plants if needed the first growing season. After that time, the plants should be sufficiently rooted to not need staking again. Blueberries mature at 6-7 years of age looking like a ornamental hedge plant 4-5 feet tall and 3 feet wide.[size=16]Your welcome to shape or prune the plants whenever you would like.We do not recommend pruning the plants until they are 9-10 years old. Apply fertilizer and mulch as described below.



Watering & Mulch

Water a minimum of 3-5 gallons per plant 2X per week during the growing season when high daily temps are over 70 degrees F. Blueberries like to stay moist but not soggy. If leaf tips & edges turn brown in heat wave, try deep root watering at 10 inches deep for 2 minutes per plant 1X weekly. Each plant needs a 2’X 2’ area of thick mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds. We recommend landscape fabric and/or a 3-5 inch layer of sawdust, decorative rock, woodchips or cypress bark or any other abundant mulch available.
Fertilizing

Mix 2 tablespoons of Miracle Grow for Acid Loving Plants or generic version into a 1-gallon of water. Apply (1) gallon of fertilized water to each plant 1X per month from March - August. Apply the fertilized water in a 6 inch ring around the base of each plant. If blueberry leaves have red spots or are smaller than a half-dollar coin by the start of summer then add an extra bucket of fertilized water that particular month. For organic fertilization use Holly Tone at a rate of 1 cup or Horse manure tea (5 parts water to 1 part manure) 1X per month March - August.

Pests
Blueberry plants are seldom bothered by bugs or diseases that require a spray here in Kansas City . If rabbits are prevalent, use a 1-foot high fence around each plant until plants are at least 4 years old. If birds or deer are prevalent, use fruit netting. We recommend using 1/2 inch square black plastic netting called "fruit netting" that you can purchase at Lowes or Home Depot. We drape the netting over the plants and let is drag on the ground. We start netting when the first berry turns blue and then take the netting off when the fruit has been picked.




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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  CindiLou on 6/7/2011, 12:28 am

@westie42 wrote:I agree they are acid lovers. I have tried them a couple times with no success even though I bought and used all the Gurney recommended supplements. My friends son close by has his in an old dog kennel because year around the rabbits will destroy them till you are in tears and total anger. He uses some pin oak leaves and heavily mulches them full time to build acid soil. I thought about that and used pine needles which obviously failed. His are shoulder tall and produce heavily. Mine are about half the height of the rabbits why rip them to shreds. I thought I had provided reasonable protection but sure didn't. Better luck with yours. Let me add that rabbits can definitely be a problem.


Pin oak leaves are no problem for me to get lol...I will try that! Rabbits are no problem in my yard! I have three cats that have adopted me over the years and they regularly bring me gift of baby bunnies! Haven't seen a rabbit have the nerve to come the yard in a long time. Plus have a 13 yr old cockerpoo that loves to chase them if given a chance. Mine are in a raised bed so I hope that will help!

I was told that Iowa soil is TOO good for blueberries so we have to mess it up rofl...

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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  westie42 on 6/7/2011, 12:50 am

Well for clarity let me add that rabbits do most of their damage in the winter months when we and our fur kids are not guarding the plants. Also that fellow had his pin oak leaves almost nee deep clear across the kennel and it looked unsightly but was very effective. He mostly can harvest by reaching over the 4' chain link. Next week when I'm there I will visit his blueberry patch and give details of anything new and even try for a picture if they are still as impressive as last summers were.

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Re: What size box for blueberries?

Post  CindiLou on 6/7/2011, 1:14 am

Humm rabbit in the winter. Yup had them eat off a flowering almond it's first winter. Now I put hardware cloth cages around new shrubs and trees. I will make a note in my journal to add my blueberries to the list!

I have an extra 6 inches in the box they are in. I will see if that will be deep enough.

Thanks for the info!

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