Blueberry suggestions for zone 5

edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)April 20, 2011

I live in upstate NY, just north of Syracuse in zone 5. This year I'd like to grow 3 half-high Blueberry bushes, early, mid, and late season. I did a brief search, and came up with suggestions like Patriot or Duke for early, Bluecrop or Blueray for mid, and Elliot or Aurora for late. These were suggested to someone in zone 5 in IL. How do these sound? Any additional suggestions? Thanks. Ed

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riverman1

I live in zone 7 but it gets down around zero here every winter for several weeks. I have Reka, northcountry, and chippewa that are all doing fine in large pots. I don't even bring them in when winter comes and the soil freezes hard as a rock and they live thorugh it. I think Chippewa gets about 4' and the northcountry is shorter than that so you might consider these two. The reka gets taller. I also have some chandler, duke, and bluecrop but they are new plants to me so I can't comment. Oh, I should mention that I do put about 6 inches of leaves on the soil in the fall to provide some buffer from the cold but again the soil still freezes.

RM

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 10:57AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Thanks for the suggestions. This is my first time growing them and I plan on growing mine in pots also, but my winters are much colder. -20F, and sometimes below freezing for weeks at a time. I'm assuming I'll have to bring them in or the soil in the pots will freeze solid for 2 months. I have a $50 credit for Gurney's, and I also have a large garden center nearby that probably has a decent selection. I'll probably visit the garden center this week.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 12:16PM
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riverman1

Ed,

Buy some large pots, at least 15 inch and fill them completely with peat moss and you can't go wrong. Peat has an ideal ph of about 5 that blueberries love. Water the pots really heavy before planting so that the peat all gets wet then keep them most after planting. Here I have to water every day in the summer, we get highs in the 90s for a couple months but I don't know how hot it gets where you are. Put the pots in full sun and they will do great. My plants in pots are starting their third year and doing really well, growing fast and healthy. In the winter you can move the pots into a garage or shed. If that isn't possible, you can put chicken wire around the pots then fill the space with leaves and also put leaves on top of the soil.

I pasted a link to a picture of one of my plants at the link below.

RM

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 1:01PM
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skimmton_chi

Riverman- is that a "container" sized blueberry? If not, will you have to move it to a larger pot? I'd love to grow some.

Edweather- everyone around Chicago says you have to put them in pots and move them at least to a garage. That may be due to our soil as well (clay). Is yours more acidic? Between that and having to have 2-3 different varieties, I'm not sure I'll take the plunge this year. I was under the impression that you had to have different varieties at the same time b/c of pollination? Or is it just to have constant bluberries?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:05PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Today I briefly visited the nursery. The weather was brutal, very windy and cold w/flurries.....yikes! So I didn't spend much time there. But the nursery was awesome. Acres of plants and several different kinds of blueberries. They looked to be 2 year plants. I remember seeing Patriot, Blue ray, Blue Crop, Jersey, and Northland. The prices were about $25. I want to go back when I have more time and really check them out.

Yes, from what I've heard, I need at least 2 different cultivars, which would be about perfect for me to start out with.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 8:13PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

I would really apprecieate it if someone would please tell me a brand of peat moss that doesn't have nitrate nitrogen in it? I can't find one.

Thanks,

Vivian

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 12:51AM
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riverman1

Here (in Washington state) we get bales that say "canadian spagmum peat moss" in 20 or 50 pound sizes. The 50 pound size is about 15 dollars or so. I don't remember seeing one that included nitrogen. If you can't find peat, fir bark or pine bark will also work. Try to get the stuff that is fine, not in big chunks. I buy it here at our local nursery by the scoop and they dump it into my truck. Its cheap, like $12 for a huge scoop.

RM

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 1:01AM
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