Small Blueberry bushes

GreenAdamJuly 29, 2012

I bought a house this year and the previous owners had planted 4 blueberry bushes in the backyard. The bushes get sun all day . They are pretty tiny and have very few leaves. I think out of the 4 plants, there were a total of 12 berries. What should I do to promote growth or is it too late in the season?

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


It would help if we knew where you lived. The directions for up north are very different for those down south.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 3:00PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Did the previous owners just plant them?
I'd probably take off the flowers or fruit next year and give them some nitrogen in the Spring.Not too much to do now. Brady

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 3:04PM
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Here's what I would do, in order.

Remove fruit.
Test pH and correct it with sulfur. Use aluminum sulfate if it's really high and need to bring it down quickly. Don't overuse it as it can be toxic to plants.
Fertilize with ammonium sulfate, although it may be a bit late if you live in a northern zone. You can push late growth, but sometimes will die in harsh winters.

If you are in a northern zone, prepare for spring to push growth via ammonium sulfate. Prune plants in winter, then fertilizer with ammonium sulfate in spring to promote new growth. Remove all flowers next year to allow a year of just vegetative growth. The next year, you can do it again, or if you have sufficient growth on your plants, leave the flowers on. Make sure your pH stays in the correct range, and use minimal fertilizers (mostly ammonium sulfate) from then on. Make sure drainage is very good, and plants don't dry out. Mulch deeply with acidic mulch.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Sorry about not posting the zone, I'm in 5B (Cleveland area).

From what I've heard about the previous owners, they had a lot of different berries and decided to go all blueberry. Right now I just have city provided mulch from the previous years tree trimmings and such.

I'll check out the soil pH and make corrections as needed.

(picture of one of the bushes, top down)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 12:06PM
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The blueberry bush looks healthy to me and has plenty of leaves for it's size. It just looks young. I have ten bushes that are about 4 to 6 feet high now and my regimen is prune in late winter, Fertilize in spring, have a good watering system for them and mulch well. Sometimes I have Caterpillars and spray for that, but I wish my veggies and apple trees were as care free as blues.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 1:17PM
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Agreed, looks good. A picture is worth a thousand words!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Not only do they look healthy, but they look like they have quite a bit of new growth.

Nobody mentioned water. Make sure that the soil never completely dries out but also doesn't stay saturated for any length of time.

If you've been there for months or more, just keep doing what you are dong because they look good.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 6:27PM
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I would say the previous owners planted those bushes when they were sprucing up the yard to sell it. They look very healthy, but were probably just planted within the past year or two.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:10AM
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I just noticed that they are way to close to that fence. Even if those are dwarf bushes. Move them before they get to big.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 9:26AM
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I wouldn't move them, the fence is chain link so light and air circulates around the entire plant. Just prune accordingly, you may have some trouble reaching any berries on the backside though. Moving them will set them back a bit, definitely wait till they are dormant if you do move them.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Yes, those plants look just fine. My advice stills stands. They need a year or so of vegetative growth before allowing them to fruit.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 1:48PM
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I agree, don't move them if you are interested in getting fruit soon and/or are uncertain of what it takes for them to thrive. They are happy now, that is a great starting point.

If you don't want it to grow through the fence, just prune the back of it (when its bigger). In the extreme you could grow it as roughly a half globe shape with anything growing backwards thinned out.

Even if you skipped pruning for a year or two it should be very easy to shape up.

That plant is doing great, I'm sure there are other existing or prospective gardening or landscaping projects in your yard that could use attention or fiddling more than this one that ain't broke.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 7:32PM
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I guess I would agree with John. I have moved my plants from small pots to big pots, big pots to the ground and even moved some from one spot to another and they are growing great. I would definitely move that plant back from the fence, either that or move the fence! lol In four years that plant will be 4' wide and 5' or more tall.

The plants look healthy though. With some ammonium sulf in the spring they will take off. You might check the ph this fall to see where you are's not expensive to do..........10 dollars at my local conservation district. I would also mulch the plants this fall say in late October with several inches of peat and pine bark if you can find it.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:56PM
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