Blueberries

thejonstewartJanuary 31, 2008

What types of blueberries have people had luck with in Zone 7 (I'm in northern VA)? The southern high bush variety would seem best for this area, but a post from a few years ago talked about people growing northern high bush. I just worry that we don't get cold enough for the northern variety. Thanks in advance.

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rian(7va)

I planted my first high bush blueberries in northern Va, Vienna, about 25 years ago. I did a lot of research (mostly results of trials conducted by Rutgers) and chose the variety Ivanhoe, ordering from a well-known, well-thought-of supplier. As an afterthought I also ordered a couple of $1.50 "bushes" from one of the cheap places that advertise in the back of magazines and get terrible customer service reviews, Bluecrop and Earlyblue.

You can probably guess what happened. A few years down the road the expensive Ivanhoes were a real disappointment compared to the cheapies which were huge, spreading monsters producing quarts of delicious blueberries. Unfortunately, I think the cheap supplier did not give me what I ordered. As near as I can figure I recieved two Bluecrops or possibly even two Bluerays which he also offered.

I eventually removed the Ivanhoes and last year planted some Dukes which are supposed to do well in our area. This year I've ordered Elizabeth and Kabluey just as a lark, but I expect to get most of our blueberries from our old standbys the Bluewhatevers and their many descendants.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 9:22AM
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thejonstewart

Thanks. I was thinking of ordering some expensive ones I saw online, but saw some cheap Bluecrop at the Home Depot. I think I may experiment with some cheap ones this year to see how they do. If I'm successful, I can always some others.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 8:56AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

" I just worry that we don't get cold enough for the northern variety."

The northern highbush blueberry, native to eastern North America, grows from Nova Scotia and Ontario south to Alabama, and west to Wisconsin.

The University of Maryland recommends the following highbush blueberry varieties for growing in Maryland: bluecrop, bluetta and blueray. These varieties will do well throughout the area. The best growth and fruit production occurs in acid soils of pH 5.0 with plenty of moisture and organic matter. It's best to prepare the soil well ahead of time.

I have bluecrop, blueray, o'neal, duke, climax, powderblue and sunshine blue. I planted them nearly 4 yrs ago and all have done well so far. I do believe they suffered from the drought last summer but I'll know more about that when they leaf out this spring. I've decided I want to get more of the sunshine blue. They aren't as picky about PH as the others and they produce a large tasty berry. Also, they're smaller plants at only 4x4' and they're very ornamental holding their foliage until well into winter. I planted powder blue because I think it's such a beautiful plant. If it produces decent berries that's a real plus

You might want to check out the "fruit & orchard" forum here at gardenweb. There's a number of people from Maryland who post there. Many of them grow blueberries.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blueberry varieties

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 9:42AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

It just occurred to me that you live in NOVA. Still, your climate is very similiar to ours and would still apply.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 2:20PM
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d_r_king(7)

Is it too early to plant blueberries now in Silver Spring, MD? I've also see the bluecrop plants and am thinking of putting them in, but the label says to plant after the last chance of frost, which is still a ways off. I'd think the plants could survive snow given that they live here year round, but perhaps they've been babied in the store and the quick change would damage them...

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 10:43AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

As long as you can dig the hole it should be fine to plant them.

Have you already adjusted the PH?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 5:59PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

I have three unknown bushes - all different and I can say this: my latest-season producer is affected by Japanese beetles. You have a better chance of getting your fruit if you plant varieties that are mostly done before mid July.

Also, the birds in my area like the berries from one of my bushes but those produced by either of the other two. This year, I'm planning to take out the one the birds like (I'll relocate it for them if I can get it out of the ground OK) and replace it with Toro.

Maybe I'll hop over to HD to see what's there.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 11:39AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Leslie, I've never been troubled with JB on blueberries. And I have plenty of JB! As for birds, I use bird netting.
Last year I had a goldfinch that got caught in the netting. I used a heavy glove and a pair of scissors to set him free.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 8:31AM
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doinfin

We are new to the area and the climate is much colder than we are accustomed! I have 5 new blueberry bushes (2 Sparten, 2 Blueray, 1 Bluecrop) and due to being inside the store they have sprouted leaves. Will they be alright if I plant them now? Also will the county extension agent test my ph for me? If not where or how do I get this done? Thanks for the help!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 8:16PM
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janiebird(7)

I planted Bluecrop and Blueray in big pots...in nothing but peat moss because they love acid "soil". The grower I bought them from told me to do it this way and they are wonderfully happy 4-5 ft bushes with lots of production.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 10:11PM
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dgs9r(z7 Baltimore, MD)

Janiebird,
what size pots did you use for the blueberries?
thnaks

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:27AM
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janiebird(7)

My blueberries came from the grower in 14 inch pots so I used 20 inch pots, not clay, some sort of fiberglass material.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 10:37PM
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janiebird(7)

Hi all, I just bought a very full nicely flowering Brigitta Blueberry bush from one of the wholesale places yesterday for around 20 bucks. Does anyone have experience with this variety? Now I have 4 kinds in big pots and they are looking very strong and healthy! I can't wait!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 2:25PM
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krispe_hotmail_com

Hello. We're looking to plant some blueberries -- Just one or two but hopefully the tastiest ones we can get (that are suitable for this region). We're leaning heavily toward partially self-fertile half-high varieties (e.g. chippewa or northcountry). I wondered if we also planted some lowbush blueberries nearby, would it provide adequate cross-pollination for a mid-season half-high plant? I also thought that might be helpful in dealing with birds -- We'll use bird netting on the half-high, but they can have free access to the lowbush fruits.

Previously we grew blueberries in a completely raised bed in NoVA, but we ended up moving before we could reach a "harvest" year. The bushes were doing reasonably well, so I think we can muddle through the issues of soil amendments & watering needs. My main interest now is choosing really excellent varieties of plants.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 4:34PM
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