blueberries and pears

greif(Wisconsin z 4)January 17, 2010


what would be the best varrites of blueberries and pears to plant in wisconsin, fox valley area , zone 4

are there any self pollenating pears?


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greif---I used to live in Green Bay & I know there are many areas in the Fox Valley, especially if you are on the east side of US 41, that are over a limestone formation that makes your soil very alkaline (pH above 7). As a result, I remember that the Brown Co. Hort. agent said the only good way to grow blueberries (an acid lover--soil pH below 5)was to grow them in pots. You may want to do a little checking with your Co Ext. office to see what the conditions are in your area, maybe do a soil test & see if you can grow bb in the ground in your garden. The Ext. office would also be able to give some cultivar recommendatios for your area. Larry

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:32PM
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Its possible to amend alkaline soil, sitting over a limestone bedrock, to lower soil pH, and successfully grow blueberries. But, if you were intending to water your shrubs with well-water, that is pumped from an underground limestone formation, then the pH problems multiply, because you are raising soil pH every time you water. On the other hand, if you are able to set up some sort of rainwater catchment, and use this water on your blueberries, chances of success increase.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 9:06PM
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As opposed to a pot, you could also do raised beds. Lots of compost in the hole and pine needle mulch on top.
Blueberries are pretty shallow rooted in my opinion. I transplant fairly old specimans(10+ yrs.) sometimes and only once did I wish I could have gotten deeper than shovel depth for the root ball.

Plenty of surface area for roots to spread under the mulch is what they thrive on, I believe. What is your actual pH?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 8:22AM
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Here in Madison, Wisconsin, our soil tests pH = 7.6. Our tap water also tests pH = 7.6, and de-liming the kitchen sink is a recurring issue. Our teakettle will go about 2 weeks before it needs de-liming. We have blueberries, and I manage to keep them green, but it takes some fussing. Its a lot easier to grow raspberries in our yard.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 5:56PM
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Yeah, blueberries are difficult. You'll need peat moss and soil sulfur to make it work. And protection from rabbits. I've got the soil decent, but the rabbits love eating my plants so I haven't had much luck.

As for pears, I bought a 4 in 1 pear tree from Raintree so I didn't have to worry about pollination. I've only had it a year but it looks good so far.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 8:49PM
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I forgot to mention the rabbits. We get considerable damage to our blueberry shrubs from rabbits, every winter. This year I sprayed the exposed canes with "bitter apple" solution, the stuff you can buy to keep the dog from chewing on furniture. This did not deter the rabbits. I have switched to "hot pepper" solution, which is claimed to repel both rabbits and deer. Incredibly, I found deer tracks in our yard a few weeks ago, for the first time. And sure enough, the tracks led right up to our blueberry shrubs. But the deer must have been disappointed, because the rabbit had already visited those shrubs. We do have some shrubs buried in deep snow, and so far, they are in good shape.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 10:54AM
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I have been growing four blueberry bushes for about 5 years now. The soil here is alkaline. I planted the bushes in a raised bed. Before and after planting I amended the soil with sulphur, aluminum sulfate, iron, peat moss, pine needles, and Muracid, being careful to not overdo it and kill the plants. My hand held ph tester only has a needle going from low to high. I continually need to keep amending the PH of the soil as it keeps sinking to the alkaline area.

I water with Lake Michigan water, which is where our city water comes from.

I put a circle of hardware cloth fence around each bush to protect from rabbits, and then a year later I fenced the entire garden but left the circular fence to hold the pine needles. I also net the bushes to keep the birds off the fruit.

I have Jersey, Elliot, Northland, and Patriot varieties of blueberries. They are not fast growing plants. Last year I finally harvested enough to freeze some berries. I am optimistic for this year. The average height now is about three to four feet and the width is about 2.5 feet. I have them in a semi-sunny area. Autumn color is red-orange.

I have attempted to propagate them using softwood cuttings, failing soundly except for one small Northland plant. I hope it made it through the winter.

I have a Bartlett Pear tree that is about 35 years old. The fruit is delicious, with juicy, sweet fruit. The tree bears heavily. Every fall I bring buckets of pears to my neighbors, friends and family. I do not know what pollinates it as I have only that one tree. The tree is showing signs of hollow branches, and ants coming out of the trunk, and woodpeckers drilling many holes too. I have been trying to root some cuttings, for old timeÂs sake. If I should be so lucky to get little trees, I will let them grow on their own roots.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 11:14PM
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