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Blueberry bushes as landscaping shrubs?

Posted by canokie 7a (OK) (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 28, 12 at 11:59

Hello,

I originally posted this over in the Landscaping forum but didn't get many responses, and it was suggested that I try some of the more specific forums.

I have read in numerous books, articles, websites about edible landscaping that blueberry bushes are very attractive landscaping shrubs. However, when I go online to try to find pictures, I am not having any luck. I have never seen a full grown blueberry bush, only the little bushes at the nursery, so I'm trying to visualize what they would look like in a landscaped setting.

Has anyone here incorporated blueberry bushes into their landscape (especially front yard) and if so, how did it work out? Two cultivars that I am particularly interested in are Sunshine Blue and Bountiful Blue, both smaller southern highbush that are often recommended for landscaping. Both of these varieties are supposed to get about 3'x3', have more blue green leaves, and tend to be evergreen in warmer climates.

If anybody has pictures they can share, or details on how they incorporated these shrubs into their landscape, I would really appreciate it!
Thanks,
Shelley


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Blueberry bushes as landscaping shrubs?

I just happened to be passing through and, seeing this, HAD to comment. I live in Utah, and since we just bought this house some four months ago, I was excited to start gardening and landscaping(though husband said not this year, first need to pull the other stuff out first. lol ;) ). I also heard this, and, loving the idea of bushes that looked cute and were useful, was planning on doing it. Until I talked to the local nursery.

APPARENTLY, blueberries demand acidic soil. In Utah, we have clay type soil, which is alkaline. They said, were I to try to grow blueberries, I'd probably have to add stuff to make the soil acidic at least once or twice a year. Even saying that they sounded like the conversation was done. Not in a rude way, but in a, "I know you're new to this stuff, so with our years of experience, we're trying to save you tears and frustration." haha But yeah, they said they(being a few people I've talked to), hadn't really known anyone who kept blueberries going around here.

SOO...my point is, know what kind of soil you have first, and then go from there. Another I had dreamed about was cranberries, as they can be a pretty ground cover, or trained to fences. They too are pretty by holding berries into winter, so you see the red against the white snow. But they too demand acidic soil. Just some advice from someone whose dream was broken. heh ;)


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RE: Blueberry bushes as landscaping shrubs?

I put a row of blueberry bushes in my front yard. The have interesting shape flowers. I don't know why people classify landscape plants or none land scaping plants. I think every plants can be landscapable. Beauty is in the eyes of beholder, which is yourself, as long as you are happy with what you planted, where you planted, you shouldn't worry too much about the classification.
Regarding the soil, blueberry does require acidic soil to be grown in idea condition. You may add peat into the soil as well as coffee ground, if your family drinks coffee every morning. There is no better way to recycle coffee ground than to add it back to the soil.


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RE: Blueberry bushes as landscaping shrubs?

When blueberries are happy and properly pruned, they are nicely shaped shrubs with beautiful flowers and fall color. However, as the others have said they really do need acidic soil. If your natural soil is not very acidic, you may need to plant them in big containers. Sunshine blue is a good variety for container planting.


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RE: Blueberry bushes as landscaping shrubs?

Thank you for the responses. I did plant three northern highbush blueberries in front of my house last spring, after digging out the first 6 inches of soil and replacing it with peat moss and pine bark and a bit of native soil mixed in. This tested out as quite acidic at the time. I watered faithfully through the terrible heat and drought we had here in Oklahoma City last summer. Two of the blueberry bushes survived, and one died. I bought some Espoma Organic Traditions Soil Acidifier and need to apply it because since our native soil is 7 or higher, and I've been watering with city water, I'm sure the ph has crept upward over the last year.

I decided this year to try southern highbush blueberries instead, hoping they would be more tolerant of the heat. We will see how that works. However, I am rethinking how I arrange them in the landscape, as mine are rather scraggly and thin right now. I think I might mass several together, maybe with a small conifer, instead of mixing them in with the knockout roses, which have completely outshone the blueberries.

Olympia gardener, thanks for the tip about the coffee grounds. I certainly produce a steady supply :) Would you be so kind as to post a picture of your blueberry bushes in your lfront yard landscape, so I can see how they look?

Thank you,
Shelley


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RE: Blueberry bushes as landscaping shrubs?

Shelley:
You may have already planted the bushes and my 2 cents come too late.

If your goal to plant blueberry bushes in the front yard is for landscape only, what you plan to do is fine. However, if you want actually to get berries some day, you have think about how to compete with birds in the front yard.
I have 4 mature blueberry bushes in my backyard. If I don't put up protection during harvest time, there won't have anything left for me. Blueberries rip during a long harvest window. I use the lightest row cover to cover the bushes. Let me tell you, it's not a pretty sight and I won't want that in my front yard. I did tried bird netting and found out it does not work without a good support frame.


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