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So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

Posted by dragonfly_wings (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 25, 10 at 8:02

All the big garden centers (Lowes, Home Depot, etc.) are carrying blueberry plants. Huh?

I must have missed the memo. I don't ever recall seeing any info about growing blueberries in central Texas. I thought the soil and weather was all wrong.

Can somebody enlighten me?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

Good question! I noticed that too and wondered the same thing. Did they develope a new variety to takes the heat and drought and alkaline water and soil? I don't catch the plant gurus on the radio anymore, but that would be a good question to ask an insider like them, or maybe someone who works at a plant nursery.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

They are here in the DFW area too. Along with blackberries and grapes. I might try to read up on them to see if we can grow them. I would think that nothing that will grow in northern CA would grow here, except maybe a few weeds. But I'm no expert either!


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

lynnmarie,

I think blackberries and grapes are supposed to do very well in Texas. In fact our Tx. wines have become internationally competitive. I saw the blackberry plants at Lowes and they were carrying the right varieties for our area according to the article I am linking to below.
In fact I picked up an Arapaho and planted this March. So far so good. I'll probably have more to say in a year or two, as this is my first one.

I'm currently looking into another new thing for Texas. OLIVES! I might be just a bit too far north for that. I think they do best in zone 9-10. I'd love to have some olive trees!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Blackberries


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

My sister grew blueberries quite successfully in the little community where I grew up in south central Texas. I do not know what variety they were, but she always had a freezer full.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

Well this article from TAMU answers my question I guess, although it hasn't convinced me that growing blueberries in Texas is a good idea. While I love blueberries (especially in pie!) I'm not going to play nursemaid to a fussy, containerized yankee plant! Sheesh! If I get a hankerin' for them, I'll just buy a carton or a bag of frozen blueberries, thank you very much.

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Excerpt:

Obviously, such great fruit attributes would make any homeowner long to culture blueberrie. Still the production of blueberries has a few challenges of its own. The soil or growing medium pH is critical for successful blueberry culture. This funny expression-- pH -- is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration in the soil solution or simply put, whether the soil is acid (less than 7.0) or alkaline (7.1 and above). Rabbiteye blueberries are one of the few crops that require very special soil or growing medium; a pH of 4.0 to 6.0 is required for good plant growth; the plants will not live in soils or potting mixes with a pH above 5.5. The plants' feeder roots are very close to the surface and they do not have root hairs; therefore, good soil moisture management and mulches will be needed. One may be surprised as to why we would recommend such an exacting, low soil pH plant for planting across a state which only has a small amount of such soil, which is mainly in East Texas. Simply put, it is because of the potential to produce an acceptable amount of fruit on a containerized plant with very few pest problems.

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If that sounds like it would provide hours of berry good fun, then do read the rest of the article which explains how best to grow them.

As for me, just the thought of it makes me blue.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Blueberries in Texas


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

  • Posted by shebear z8 NCentralTex (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 25, 10 at 13:14

East Texas has lots of blueberries because they have an acidic soil but most of the rest of the state has a pH that won't make growing them fun.

Before Round-Up, the state was full of wild blackberries and grapes. I spent most of my childhood picking them on the side of the roads.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

shebear,

I don't understand the connection between RoundUp and blackberries/grapes. Can you explain more?


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

Dragonfly, Malcolm Beck has a bunch of large olive trees planted on his property ajoining Gardenville on Evans Rd.. As you may know Malcolm founded Gardenville, but sold it a few years ago. I don't know if they produce olives or not, but you could ask them.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

I have an olive tree in a pot, it's about 3' tall. I've had it three years and this is the first year it's had blooms on it. will be interesting to see if I get fruit.
I think they are actually hardy here in zone 8.
Susan


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

dragonfly, I used to pick dewberries/blackberries on roadsides and especially along creeks too but I have noticed they started spraying Roundup (or something) as a cheap way to keep weeds back, even right up to the water.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

roselee
That's a great idea! Thanks.

Susan,
A local farmer tried to discourage me suggesting we are too far north (about an hour northwest of Austin). And he said the commercial olive groves around Wimberley don't actually use their own olives to make their olive oil but get them from producers further south. Don't know if that's true or not. I know they grow well in France even though they have to deal with frost occasionally, so don't know why my zone 8 wouldn't work. But I'll start trying to find out more so I can make a decision. If the trees weren't somewhat costly I'd just stick them in the ground and see what happens.

texasflip,
Hmmmm...I wonder if that's true throughout the state? At any rate, I hope all the interest in the new varieties of blackberries will cause them to spread far and wide. I have a wild variety on my property that I discovered, but I just leave them for the animals (too small for me) and await my thornless harvest. I also enjoy mulberries which are already huge and plump this year!


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

Blueberries grow just fine for me here in Texarkana. Course I do have soil pH of 4.5! Home Depot and Lowes do not care whether the plants they sell will grow here. You guys should know that. Else wise, why would they sell heucheras?


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

You are so right, cweathersby. They sell Fuschia!

I'm going to buy some grapes for sure. Maybe blackberries too. Used to pick dewberries on the side of the road like several of you said. They sure to make great pies and cobblers! I wonder if blackberries will grow on our new wrought iron fence? I think grapes will, but what do ya'll think about blackberries???


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

cweathersby:
Yes I'm aware that the big box stores aren't the purveyors of appropriate native selections although I think they do make an effort to be informed so that they have what people want. This is the first season I've seen them pushing blueberries so I was wondering if perhaps there was some source feeding them that idea. And since discovering TAMU's instructions for blueberry cultivation and encouragement for growing them DESPITE their particular requirements, I'm wondering if they are the source that the big garden centers are listening to?

My question is - How many Aggies does it take to grow a blueberry bush in the dry alkaline soils of Texas?


lynnmarie:
Not sure what you're asking. If you want to know if blackberries are appropriate for your particular yard I suppose it would depend on soil type, sun exposure, watering situation, etc. You might read the link I provided above on growing them. If your yard meets those
requirements then I don't know why not. You'll have an
edible landscape! And I think blackberries are less work to maintain than grapes, but I'm no expert.
As I mentioned before, it seems as though the garden centers are carrying the appropriate varieties for Texas.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

Are they selling rabbit eye blueberries? That seems to be the kind I've read will do the best in the South. They are hard to find though, so that would be cool if the big box stores carry them. I'll end up with a yard full!


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

Cweathersby...Its the most funniest thing but I think when people say the south they dont view S.A., Austin, DFW, or Lubbock as the south. If you were to draw a line through these three cities and move eastward, yeah you'd be in the south. It would have acidic soil and you could grow blueberries..and magnolias, azaleas, gardenias, camellias etc.

As for blueberry growing in the hill country and points westward...You can get by with using them in pots filled with peat moss and pinebark mulch I've heard. Also you use acid fertilizer and you dont water with tap water. You gotta collect rain water.

Blackberries arent supposed to hate alkaline soil as much as azaleas and blueberries do but if they get iron chlorosis you can use copperas to green it back up. In our area, Arapaho blackberry is recommended and you cut out the already fruited canes. The ones that come up this year you have to prune a bit so they dont get long and lanky but shorter and bushy.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

I've noticed all of those blueberry plants at Lowe's; I haven't any interest since here in East Texas there is significant commercial blueberry farming (much to my surprise) so supplies are usually plentiful. There is an annual blueberry festival held in Nacogdoches (this year the first Saturday in June) and the turnout is huge. I usually stock up for my freezer at that time.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

We grew blackberries and grapes in Wylie when we used to live there and they did GREAT! I don't recall the names though but if I head the names, I would remember. I know the grapes were white (green) and made great wine! Our neighbors behind us now (in Dallas) are growing blackberries successfully. I think if you were to acidify the soil like for azaleas, you could grow blueberries as long as you put soaker hoses on them during the heat of the summer.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

Is it too late to plant blueberries? I thought it had to be done in early spring.
If you grow them in a big container how many years until they produce berries?


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

the bluberries at lowe's in houston are duke.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

I think I'm going to get one of those soil pH test kits and go around my property testing different areas to see what's possible. Soil testing has become so easy and cheap it's silly not to know!

Anyone have any recommendations for brands/types of test kits? Where's the best place to buy them?

Here's one online source, but I'll bet they have them at one of the garden centers or nurseries in town.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil pH test kits


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

I bought a Rabbit Eye blueberry at Lowe's last year and planted it on the south side of the house under where the a/c drips in the summer, it had berries last year and although it doesn't appear to have grown any larger it is covered in berries right now (they're still green). So far so good!

I planted it in a raised bed filled with Scotchman's choice landscape mix and 3" of pine mulch...maybe that helped acidify the soil.


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RE: So, what's with all the blueberry plants for sale?

I planted a couple of blueberries in extra-large pots (one is in an old HEB recycling bin) with pine bark mulch, peat moss and I think compost (I don't remember the third ingredient for sure) but they are doing fairly well and I've had them 2-3 years. I've gotten a few delicious berries from them this year, though not many. I didn't even try planting them in the ground, but I have been thinking about a raised bed for them and planting a bunch more. I so love blueberries!

I also have grapes and blackberries, though so far only one of my grapevines (out of two) have produced any grapes at all; and I've gotten *nothing* from my blackberries :( though in all fairness I have no idea what I'm doing and have been concentrating on the vegetable garden more than them.


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