Difficulties when Growing Blueberries

blueberry bush

A lot of people love the taste of blueberries, whether used fresh, in pies, jelly, juiced or any number of other ways. It seems to just make sense that quite a few gardeners would want to grow the plants; not just as a way to save money, but also to have the freshest possible berries. The bushes are hardy and not tremendously difficult to grow. However, there are a few problems that can be encountered when growing or even trying to grow them that can lead to failure. Knowing what they are is a first step toward overcoming the problems.

Soil acidity

Unlike so many fruits and vegetables that prefer soil that is quite close to being neutral, or neither acidic or alkaline, blueberry bushes grow best in quite acidic soil. There can be a bit of variation depending on the species or type of blueberry, but this is a plant that loves the pH to be around 6.0 to 5.0 or even less, on average. If the soil has a pH that is much higher than this, the bushes won’t grow very well, the plants may not form many or any berries and the plant may die. Though the soil pH can usually be lowered, trying to grow blueberries in dirt that is too alkaline is a common problem. The soil should be soured before the bushes are even planted, ideally.

What makes this a worse problem is that quite a few people want to avoid chemicals in their gardens, understandably. This is a problem because if the soil pH is too high, it can take some time to amend the soil to make it acidic enough to grow a healthy crop of blueberries by using purely non-chemical means. The fastest and easiest way to lower the pH of the soil is to add Ammonium Sulfate, which is a chemical. It isn’t as damaging as pesticides, but it still is normally man-made.

Lack of moisture

Blueberries are moisture loving plants. To thrive, they need plenty of water. This is a common problem partly because people often water gardens improperly, not allowing the water to soak in deeply enough, under-watering during dry times or watering during the heat of the day when the water can cause plants to sunburn.

Sometimes it is very hard to give the bushes enough water, such as during a drought, when municipalities govern the amount of water that can be used per household. Ways to give the bush water can often be found with some thought, and people can learn the best ways to water deeply and even how this saves money, yet many people don’t put forth the effort. Too often, the result can be dead blueberry bushes.

Pests

Quite often, people don’t take into consideration that it isn’t just people who like blueberries. It is a great idea for a gardener to consider the birds, deer, bears and the many other animals that will probably be drawn to the feast of the fruits. Protecting the bushes from the pests depends on the area and what pests are present, but they should always be taken into consideration if a person is serious about having a great crop. Not doing so could be a big problem.

Drainage

While blueberries love lots of water, the roots don’t do well if they sit in it for prolonged times. The soil needs to drain properly. Trying to grow blueberries in unmodified clay soil is not only common, it is a problem. Clay doesn’t generally drain well, though it is usually high in organic matter and is sometimes acidic.

There are many ways to amend soil to improve drainage, and this should be considered before planting the bush. That is much better than waiting until later or allowing the plant to drown.

Sunlight

Blueberry bushes, for great production, need a quality amount of sunshine. They love sun, but not if it is too hot. This means that the bushes need full sunlight for maximum output, but if the area gets really hot sunlight, the bush should be protected with some sort of shade during the heat of the day. A fish net top put on the side of the afternoon sun might work, however the sunlight should be considered before choosing the location of the plant.

There are other common possible problems that aren’t covered here. However, these are major issues that do need to be thought of. There are many ways to successfully grow blueberry bushes. It could be argued that none of them will do all that well without considering the most common problems that can be encountered.

 


 

 

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