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Keyword Search Results for:
Blueberries

11 Found

Question: 183-5201
Can you give me some advise on the care of blueberries? These are established plants that I inherited. Carol, Charlestown, RI

Mort's Answer:
Blueberries love old sawdust. Place a crown of eight inches of aged sawdust every spring around the stem. New sawdust will not work because it draws nitrogen away from the soil. Old sawdust that can be bought at lumber yards or aged in your yard will take nitrogen from the air and put it into the soil. It also is an excellent mulch. If you cannot obtain old sawdust, a straw mulch and high nitrogen granular fertilizer will suffice. Dormant oil sprays or Neem, if applied in the autumn after the leaves have fallen or in the early spring before the leave buds open, will help considerably. Overhead netting will keep the birds from taking the berries before you can pick them. Alarms are available to scare the birds. If you are in the country, one of the alarms that sounds like a shotgun would be effective.

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Question: 529-1711
We just put some Blueberries in the garden. Our soil is very stony and clay like. I put some donkey manure under the loam before I planted these one foot tall shrubs. Any suggestions to get fruit? Mike, Greenfield, MO

Mort's Answer:
Blueberries will mummify, if they get too much nitrogen. I do not think it will be a problem. It can give plants like tomatoes a head start in cooler temps in zone 6. Blueberries do like a good mulch of aged sawdust, when planted. You can apply four inches of mulch this year. It can take up to 10 inches each year, when the plants are older. Do not expect too many berries the first two years.

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Question: 660-4911
I was thinking of cutting back my blueberries and making some cuttings. Any suggestions? George, Boaz, Al

Mort's Answer:
Since you are in zone 7, I would wait until spring to do it outdoors. You would do better to make the root indoors. Take the ends in eight inch cuts. I would take as many as possible. You will need a six inch deep box to accommodate the cuttings. Make the bottom cut as acute as possible. Take two inches off the top and shave off all the leaves except two or three at the top. You could use a root hormone, auxin, but blueberries root easily without it. Place the prepared cuttings two inches deep into the box filled with coarse sand. Mist the cuttings every day. Do not pour water into the box. They will root in 30 days or more. When they have sufficient root, you can transfer them into peat pots with a medium of a third sand and the rest potting soil. You are good to go in the spring for outdoor planting.

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Question: 891-613
I live in a condo. I would like to grow blueberries on my deck. Is is possible? What do i need. Caroline, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
I hate to discourage you. Blueberries require a large root area as well as ten inches of mulch on top. This is next to impossible on a deck or patio. If that does not hinder you, they love manure. I would stick to tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. At least that will not get you thrown out of the Association.

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Question: 989-3213
I have high bush blueberries that are plentiful but soft this year. I use 4-3-4 fertilizer. What can be the problem? Boris, Oakdale, CT

Mort's Answer:
You have done everything right but Mother Nature has tricked you. This excessive rain has produced juicy vegetables and fruit. Unfortunately, in southeast Connecticut most of the water table is too shallow. There is a lot of hard pan just below the surface and does not drain well. Do not expect this every year.

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Question: 991-3213
My blueberries are white on the bottom. Do you have any suggestions for storing them? I did not use any fertilizer Jim, Salem, CT

Mort's Answer:
Blueberries are heavy feeders. They prefer an even formula like 4-3-4 or 10-10-10. You have to be careful with the 10-10-10. Do not over feed. Use a pinch of epsom salts next year as well. They are one of the few plants that love a high aged wood mulch. Old sawdust is excellent and should be 8-10 inches high around each plant. I would boil this years crop and use a screen to filter the skins. It would make a great syrup for pancakes and french toast. You could also freeze the berries on a foil sheet. Be sure the berries are not touching each other.

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Question: 1146-3014
I have some six inch blueberry plants in pots. They are getting black spots on the leaves. Can I save them? Paul, Warwick, NY

Mort's Answer:
I would recommend planting them outdoors now. You have a rust or fungus. The plants can outgrow this malady with a little help. Dust the plant and nearby soil with a lime sulphur compound like Bordeaux mix. This fall put straw under and cover the entire plants with it for the winter. Next spring mulch the plants with aged sawdust. Green sawdust will deprive the blueberries of nitrogen while aged will supplement these heavy feeders.

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Question: 1212-5014
I recently cleared an area in nearby property. I now have about 30 blueberry plants that are 5-7 feet tall. When is the best time to prune them? Mark, New Ipswich, NH

Mort's Answer:
Because they are at an ideal height for harvesting, I would wait another year. You could put down about 10 inches of aged sawdust under each plant as a mulch. The blueberries love aged sawdust. New sawdust will rob the plants of much needed nitrogen. Aged sawdust adds nitrogen to the soil. You will not need fertilizer; if you use this method your bushes will thrive. Next year in late summer after the berries are harvested you can selectively take out taller branches down to the next branch.

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Question: 1350-2616
What is eating the tops of my blueberry bushes. We are near a wooded area. Paul, Swansea, MA

Mort's Answer:
You are being invaded by deer by night. There are commercial sprays that use garlic and sour milk to discourage foraging. Human scent can be a deterrent. Folks still use human hair or shampoo in bags of rags. I am sure your barber would be happy to contribute to your environmental efforts to keep the deer in the woods. Plastic green fencing is sold in 10 foot heights in rolls. It is hardly visible to the naked eye. A combination of both would work well.

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Question: 1358-2816
My blueberries are abundant but not very sweet this year. I do not use any fertilizers. Any tips? Jim, Salem, CT

Mort's Answer:
My secret for the whole world to know is to use plenty of aged sawdust. A good 10 inches of old sawdust under each bush will return a great harvest each year. If you use new sawdust or wood mulch it will sap the nitrogen from the soil. Rotted sawdust releases nitrogen taken from the air. Refill the 10 inches every year for the sweet scent of success. You do not need any other fertilizer.

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Question: 1423-1817
I have had blueberry bushes for 25 years. Lately they have been getting witches brooms and it seems to be progressive from year to year. What can I do for my 30 bushes besides cutting them out. Valerie, Ashburnham, MA

Mort's Answer:
We now know that witches broom irregular growth is the result of a rust. It winters over in cedars inn the nearby woods. Continue to eliminate the brooms and spray with a fungicide in the fall after harvesting. Since they are getting older, you might consider making cuttings to replace them.

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