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Bilberry grows naturally in northern and temperate latitudes, from the high mountains of the Caucasus to taiga and forest-tundra. The optimal conditions for it are damp pine and spruce forests. Recently, however, garden blueberries can be seen more and more often on personal plots. Delicious berries are eaten fresh with pleasure, jam is made, dried and frozen. Blueberries are also used to decorate the garden. Arranging an alpine slide, it is often planted along with other flowering shrubs: lingonberries, rhododendrons, erica.
Is it possible to plant blueberries on the site
It is not necessary to go to the forest for blueberries; they can also be grown in the garden, creating comfortable conditions for them. The culture loves coolness, tolerates winter cold well, but can suffer from early autumn frosts. It takes a month and a half for blueberries to transition to a dormant state. If the crop is not harvested 50 days before frost, then early cold weather down to -10 ° C can damage the bush. Spring return frosts are not dangerous for blueberries, since they bloom late, in the second half of May.
Blueberry lovers do not need to go to the forest, because you can eat them in your garden.
When growing blueberries, it should be borne in mind that they are very sensitive to lack of moisture. During the season, it is necessary to keep the soil moist, otherwise the bushes will begin to dry out.
Choosing a place
The garden form of blueberries - a perennial low shrub with sweet and sour berries in appearance is no different from its forest relative. However, the growing conditions for cultivated berries are somewhat different. In the forest, the berry grows in the shade of trees; for planting in the garden, it should be allocated a sunny area. In case of insufficient lighting, the berries become smaller, the yield decreases.
Blueberries should be protected from strong winds, especially in winter. Therefore, it is better to set aside quiet corners in the southern part of the garden for planting, closed from cold winds by a fence, hedges, garden buildings. In such a place, a warmer microclimate is created, snow lingers in winter, creating a reliable protective cushion for plants.
The place for blueberries in the garden should be taken as the brightest, most of the day warmed by the sun
Garden blueberries are quite demanding on the composition of the soil. It grows well on air-permeable loose peat-sandy soil with a high acidity level - pH in the range of 3.8–5. Groundwater should lie 40–60 cm from the surface of the earth, but with regular irrigation, deeper water layers are also possible. However, you should not plant bushes in lowlands or in clayey areas where water stagnates for a long time - blueberries cannot stand flooding. Clay soil can be made looser by adding a bucket of sand for every square meter.
Optimal planting times
Planting time for blueberries depends on the climatic conditions of the region. It should be remembered that blueberries love coolness, therefore, in regions with a warm climate, it is better to plant them in September-October, when comfortable warm and humid weather remains. Hot days come quickly in the south in spring, blueberries may not take root and die. When planting in autumn, before the onset of frost, the plants will have time to adapt to a new place.
Healthy blueberry bushes quickly adapt to new conditions and soon begin to bear fruit
Planting blueberries in spring
The best time to plant blueberries in the central and northern regions is late spring, when the threat of return cold weather has passed. During the summer months, the plants will get stronger and prepare for wintering. When planting in autumn, there is a high risk of death of the shrub, since in autumn the nights here can be very cold, early frosts are not uncommon. At first, blueberries should be shaded with spunbond so that the bright spring sun does not damage the young plantings.
How to plant blueberries correctly
Just like forest blueberries, garden blueberries prefer to grow in acidic soil, so prepare the site before planting. Sand, coniferous litter, sawdust are added to the peat and must be acidified. One year before planting, you can add ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate (20 g each), nitroammofosk and potassium sulfate (10 g per m2) to the soil2). Or, in a few days, shed the soil with a solution of citric or oxalic acid (15 g per 10 l), apple cider vinegar (100 ml), powdered sulfur (60 g per m2). If the soil on the site is heavy, a little more river sand is added to it. You should not fertilize the soil with manure or ash, otherwise the bush will only intensively increase the vegetative mass, and it will not have enough strength to harvest.
Having created the necessary soil conditions for blueberries, you can count on a good harvest.
For better rooting of bushes, it is recommended to use a hydrogel. 10 g of the substance is poured into 3 liters of water and, after swelling, is mixed with the soil. The hydrogel retains moisture in the soil for a long time and protects the roots from waterlogging, which is especially important for young plants. The hydrogel acts as a reserve source of moisture that can water the shrubs, prevent them from withering and drying out during severe drought and heat.
Important! Adding hydrogel to the soil has a beneficial effect on plants, promotes their more intensive growth and better fruiting, and increases stress resistance.
Step-by-step process of preparing a site for planting blueberry bushes:
- Dig holes 60 cm wide to a depth of 80 cm, leaving a distance of 1 m between them.
Blueberry pits are prepared in advance so that the donkey soil
- Drainage is placed on the bottom - pebbles, expanded clay with a layer of 10 cm, a part of the prepared substrate is poured on top.
- They spill the soil, allow the water to be absorbed.
- Knead the earthen ball, straighten the roots and place the seedling in the hole.
- Sprinkle with earth without burying the plant.
The blueberry bush is covered with earth, not deeply deepening
- Water the plant.
- After absorbing moisture, mulch is laid out under the bushes. Sawdust, bark, needles can be used as a mulching material.
Video: advice for gardeners on growing garden blueberries
In the future, blueberries are moistened with 2 buckets of water twice a week. To maintain the pH level, the soil is acidified 2 times a year. In areas with neutral acidity, foliage turns yellow, shoots stop growing, the bush withers and may die.
In the first years after planting, pruning of blueberries is not required; only broken or dry branches need to be removed. In the fourth season, after leaf fall, regulating pruning is carried out, leaving 6–8 of the strongest shoots on the bush. The blueberry bush should be well lit and ventilated. Over time, rejuvenating pruning is carried out, gradually replacing old branches with new ones. Blueberries should be fed only with mineral fertilizers in small quantities (for example, Aelita fruit and berry - 20 g per 10 liters of water).
On a note. Blueberry bushes can be used to create a container garden by planting the plants in decorative vessels 70 cm deep and with drainage holes. Blueberries are planted in containers filled with prepared soil with high acidity. In early June, chlorine-free fertilizers Aciplex (20 g per plant) or Piafoscan blue (30 g) are introduced into the soil, embedding them in the soil. In subsequent years, the amount of fertilizing salt is increased to 60 g per bush. The maintenance of a container garden is the same as for plants planted in the ground.
From blueberry bushes, you can create a container garden that will decorate any corner of the site
Planting methods for blueberries
It is not difficult to propagate garden blueberry bushes independently by seed or vegetative methods.
Sowing with seeds
Ripe berries are kneaded, dipped in water and stirred. Several times the water is poured with the seeds floating on the surface. Seeds that have settled to the bottom are dried and sown in wet peat in a greenhouse. Water it regularly, open it slightly for ventilation. Shoots should appear in 2 weeks. The film is removed and the containers with sprouts are removed for the winter in a well-lit cool room (with a temperature of + 5-10 0FROM). You can take the pots out into the garden, but be sure to cover them with agrofibre folded in several layers.
Two weeks after sowing blueberry seeds, shoots appear
In the spring, after the soil thaws, the shelter is removed, the sprouted seedlings dive into boxes and put in a place protected from wind and direct sunlight for growing. The seedlings are transplanted to a permanent place a year later in late summer or early autumn. The berries will appear in the third year.
On a note. Sowing seeds can also be used from frozen berries. It is advisable to immerse them in a 1% solution of a growth stimulant (for example, Epin) for 2 hours before planting.
Video: how to grow blueberries from seeds
For planting, you should purchase 2-3-year-old bushes in pots. Bare-rooted blueberries dry out very quickly and may not take root. The container plant is removed from the package before planting and immersed in water for half an hour. Seedlings are planted in pre-prepared pits, watered and mulched.
For planting, it is better to use two-three-year-old blueberry bushes.
Division of the mother bush
In the fall, a blueberry bush is dug up and carefully divided so that each part is a relatively autonomous plant and has roots and shoots with intact buds. Such bushes, associated with the parent ground or basal shoot, are called partial. For good survival, each layer must have at least five healthy buds. The divisions are planted in the garden on a pre-prepared area or in a spacious pot and left to winter in a cool room.
When propagating by cuttings, young shoots are cut into pieces of 5–7 cm at the end of June. The upper leaves are slightly cut off, the lower ones are cut off. The cuttings are dipped for an hour in a solution with Kornevin or Heteroauxin, which stimulate root formation, and planted in pots with peat soil. Watered and covered with foil. Within a month, the soil is moistened, airing is carried out. Rooted green cuttings are planted in a growing area. Young plants are planted in a permanent place in the fall or next spring.
It is not difficult to propagate garden blueberries by cuttings that are harvested in the summer.
Transplanting blueberries to a new location
The need to transplant an adult plant may arise when you need to rejuvenate a bush or find a more suitable place. Garden blueberry bushes easily tolerate transplanting.
An old blueberry bush transplanted to a new place, after rejuvenating pruning, significantly increases productivity
In late spring or autumn, the plant is dug up along with a large clod of earth and planted in a new place. Sprinkle with soil, water and mulch. Old bushes with the help of pruning rejuvenate: they completely cut off all branches, leaving hemp no more than 20 cm.
Blueberries are a valuable berry crop. Growing it in the garden is not so difficult, you just need to follow the rules of agricultural technology. Gardeners love domesticated blueberries for their delicious berries that can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home. Blueberry leaves and fruits are also widely used to boost immunity and improve vision. A beautiful shrub of light green color, which acquires a reddish tint in autumn, will serve as an excellent decorative decoration of the site.
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Garden blueberry varieties for the Moscow region
The benefits of blueberries, as well as their taste, are difficult to overestimate, but few decide on long trips to the forest and painstaking collection of small berries against the background of constantly stinging mosquitoes. An excellent solution is to plant garden blueberries on your own plot: caring for them is simple, and the harvest can be harvested no worse than from forest bushes.
General information and varieties
An attempt to transfer wild blueberries from the forest may well be crowned with success if in a new place it is possible to partially reproduce the composition of the forest soil. However, such experiments are carried out rather with the aim of decorating the site with original plants. To harvest even a small harvest of such blueberries in your country house, you will have to plant a large area with bushes. It is easier to buy the so-called garden blueberries in the nursery. These are mainly tall blueberries, but some varieties are hybrids with wild blueberries. Bushes in many species reach a height of 1.5 m, their life expectancy is about 50 years. The berries are large, up to 7-8 kg can be harvested from one plant per season.
The root system of garden blueberries is more developed than that of forest ones, and the aboveground part is more spreading and stronger. The stems gradually lignify. Thanks to these characteristics, the plant is quite frost-resistant, less susceptible to attack by garden pests and disease.
In Russia, its own varieties of garden blueberries have not yet been bred, therefore, in nurseries you can mainly purchase the developments of agronomists of Canada and the USA. A favorite for planting in cooler climates is Bluecrop. Refers to mid-season, reaches 2 m in height. You can pick up to 9 kg of berries from a bush. It is quite successfully grown in the Urals, Siberia, and the Moscow region.
Universal varieties suitable for most regions of Russia also include:
- Top Hut (early maturing, undersized (30-40 cm tall) hybrid of blueberries and blueberries)
- Duke (early maturing)
- Bonus (mid-late)
- Bluehold (mid-season).
It is best to purchase garden blueberry seedlings that have reached the age of 2-3 years, grown in individual containers. As for the timing of planting, it is preferable to lay blueberries in the spring, in the second half of April. Autumn planting is carried out in early October, but unpredictable frosts, typical for most regions of Russia, can destroy fragile bushes.
When choosing a place for a berry, it should be borne in mind that garden blueberries prefer sunny places or light partial shade. Excessive waterlogging, accumulation of rainwater is undesirable.
Just like wild blueberries, garden blueberries love acidified (pH 3.8-5) soils with a loose structure. Before planting blueberries, the soil must be acidified in one of the following ways:
- per year add 20 g of ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, 10 g of nitroammophoska, potassium sulfate per 1 m2
- in a few days, shed the soil with an acidic solution: 1 tablespoon of citric or oxalic acid per 10 liters of water (you can take 100 ml of apple cider vinegar or 40 ml of electrolyte instead of acid).
To create optimal conditions for the development and fruiting of garden blueberries, the soil is prepared directly in the planting hole. Pits are dug at a distance of at least 1 m for low-growing varieties and about 2 m for tall ones. The diameter of the hole should be about 80 cm, the depth should be 60 cm. Peat chips (2: 1) are added to the soil selected from the hole. You can additionally add pine needles, rotten oak leaves, chopped bark, a handful of fertilizers for rhododendrons. The resulting substrate is mixed until smooth.
Heavy soil is facilitated by adding river sand, and about 5 cm of drainage material is poured onto the bottom of the hole: broken brick, fine gravel, expanded clay. You should not add manure, bird droppings, humus under the garden blueberries.
Some gardeners recommend adding hydrogel (dry concentrate, not decorative) to the substrate when planting blueberries. This substance prevents the leaching of fertilizers and the spread of fungal diseases, provides the roots of the plant with moisture for a long time. One bush will require only 10 g, diluted in 3 liters of water. The yield will increase by 1.5-2 times.
The prepared soil mixture is poured back into the hole about 2/3, then a blueberry bush is placed there. Some gardeners, when planting seedlings, removing them from containers, carefully straighten the roots, losing part of the earthy coma. It is believed that in this way the plant assimilates faster with the new soil. However, blueberry roots are hypersensitive to damage and therefore do not need to be touched. The lump is sprinkled on the sides with a substrate, which is slightly crushed in the process.
Planting blueberries should be done so that the bush is not in the lowland, but on the ridge 30-40 cm high (heather grows this way better), the root collar does not deepen. After watering, the soil must be mulched with needles or crushed bark in a layer of 5-6 cm. For this purpose, forest litter from under the bushes of wild blueberries is well suited.
After planting, all shoots are pruned to 20 cm. Thus, the plant will be able to save energy for the development of the root system, and the growth of young fruitful branches will be stimulated.
If there is already an adult bush of garden blueberries on the site, then it is quite easy to get a whole plantation from it. The easiest way to reproduce is by cuttings. In the spring, before bud break, young twigs about 30 cm long are cut from the mother plant, their tips are dipped into a root formation stimulator, then 5 cm deep into a nutritious acidic and moist substrate is made. The cuttings must be covered with foil and protected from direct sunlight.
From an adult bush of garden blueberries, you can get one or two more by separating part of the rhizome with branches using a sharp bayonet shovel. The procedure is carried out in the spring before the beginning of the growing season or in the fall after leaf fall.
The easiest way to propagate garden blueberries is by layering. For this, in summer, the strongest shoots from the lower tier are bent to the ground and fixed with brackets. With close contact with wet soil, the branch will soon begin to root.
Growing blueberries from seeds is rarely practiced, since this process is quite laborious, and as a result, the grown bushes may not inherit varietal characteristics.
Garden blueberry is considered an industrial berry adapted to the growing conditions in the backyard. Bushes do not need special care if the soil quality is adequate.
After a week, you can feed blueberry seedlings with nitrogen, phosphorus fertilizers and trace elements (for spring planting). Additives are introduced in liquid form into the trunk circle. A раство teaspoon of colloidal sulfur is added to the fertilizer solution (per 10 liters) to neutralize the alkalinization of the soil with nitrogen. Watering is carried out with warm water under the root and along the trunk circle in the evening. After about 2 weeks, the leaves will acquire a turgor, and new shoots will begin to grow.
The blueberry bush enters the full fruiting phase 3-4 years after planting. The feeding carried out every 2-3 years will help to ensure its normal growth and development. Additives are added to the trunk circle (in the mulch) twice a year: in March-April and early June.
The following means are used.
- "Aciplex" is a complex fertilizer for marsh plants and conifers. For young blueberries, 30 g / m2 is applied in spring, and 20 g / m2 in autumn. Under adult fruiting bushes 60 and 30 g / m2, respectively.
- Watering with acidified water is carried out monthly during the growing season (a tablespoon of oxalic or citric acid per 10 liters).
- Every 2-3 years, the top layer of mulch is added or changed.
You should not be zealous with fertilizers, since blueberries will respond with a powerful build-up of green mass to the detriment of fruiting.
The roots of garden blueberries are located at a depth of 15-30 cm. It is desirable that this layer of soil is always moist (but not flooded!). Watering is carried out depending on weather conditions. Often there is no need to moisten the soil as the thick layer of mulch prevents evaporation. And if a hydrogel was mixed during planting, then 1 watering per month is enough, even in dry weather. However, it should be noted that this material will last no more than 2-3 years.
In order for the hydrogel to work longer, you need to water the blueberries 2-3 times a month, thus reducing material wear (the more moisture, the less load).
The first sanitary pruning of blueberry bushes is carried out in early spring 3 years after planting. In the process, all dried and diseased branches are removed. On old lignified shoots, 5-6 buds are left, and the rest is pinched - so the berry will be larger. Branches that are more than 5 years old are cut off completely.
At the age of 15, the bush ceases to bear fruit abundantly, the berries become smaller, lose their juiciness and taste. During this period, a rejuvenation procedure is carried out: in the spring, all branches are cut almost to the root in order to stimulate the growth of young shoots. Only one central 20-25 cm long is left.
Garden blueberries suffer the most from fungal diseases. Several species of a permanently present potential pathogen have been found on the roots of wild specimens. Basically, blueberries are affected by stem cancer, drying of the upper part of the shoots, gray rot, moniliosis.
The following drugs are used to fight infections:
Treatments should be carried out in spring, before leaf blooming, and also in autumn after picking berries.
In the natural environment, blueberries are part of the diet of a large number of birds; this fact is also relevant for garden varieties. As the berries ripen (from about the end of June), the bushes must be protected with a special light net.
Garden blueberries are no more whimsical to care for than traditional currants or gooseberries, and in terms of yield they often surpass these shrubs. Berries of cultivated varieties are somewhat different in composition from wild ones, but they also contain a lot of elements and substances useful for the body.
The main thing for the successful cultivation of blueberries in the garden is to provide the bush with acidic loose soil with a composition as close as possible to forest conditions. Further care is quite simple: mulch will retain moisture, fungal diseases are not scary to the bushes in a sunny summer, frequent feeding is not required, shelter for the winter is not needed, and spring pruning takes very little time. Juicy and healthy berries from most varieties of garden blueberries can be harvested until the end of the season if several varieties are planted.