Building a blueberry plantation
The North American highbush blueberry is a one of the berry types that has been increasing in popularity in the last several years. One of the reasons is an increasing wellness awareness- blueberries are high in nutritional value and taste simply great. Many growers have noticed the trend and that is actually the main reason, behind their decision to grow this particular plant. So how do you start?
Soil requirements for growing the North American blueberry
This berry plant needs particular requirements to be met. If you ignore even one aspect of the prep process, the results might be as disasterous as no fruit at all or not satisfactory amounts of fruit. To avoid such failure, make sure your plantation meets the following criteria:
the place is sheltered from wind and has enough sun exposure the soil is light and sandy the soil is of a low pH: ideally 4- 5 pH high levels of humus in the soil (6- 7%) the level of ground water should be as deep as 60- 100 cm preferable levels of phosphorus: 2mg per 100 g of soil preferable levels of potassium: 3-5mg per 100g of soil ideal magnesium levels: 2-4 mg per 100 g of soil
Unfortunately, Poland is not rich in soil meeting all of these criteria, which is why it is so crucial to analyze the soil throughly before planting the berry. In the case in which the pH is far from the acceptable norm, it is worth adding calcium and sulphur to the soil. If the soil is lacking in essential mineral elements, it needs to be supplemented and enriched. If the place is not naturally shielded- you should provide such protection by planting coniferous trees such as pine or spruce.
It is important to keep in mind that the North American blueberry needs sufficient levels of humus in the soil- and not only at the beginning but in the
years to come. An interesting solution worth looking at, is the application of lignite (brown coal) as a soil amendment- as it has been shown to provide a number of benefits for the roots, as a replacement for the organic matter.
How to plant the North American blueberry bush?
The most important thing to remember is that despite self- pollinating, the North American blueberry is still a plan that requires the presence of pollinators. The plant will survive without them- naturally, the amount of fruit however will be significantly decreased in comparison with the situation in which the berry has the right company of pollinating plants. When planning out a plantation, it is important to remember to position the plants in such way that they can pollinate each other. The presence of bees and bumblebees is definitely required, so that the entire process can happen in the right way.
Plantings of the bushes should be conducted in a regular and consequent manner. The first aspect one needs to keep in mind is the layout. The rows need to be at least 2,5 m apart. The space in each row, in-between the seedlings should be between 60 an 80 cm wide. Furthermore, the rows should be planted in the north- south direction, providing much better lighting and equal sun exposure.
The soil had been prepared, the rows – planted. Now is time to discuss the correct irrigation system. This is one of the most important stages when building a plantation, especially right at the beginning and during the first year. Why is it so? The North American blueberry is initially quite shallow- rooted; its fibrous root system is thick which makes this plant very sensitive to dehydration. During a dry season, it is crucial for your berry plantation to be systematically watered.