A guide to blueberry plantation care
A highbush bluberry plantation is not just about making sure the soil meets the criteria, is of good quality, has the right amount of humus and all the nutritional components. Once you have the soil quality under control, you will need to focus on the proper care for the bushes. Without your help, they will not be able to grow as planned.
Where do we start?
Sanitary pruning will be one of the most important steps during the first four years, from the moment you plant your blueberry bushes. You need to get rid of the weak or disease affected pods and branches- this is how you create strong plants and work on their right shape. Heading- back cuts will be another step in the next years to come- it is to remove over-mature, weak, problematic, and excessive growths- best when done before spring time, in February or in March.
Weed control is just as important as trimming. One should make sure the soil is weed- free at the same time when the analysis is done. Later on, trying to get rid of the weed might turn out to be extremely problematic. Soil mulching is a great way to stop the water from evaporating from the soil, and to supply it with organic matter (which will in turn increase the humus levels). The litter needs to be restored systematically, on a yearly basis.
How to protect the plants?
The North American highbush blueberry is one of those plants that are really pest- and disease- resistant. That does not mean however that you can just relax entirely.
The most frequently occurring diseases are the following: grey mold anthracnose White Drupelet Syndrome (white spots)
When it comes to pests, you can expect one of the following: grubs blueberry bud mites (Acalitus vaccini) aphids
In a situation in which the plants seem to have symptoms of either a disease or presence of one of the pests, it is necessary to apply pesticides. Make sure to only use pesticides approved and registered for higbush blueberry pest management. If possible, it is always a good idea to remove the infected shoots.
Birds are another serious threat when it comes to the highbush blueberry. You can try to protect the bushes by netting the plantation, use highly specialised lasers or systems imitating the sounds made by predatory birds. Every one of these solutions is a good one and will usually effectively scare the birds off; sometimes however it may be very difficult to keep them away and the results may be futile.