Posted by shane - December 22, 2014 - A-Z Plant Maintenance, Fruiting Shrubs, Shrubs - No Comments

Vaccinium cultivars such as ‘Chippewa’, ‘Northcountry’, and ‘Northblue’

Outstanding fall colour

I love blueberries because I grew up with them in the woods of British Columbia.  But as a gardener and horticulturist, I have very little experience with these plants, mainly because they are not commonly planted, and likely do not survive long after planting due to finicky soil requirements.  I am going to experiment with a number of hardy cultivars in my garden in 2015, so I’ll have more to report next season.

According to the Farmers Almanac, these plants require a moist, well-drained, acidic soil, with high organic matter content.  Now most of our native soils in central alberta are alkaline, meaning they have a high pH.  Blueberries required the opposite, so in order to grow blueberries successfully, you will have to amend your garden soil with organic matter (ie. peat) and other acidic components, enough to lower the pH to between 4 and 5, ideally.  That’s pretty low.

Plant in early spring.  Apply a 2 inch layer of pine mulch over the soil and water with 1-2 inches of water per week until the root system is established.  The wood chips will retain soil moisture and acidify the top layer of the soil, which should assist the roots.

Pruning is not necessary for the first 3 years after planting.

I’ll write more on this plant when I know more.  Your emails are welcome.

(c) 2014 Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden and Tree Service Inc., Red Deer, AB