Spring Blueberry Care
Often some breeders try to adapt southern plants to more severe climatic conditions, while others, on the contrary, try to move northern plants to more southern latitudes. Blueberries often serve as an object of work for the latter: it is more and more actively spreading to personal plots and dachas located in milder climatic conditions than its native Siberia or the Far East. Read more about caring for garden blueberries in the spring later in the article.
When to take cover after winter
Usually, the shelter that protected the blueberry bushes from the cold in winter is removed in March. This action opens the season, followed by spring plant care events, which consist of:
- pruning in the middle or end of March;
- soil mulching, which is done in late March - early April;
- fertilizing with fertilizers, which is carried out in each of the spring months;
- preventive treatment of shrubs with fungicides in April and May;
- insecticide spraying during May;
- pollination performed in May.
Important! When removing shelter from the bushes, one should remember the danger of their damage by hares.
The subtleties of caring for blueberries
Caring for unpretentious blueberry bushes in open ground is not difficult, however, this requires the observance of certain requirements, especially when watering.
Since in the wild nature blueberry prefers to grow in marshy places, the preference that it gives to moist soil is understandable. In the spring, taking into account weather conditions, watering is carried out weekly, or even twice a week. The volume of water consumed during irrigation is 2 buckets per 1 bush.
Experienced gardeners recommend maintaining a constant soil moisture at a level of at least 60–70% of the total field moisture capacity.
In spring, feeding blueberries consists of complex mineral fertilizers without organic matter in the form of bird droppings, mullein or compost. The first top dressing is carried out for 2 years after planting a seedling in a permanent place in the ground. Fertilize in the spring at the beginning of sap flow, during the swelling of the kidneys, and after 45 days they repeat it. In this case, you should pay attention to the appearance of the plant, which can signal a shortage of an element.
Did you know? Blueberries not only have wonderful gastronomic qualities, but also emit valuable juice, which has long been used for coloring clothes, furniture, household items and Easter eggs.
Most often this occurs when:
- nitrogen deficiencycharacterized by yellowing of foliage and a slowdown in the development of shoots;
- potassium deficiency, which causes necrosis of the tips of the leaves, blackening of the tops of young shoots and their gradual death;
- sulfur deficiencygiving foliage a whitish hue;
- lack of boronstaining foliage in bluish tones.
Most often, for feeding blueberries, a mixture of mineral fertilizers is used, consisting of:
- 1 part ammonium sulfate;
- 2 parts of superphosphate;
- 1 part potassium sulfate.
In this case, the age of the plant should be considered. If for a 2-year bush, only 1 tbsp is enough. l of the above mixture, then for 6-year-olds and older plants already require from 8 to 16 tbsp. fertilizers.
Blueberries have a significant structural feature of the root system, which is why the bush needs acidic soil for normal development. This peculiarity consists in the absence of thin root hairs on the roots of blueberries, which absorb nutrients from the soil, as occurs in other plants.
In blueberries, this function is performed by microscopic fungi, which help it absorb water and nutrients. But for such a symbiosis, an exclusively acidic soil environment is required. Redness of the foliage on blueberry bushes in the spring-summer period indicates a weak acidity of the soil.
The best substrate for growing this culture, creating the necessary acidity, is a mixture of:
- high peat, which should be at least half of the total volume of the mixture;
- fallen needles;
It is good to enrich the substrate with the upper layer of soil taken under coniferous trees and containing the necessary microflora. To acidify the soil in spring, you can use:
- 9% acetic acid, which in the amount of 70 ml is diluted in a bucket of water;
- oxalic acid, added in a volume of 25 ml per bucket of water;
- citric acid in the same proportions.
Since the root system of blueberries receives most of the nutrients and water in the topsoil, maintaining the necessary moisture plays a big role in the well-being of the plant. In addition, during decomposition, mulch becomes a valuable source of nutrients. It is best to mulch blueberry bushes with sawdust or wood chips of coniferous trees. In this case, the initial mulching layer is up to 0.1 m high and up to 0.5 m wide around the bush.
Important! When mulching, it should be borne in mind that when using fresh organic materials, microorganisms multiplying in their layer intensively consume soil nitrogen. Consequently, mulching with fresh materials requires a double dose of nitrogen fertilizer.
Cut blueberry bushes in early spring before sap flow, that is, before the buds begin to wake up and open the leaves. In order to successfully establish a stable skeleton of the bush, pruning is carried out on 2-year-old plants, giving them good rooting in the first year, building up green mass and preparing for fruiting. During the first pruning, all fruit buds are removed. In the 3rd year after planting, small shoots are removed at the base of the bush, as well as diseased and bent branches.
From the 4th year, during the annual pruning, the following is removed from the bush:
- lower branches creeping along the surface of the earth, leaving only vertical shoots;
- thicken and thin branches thickening the middle of the crown;
- most of the thin shoots, leaving only developed skeletal branches;
- annual shoots, leaving only the 5 strongest.
After pruning, all removed branches and each pruning from shortened shoots must be collected and burned to destroy possible pathogens and pests lurking in them.
Although blueberries prefer moist enough soil, excessively rainy summers can trigger fungal diseases in plants.. In addition, agronomic disturbance that weakens the plant can contribute to disease and pest exposure. All this can not only reduce the yield, but also destroy it.
Important! Most of all in the world, blueberries are grown in the United States, producing almost 230,000 tons of berries annually.
Weakened blueberry bushes are most often susceptible to the disease:
- Tracheomycotic wilting, which affects the root system, vessels in the root neck and stems, depriving the plant of nutrients. Most often, a fungal infection is located in low areas with contaminated soil, on plant debris, and on planting stock. To prevent the disease, it is necessary to select planting material before planting without visible traces of necrosis on the roots and brown tones on the stems. Fighting the disease by tilling the soil under the bushes "Alirin-B», «Fitosporin-M», «Gairo" or "Fundazole».
- Blueberry cytosporosischaracterized by browning of the bark and its death.Fungal infection from the bark penetrates the cambium and wood, leading to the drying of the shoots. Treatment of a diseased bush is carried out by cutting and burning dried shoots, disinfecting the slices with 1% copper sulfate solution and spreading them with garden var, as well as treating the plant with 1% Bordeaux liquid, "Abiga Peak" or "HOM».
- Phylo-stytic spotting of blueberry leavesforming spots on the sheet surfaces of a dark brown color with a purplish-brown fringing. The spots turn into necrotic tissue, after which the foliage turns yellow and falls off ahead of schedule. They fight the disease by treating foliage with a 1% solution of Bordeaux fluid, "HOM" or "Abiga Picom. "
- Septorious blotch of blueberriescharacterized by the formation of small red-brown spots on the leaves, which are then transformed into necrotic tissue. With its development, the disease also affects the petioles and young shoots. This disease is treated in the same way as the spotting described above.
- Red spotted blueberry leaves, which causes the appearance of red spots on the leaf surface along the veins. Affected leaves turn yellow prematurely, shoot growth is inhibited, which ultimately leads to the freezing of a weakened plant in winter. If this disease occurs, the affected bush is removed and burned.
- Botritis (gray rot)infecting all parts of the plant, including berries. In order to cure this disease use "Topsin», «Fundazole», «Eupren», «Tersel" or "Coming soon».
Of the pests, blueberries are most often attacked:
- Leaflet triangular flatwhose caterpillars tighten the edges of the leaves through the web, damaging them. Destroy them either manually or by spraying "Actellic"," And ","Spark" or "Fufanon».
- Blue Moths.
- Yellow peat yellows.
- Heather Arrows.
Fight the caterpillars of the listed pests that feed on blueberry leaves, using the “Spark», «Inta Virom», «Actellic», «Kemifos, «Karate», «Karbofos"And other insecticides.
Northern berry blueberries are actively living in more southern regions. Breeders have successfully taught many varieties of this culture to grow in unusual conditions for it. Today, garden blueberries can be found in many areas in various climatic zones.