Georgia’s blueberry industry is booming! Last year Georgia became the largest producer of blueberries in the country. Georgia has close to 20,000 acres of blueberries with more acres being planted every day.
Homeowners are planting blueberries in increasing numbers, also. Home gardeners are enjoying fresh, juicy blueberries right from their own backyard. Whether planted as a hedge or as a small grouping, blueberry shrubs provide lots of sweet summer fruit.
Fresh blueberries are a delightful healthy summer treat. They’re good sources of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. Plant blueberries in your yard and enjoy many years of healthy eating.
Growing your own blueberries is fun and rewarding. Luckily, an annual opportunity to obtain blueberry plants in time for early spring planting is coming up. The Rockdale Cooperative Extension office is holding its annual spring plant sale fundraiser. Offered are six varieties of blueberries as well as blackberries, figs, raspberries and pomegranate.
If you decide to plant blueberries in your yard, there are few things you should know:
PLANTING AND CARE OF BLUEBERRY PLANTS
- Choose a mix of early, mid and late blooming varieties to spread your fruiting over a longer period of time (varieties offered by Rockdale Extension 2015 – early: Climax, Premier; mid to late: Brightwell, Powder Blue; late: Delite, Tifblue)
- Select a planting site with sun for at least half the day.
- Blueberries require a soil pH of 4.0 to 5.3 for best growth.
- Find out what your soil pH is by taking a sample to your Rockdale County Cooperative Extension office. Do not use any agriculture lime; blueberries require an acid soil!
- The standard spacing for blueberries is 6 feet (in row) and 12 feet (between rows). For a quicker hedgerow effect, plant them 4 feet apart in the row. If developing individual specimen plants, use a spacing of 8 to 10 feet between plants.
- Blueberries need good drainage. If the site is excessively wet, plant on a raised bed 6 to 12 inches high and 4 feet wide or on a slope.
- Plant the same depth as they grew in the nursery pot. Look for the soil line markings on plants.
- New plants should be pruned plant back 1/3 to 1/2 at planting.
- Do not apply any fertilizer at transplanting. After new growth begins (March) apply 2 ounces of azalea special fertilizer (4-8-8) or 1 ounce of 12-4-8 or 10-10-10 per plant. Fertilize at the same rate in May and July if rainfall or overhead irrigation has been good.
- The first year, remove any flowers or fruit that escaped the pruning process and keep weeds and grass away from plants.
- You will get fruit the second year!
to download an order form. If you have questions call your Rockdale County Cooperative Extension office at (770) 278-7373.