Growing blueberries from seeds

How To Grow Blueberry Plants

Blueberries will live and produce for 40 to 50 years. Attending to their ideal location and conditions at planting will guarantee you delicious fruit for many years. This makes learning how to grow blueberries a valuable skill that may yield bountiful harvests for decades to come.

Blueberries will only grow well in soils that meet their needs:

Soil must drain well. If water stands in the location you are planting for 2 days, don’t plant a blueberry.
• Blueberries grow best in acidic soils with a pH of 5.0
• Incorporating rich organic matter into the soil or as a top dress is ideal.
• If planting a row of blueberries (space plants 4-8 feet apart), consider “hilling” the plants; raise them above the natural soil level by 12-18″ high and 3′ wide. This improves drainage, and provides a row for constantly adding organic matter.

Blueberry plants need full sun:

Once you have your location selected, make sure that the location will get full sun, at least ¾ of the day. Blueberries will tolerate partial shade, especially late in the day.
Blueberries will grow in higher pH, but to achieve highest production, you will need to amend the soil around the plants. This can be done easily over time. Don’t try and reduce the pH all at once; a .5 per year reduction is ideal. Lower your pH by using the following:
• Sawdust from any conifer (pine, spruce, fir). If you use sawdust, pay attention to Nitrogen; if leaves are yellowing, that indicates a Nitrogen deficiency.
• Ammonium Sulfate fertilizer
• Ground Sulfur fertilizer

How to Plant Blueberry Plants

Plant blueberries at exactly the same depth as grown at the nursery. Dig the hole twice the size of the roots, and back-fill with a rich compost mixture. If compost is not available, use the finest bark mulch you can find, and add 10% peat moss. Once planted, continue to add fresh compost as a top-dressing to build up your organic matter. Once planted, remove 25% of the branches; this will promote new, vigorous branching, and the 25% you removed will be replaced quickly.
During the first year, the plants are getting established, and you will not need to prune until year 3, after they have finished fruiting. Pruning is done well when you open up the inside of the plant and remove the oldest, darkest branches.
Blueberries, because they are shallow-rooted, do require more water than most fruits so the surface roots do not dry out. Blueberries respond best to quality (deep) watering rather than keeping the surface moist. Water will move to the surface.
Fertilize in early spring, as leaves are breaking from dormancy. A soil test is best, but a 10-5-5 is a good, well-balanced fertilizer. A second fertilizer application after pruning will provide the nutrition needed for the new growth to break from the pruned branches.

How to Grow Blueberry Plants

Enjoy the four-season taste and beauty of a blueberry plant: Spring’s flowers; Summer’s fruit; Fall’s foliage; and Winter’s colorful branching. A plant for every season!

How to Grow Blueberry Plants From Seed

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There are good reasons gardeners typically choose to grow blueberries from cuttings or nursery shrubs — they take less time to produce blueberries and reproduce their parents’ traits accurately. For the patient gardener, though, growing shrubs from blueberry seeds can be an adventure with surprising results. Choose the right type of blueberry and give it enough sun and acidic soil and you might find your name on a new variety.

Blueberry Basics for Beginners

Match the type of blueberry seeds you plant to the conditions in your garden. Wild lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) are hardy from U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 7 and plants demand between 1,000 and 1,200 chilling hours — time below 45 degrees Fahrenheit — for annual bloom and berry production. Lowbush blueberries bloom in May and June on 2-foot tall shrubs that form colonies. Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) bushes grow as tall as 15 feet. Northern highbush plants typically grow from USDA zones 3 through 7 and need 800 to 1,000 chilling hours annually. Southern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum hybrid) plants are typically hardy in USDA zones 5 through 10, and require only 150 to 800 chilling hours a year. All blueberries thrive in full sun in a moist, but well-drained, sandy loam with an acidic pH of 5.5.

Romancing the Seed

Blueberry cultivation takes time. Most blueberries do not self-pollinate — they need a nearby mate with similar genetic qualities to fertilize their flowers. This means blueberries are an unpredictable lot whose offspring seldom duplicate either parent. For this reason, it’s usually better to purchase seeds collected by plant societies that contain known cultivars, but some prefer to harvest their own hybrids in the fall. Hold fruit in the refrigerator for several days before maceration and repeated rinsing with water. Remove floating pulp and sterile seeds with a paper towel — viable seeds sink to the bottom. Scarify seeds by placing them in damp sphagnum moss and filing them in the freezer or fridge for 90 days – that’s over 2,000 chilling hours. Keep seeds refrigerated until planting time.

Blueberry Germination Process

After scarifying blueberry seeds in the fridge, plant blueberry seeds outdoors in the fall in warm climates and in spring in the North. For better cultural control, plant them in dampened Sphagnum peat moss in trays. Wherever you plant the seeds, cover then with only 1/4 inch of soil and keep the area continually moist. Blueberry germination can take six to eight weeks. Hybrid highbush seeds germinate more unreliably and might take longer than their wild lowbush cousins — so don’t give up until 12 weeks have passed. Sprouting plants need sunny, warm conditions.

Moving Day for Blueberry Plants

After working so long for blueberry germination to take place, you will have tender sprouts. Plants will only grow 5 to 6 inches in their first year, so Northern gardeners might want to keep their plants in a sunny window during their first winter. Keep indoor trays on sunny windowsills with a florescent light mounted 14 inches above each tray to provide supplemental light. You won’t know what combination of traits your plant has until it begins blooming and bearing after two or more years of growth.

Container Gardening Tips

One of the ways my family strives to be more self-reliant is growing our own food. I try to grow as much as I can in our small space. I especially like to grow my own fruit and when I left Oregon I thought I was leaving blueberry bushes behind. The acidic soil of the Pacific Northwest and the cool weather make it just right for growing these good-for-you edibles. They are relatively easy to grow when given acid soils and the right growing climate. Much to my surprise, I found a Monrovia Bountiful Blue® Blueberry plant at the garden center yesterday. It is loaded with fruit just waiting to ripen in the Texas sun.

This particular blueberry has low chill requirement of only 150-200 winter chill hours. What are chill hours? Each fruit, nut or berry has a range of chill hours needed for setting fruit. Basically, they need to be cold for a certain amount of time.

The lower the number of chill hours, the better the selection performs in warm weather areas such as the lower, coastal and tropical south.

Usually in the south, people grow rabbiteye blueberries and these only need 350-700 chill hours to set fruit. My new Bountiful Blue® Blueberry needs much less than that!

Tips to Grow Blueberries in Pots

Bushel and Berry – Vaccinium cor. Blueberry Glaze (Blueberry)…

  • Plant is delivered in a #2 size container. It is fully rooted in the soil and can be planted immediately upon arrival,…
  • For Best results, plant in used zones 5-8. Mature Height is 2-3ft, mature spread is 2-3ft.
  • Its dark Green leaves provide a nice contrast to its spring blooming White and pink flowers. Plant is not guaranteed to…

No matter where you live you can grow blueberries in pots. Here are the container, soil, mulch, and fertilizer requirements to aid your success.

1. Blueberries produce satisfactory yields if planted in containers or raised beds with mixtures of peat moss, sand, and pine bark. This will give it the acidic soil it needs to thrive. Depending on the size of your plant, you only need a container between 12 and 18 inches deep.

2. Sandy soils are ideal for growing blueberries. If you are growing in sandy soil, drip irrigation should be provided because most blueberries are not drought tolerant. Do not plant blueberries on heavy clay soils that have poor internal drainage, which will cause root decline and poor vigor.

3. Blueberries are a low maintenance plant and are easy to grow, but they are sensitive to excessive fertilizer. Instead of one high-dosage feeding, apply fertilizer two or three times a year at low rates. Organic slow-release fertilizers are best.

Avoid fertilizers that contain nitrate forms of nitrogen, which may slow plant growth. Instead, use fertilizers with nitrogen in the form of urea or ammonium. Check the fertilizer package to determine the form of nitrogen that it contains. The most effective and most commonly used nitrogen fertilizer for blueberries in Texas is ammonium sulfate (21-0-0).

4. Mulch is vital for growing blueberries, especially during the first 2 years of planting. It helps acidify the soil, control weeds, conserve soil moisture, and moderate soil temperatures. Apply a layer of mulch 2 to 3 inches deep over the exposed soil in your container.

Appropriate mulches include peat moss, pine straw, pine bark, leaves, and grass clippings. Do not use barnyard manure, which has a high salt content.

5. Once the fruit begins to ripen, protect your berry harvest from birds by isolating the crop. Netting continues to be the most complete and effective way to reduce bird damage in small fruit plantings. It is the most durable and with proper care, may last up 10 years. You can purchase bird netting or find something at the local fabric store. This fabric or netting is placed over the plant once the bush has stopped flowering and sets fruit.

Here’s a tip from one of my Facebook readers Cris:

“It’s pretty easy to build the soil you need. Blueberries need acid soil because they have an extremely high need for iron. Soil with clay in it binds up the iron, making it unavailable to the plant. This is the recipe I’m using in my potted blueberries: half pine bark mini nuggets, half good potting soil. Then I add 1/4 cup of acid loving food the first year…then the pine bark mulch will start to break down, naturally acidifying. I mulch with coffee grounds and fallen pine needles. Yup, I mulch potted plants. It’s especially needed for these bad boys because they are shallow rooted. Keep watered regularly.” Thanks for the tips Cris!

This particular plant that I purchased is very healthy. It has hundreds of pieces of fruit that have already set and are just waiting to ripen. There is also new growth so I will have plenty of fruit next year too. You can buy plants online or find a plant at a nursery near you. Even if you don’t need a low chill plant like I do, there is sure to be a blueberry just for your region.

Chill Hours of Common Fruit, Nuts & Berries

Apple 350-1200
Blackberry 200-700
Blueberry-highbush 800-1200
Blueberry- rabbiteye 350-700
Cherry 800-1200
Fig 100
Grape 100-500
Nectarine 250-1200
Peach 150-1200
Pear – Asian 150-750
Pear – European 600-1500
Pecan 600-700
Persimmon 100-200
Plum – European 700-1100
Plum- Japanese 400-1000
Raspberry 800-1700

How to Reproduce Blueberry Plants

Blueberry plants, once well-established, are nearly impossible to transplant. Instead of moving the plant, the solution is to reproduce the plant. The process is simple, and works well whether you are taking a plant with you to a new location, preserving a special plant, or wanting more blueberry bushes to enjoy. It’s also an inexpensive way to create plants to give to friends, neighbors and family. The new plant will be identical to the old one, and will produce the same amount and type of fruit once it is mature.

Mix about 1 tbsp. of bleach with approximately 1 cup of warm water.

Clean a sharp knife with the bleach water solution. This will prevent the spread of any disease to the blueberry plant.

Cut the wire coat hanger about 3 inches below each side of one of the bends so that it forms a long U shape. This will be the pin that holds the blueberry branch in place in the ground.

Select a strong, healthy stem near the bottom of the plant that is fairly flexible and is long enough to reach the ground. Do not remove the stem from the plant.

Dig a small hole, about 3 inches deep, near the stem you selected, but not directly against the base of the blueberry plant.

Bend the stem so that a portion of it runs through the hole and the tip of the stem comes out on the other side.

Nick the stem with a knife to make a small wound, or peel away a small section of the outer layer. Do not peel all the way around the stem, only on one side.

Brush the wound with rooting hormone.

Pin the stem to the ground using the wire pin you made in Step 3, and pushing the ends of the pin as deep into the ground as you can get them without pinching or damaging the stem.

Cover the stem with soil, leaving about 2 to 3 inches of the top of the stem sticking out. This will eventually be the top of your new blueberry plant.

Water thoroughly.

Wait four to six weeks for roots to form, watering regularly as the soil begins to dry.

Dig up the new plant, taking care not to disturb the roots, and plant it in the desired location.

Cooperative Extension: Maine Wild Blueberries

Growing Blueberries From Seed

Prepared by D. A. Abdalla, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service, Orono, ME 04469. February 23, 1967.

Lowbush blueberries can be propagated quite easily from seed. The plants can then be set out in prepared rows, vacant areas in fields or as an ornamental ground cover plant for home landscaping. The best time to start seed is in January or February.

Directions

  1. Obtain seed from blueberries that have been frozen at least 90 days. This will break the seeds’ nest period. A small amount of seed will start quite a few seedlings.

Extract the seed by one of the following methods:

  1. Waring Blender (Kitchen Blender)
    Place 3/4 cup of thawed berries in blender. Fill 3/4 full with water. Put on cap and run blender at high speed for 10-15 seconds. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Seed will sink to the bottom while pulp will stay suspended in the water. Very slowly pour off some of this pulp and add fresh water. Allow seed to settle again. Slowly pour off more pulpy water. Add more fresh water. Allow seed to settle. Keep repeating this cycle until all the pulp is removed and only blueberry seed remains in the bottom. Remove seed and spread on a paper towel to dry.
  2. Food Grinder
    Grind 3/4 cup of thawed blueberries and place in quart jar. Wash inside of grinder into jar also. Fill to 3/4 full with water and cap. Shake vigorously for a few minutes. Allow to stand five minutes as above, and follow same procedure in pouring off the pulp.
  3. Mashing Berries In a Bowl Place 3/4 cup of thawed berries in a mixing bowl. Mash thoroughly with a pedestal. Place in a quart jar and follow same procedure as above.
  1. Sow seed in a flat, 3″ box filled with finely ground moist sphagnum moss. Just sprinkle seed evenly over the moss then cover with a very thin moss covering. It is important not to make this covering thick. Keep moss moist but not soaked and place flat in a warm room (60 to 70 degrees F) and cover with a newspaper.
  2. Seed should germinate in about one month. Remove the newspaper. The emerging seedlings are very tiny. Once they begin emerging, place flat in a sunny window or greenhouse. Keep seedlings moist and allow them to grow in the moss until two to three inches tall.
  3. Carefully remove seedlings (especially around the root system). Pot each seedling in two inches to three inches of peat or plastic pots using a mixture of 1/3 peat, 1/3 sand, and 1/3 soil. Water well and keep seedlings in a sunny location. After two or three weeks fertilize the potted seedlings with a liquid fertilizer such as Start-N-Gro etc. at 1/2 the recommended rate.
  4. After frost danger is past set out seedlings in the desired location. Water well all summer. A 10-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet can be worked into the soil before planting. The first winter, mulch the seedlings with straw, sawdust or pine needles (about November 1). Remove in the spring when buds swell. At this time 10-10-10 fertilizer can again be added at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet.
  5. Blueberry plants like a lot of water (but not until the soil is waterlogged). The plants should bloom and set a few berries when two years old.

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 1967

Call 800.287.0274 (in Maine), or 207.581.3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.

The University of Maine is an EEO/AA employer, and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Sarah E. Harebo, Director of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5754, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).

BLUEBERRY

Native to eastern North America, blueberries thrive in conditions that suit rhododendrons and azaleas, to which they are related. Most blueberries grown for fruit are also handsome plants for hedges or shrub bordersand they grow well in containers. Dark green or blue-green leaves to 3 inches long change to red, orange, or yellow combinations in autumn. Spring flowers are small, white or pinkish, and urn shaped. Summer fruit is very decorative, not to mention delicious. Set plants about 3 feet apart for an informal hedge; as individual shrubs, space Northern and Southern highbush 4 feet apart and rabbiteye 6 feet apart. Grow at least two different selections for better pollination, resulting in larger berries and bigger yields per plant. For a long harvest season, choose types that ripen at different times. Full sun is essential for the sweetest berries. Those grown in partial sun may be tart.

Rabbiteye and Southern highbush blueberries take extended heat better than Northern highbush kinds. Choose the type best suited to your region.

The following are some of the major types of blueberries grown. (For ornamental relatives, see Vaccinium.)

Northern Highbush Blueberries

Selections of Vaccinium corymbosum, these blueberries dislike mild winters and extended summer heat, so they are recommended primarily for the Upper and Middle South (USDA 6-7). Most grow upright to 6 feet or more; a few are rather spreading and top out at under 5 feet Most ripen their berries between June and August.

Berkeley

  • Midseason.
  • Open, spreading, tall.
  • Large, light blue berries.

Bluecrop

  • Midseason.
  • Attractive, tall, erect shrub.
  • Large berries with excellent flavor.

Bluejay

  • Early midseason.
  • Very vigorous, tall plant.
  • Large crop of medium-size, mild-flavored fruit that holds well on the bush.

Bountiful Blue

  • Midseason.
  • Compact, attractive plant with bluish leaves.
  • Large, sweet fruit is produced in abundance.

Coville

  • Late.
  • Very attractive, tall, open, spreading shrub with unusually large leaves.
  • Long clusters of very large, light blue berries.

Darrow

  • Late.
  • Vigorous, upright grower.
  • Very large berries, up to the size of a quarter.
  • Heavy producer.

Duke

  • Early.
  • Upright plant.
  • Firm, large fruit.
  • Heavy producer.

Earliblue

  • Early.
  • Tall and erect, with large, heavy-textured leaves.
  • Large berries of excellent flavor.

Elliott

  • Late.
  • Tall and upright plant; medium to large berries with excellent flavor.

Herbert

  • Late.
  • Vigorous, open, spreading plant.
  • Berries are among the largest and best flavored.

Liberty

  • Late.
  • Strong-growing, upright plant with large, firm, flavorful berries that keep for a long time.

Patriot

  • Midseason.
  • Large, firm, tasty berries.
  • Consistently high yields.

Peach Sorbet

  • Mid-season.
  • Compact grower to just 12 feet tall and wide.
  • Foliage in shades of emerald green, peachy pink, and orange.
  • Large, sweet fruit.

Pink Lemonade

  • Mid- to late season.
  • The first pink blueberry.
  • Attractive plant with medium-size, sweet, mild berries.

Top Hat

  • Late.
  • Dwarf hybrid, just 2 feet tall and 1 feet wide; excellent choice for containers.
  • Showy in bloom; produces firm, bright blue berries.

Southern Highbush Blueberries

These relatively new selections are hybrids of Vaccinium corymbosum, Vaccinium ashei, and Vaccinium darrowi. They combine the Northern highbush fruit quality with the rabbiteye tolerance for heat and mild winters, and they ripen up to a month earlier than rabbiteye blueberries do. They generally can be grown in the Middle, Lower, and Coastal South (USDA 7-9) and have performed well in southern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. Some new low-chill selections released by the University of Florida do well as far south as central Florida. Most reach 46 feet tall. Form varies from upright to spreading. Recommended selections include the following.

Blue Ridge

  • Midseason.
  • Small, dense shrub.
  • Large, high-quality fruit.
  • Performs best in Middle South.

Blue Suede

  • Early.
  • Vigorous grower with large, light blue fruit; very good flavor.
  • Long harvest and dependable red fall color.

Emerald

  • Early.
  • Vigorous, high-yielding bush with large, very tasty berries.
  • Low-chill selection for north and central Florida.

Georgiagem

  • Early.
  • Large and upright.
  • Medium-size fruit with excellent flavor.
  • Does well in Middle and Lower South.

Jewel

  • Early.
  • Large, firm berries are tart until fully ripe.
  • Low-chill selection good for north Florida.

Magnolia

  • Midseason.
  • Vigorous, spreading plant.
  • Medium-size fruit of fine quality.

Sharpblue

  • Early.
  • Large, fast-growing shrub.
  • Large, light blue berries with sweet-tart flavor.

Star

  • Early.
  • Medium-size bush with spreading habit.
  • Large, deep blue fruit of excellent quality.
  • Low-chill selection good for north Florida.

Summit

  • Midseason to late.
  • Semiupright plant; large, excellent-quality berries.

Sunshine Blue

  • Midseason.
  • Compact, reaching only 3 feet tall; makes an attractive landscape plant.
  • Large, light blue berries with tangy flavor.
  • Self-fertile.
  • Tolerates a higher soil pH than other blueberries.

Rabbiteye Blueberries

Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9. Like Southern highbush blueberries, these selections of the Southeast native Vaccinium ashei are adapted to hot, humid summers and mild winters. They are often taller and wider than highbush plants and ripen their large, light blue berries from May into August, depending on location and selection. They’re easier to establish and maintain than Southern highbush in most areas where both can be grown. Can be grown as far south as northern Florida. Foliage has good red fall color. The following list includes some of the most flavorful selections.

Austin

  • Early.
  • Upright, spreading, productive.
  • Large berries with good flavor like that of a huckleberry.

Baldwin

  • Late.
  • Vigorous, upright, and productive.
  • Dark blue, medium-size berries with good flavor.
  • Holds well on the bush.

Beckyblue

  • Early.
  • Tall, upright bush with medium to large berries of excellent quality.

Brightwell

  • Midseason.
  • Large, sweet, light blue berries.

Briteblue

  • Late.
  • Open, spreading form.
  • Large, light blue berries with fair flavor.

Centurion

  • Late, after ‘Tifblue’.
  • Vigorous, upright, and productive.
  • Dark blue, medium to large fruit with good flavor.

Chaucer

  • Midseason.
  • Vigorous, tall, and spreading.
  • Medium to large berries with fair to good flavor.
  • Blooms early; not for colder areas.

Choice

  • Late.
  • Vigorous, tall, and productive plant.
  • Dark blue, small to medium-size berries of good quality.
  • Blooms early; not for colder areas.

Climax

  • Early.
  • Upright and spreading.
  • Good pollenizer.
  • Medium-size, dark blue berries.

Delite

  • Midseason to late.
  • Medium-large, light blue fruit.
  • Excellent flavor.
  • Blooms in very early spring; flowers may be killed in areas with late freezes in spring.

Powderblue

  • Midseason to late.
  • Vigorous, tall, and productive.
  • Large, powder-blue berries of excellent quality.
  • Resists cracking after rain.

Premier

  • Early.
  • Large, light blue fruit.
  • Excellent quality; one of the best early selections.

Tifblue

  • Midseason to late.
  • Vigorous, upright.
  • Good commercial selection.
  • Firm, light blue berries with excellent flavor (tart until completely ripe).

Woodward

  • Early.
  • Shorter, more spreading than other rabbiteyes.
  • Rather soft, light blue berries, tart until fully ripe.

Learn About Blueberries

Common Disease Problems

Alternaria Leaf Spot: This can occur in cool, wet spring weather, mostly on the lower leaves. Brown or gray lesions are irregular in shape, and are surrounded by a red border. Severe cases can lead to defoliation and damaged fruit post harvest. Burpee Recommends: Avoid getting water on the foliage when watering and remove affected leaves.

Mummy Berry: This causes rapid wilting or leaves, flowers and twigs and causes developing fruit to be deformed. Infected fruit can turn gray by midsummer and fall to the ground where the spores of the fungus can overwinter. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected fruit before it falls to the ground, or bury them deeper than 1 inch by cultivating around the plants before leaf drop in fall. Remove infected plant material. Control weeds. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Phytophthora Root Rot: This soil borne disease thrives in poorly drained soils and can live in the soil for years. Above ground symptoms include pale or reddish leaves, small leaves, defoliation, branch die back, stunting and death. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants and do not plant in that area in the future.

Powdery Mildew occurs on the top of the leaves in humid weather conditions. The leaves appear to have a whitish or greyish surface and may curl. Burpee Recommends: Avoid powdery mildew by providing good air circulation for the plants by good spacing and pruning. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Stem Cankers and Twig Blights: Stem canker symptoms include lesions on stems that develop into cankers and deep cracks. They can girdle the stem in a few years and eventually kill the plant. Burpee Recommends: Prune out infected tissue and sterilize your pruners before using them on healthy tissue.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects that can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Blueberry Maggot: This insect can affect fruit. The female fly lays eggs on the fruit and the larvae burrow into the berry. Burpee Recommends: To avoid this pest harvest the fruit as soon as possible when it is ripe. Yellow sticky traps can catch the females before they lay their eggs.

Discolored Foliage: Brown foliage can result from drought stress, particularly in mid-summer. Burpee Recommends: Water regularly and use mulch to conserve water and control weeds. Red or purple foliage could simply be the fall color as blueberries turn red in the fall. Sometimes this occurs in cold weather as well.

General Poor Growth: An acid soil is essential for good growth of blueberries. When the soil pH is over 5.2 plants can develop an iron deficiency and when the pH is below 4.2 they can suffer from manganese toxicity. If your pH is more than a half point from the recommended range of 4.2 – 5.2, consider growing blueberries in containers. It is not safe for the soil to change the pH more than half a point per year. Burpee Recommends: If your soil is within range but needs to be adjusted, use garden sulfur, peat moss or pine compost to lower pH; use lime or epsom salts to raise it.

Plum Curculio: Small, 1/4 inch long mottled greyish weevils with long snouts feed on the flowers and young fruit. The female lays eggs on the fruit and the larvae burrow into the fruit. They are nocturnal but may be found in the early morning. Burpee Recommends: Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for control assistance.

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