What do blueberries grow on?

Chippewa Blueberry

Half-High, Mid-Season

Chippewa Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum x augustifolium ‘Chippewa’) is an exciting selection of the Half-High Blueberries from the University of Minnesota. With their exceptional cold hardiness and attention to flavor, these new Half-Highs expand the selection of great Blueberries choices for both the commercial and home garden growers in colder climates.

Chippewa is an extremely cold hardy variety. Reports of the Chippewa Blueberry surviving -40 degrees and producing that same season are recorded! If you have a cold winter where you live, Chippewa is a first choice for you to consider.

It grows fast and tends to be long-lived, up to 30 years of production. It will hold an attractive shape with little pruning.

These high sugar, low acid berries have excellent flavor. You’ll harvest Chippewa’s medium to large berries in the middle of the growing season. The plant will yield from 3 to 8 pounds of fruit off of one mature plant.

Half-Highs require a pollinator for the biggest crops. Great partners for the Chippewa include the Northcountry or Polaris to ensure a hearty crop. Plant all 3 of these Half-Highs and extend your harvest over 2 months!

As an upright, compact grower, the Chippewa is also a useful landscape plant. A hot new trend is to intermix edible plants, like Blueberries, within the landscape along with other ornamental plants.

And it’s easy to see why. Delicate white flowers artfully set against the dark green backdrop of the Chippewa’s oval leaves makes a striking impression in the spring. In fall, the leaves turn brilliant red.

The compact habit makes the Chippewa a prime candidate for container growing. Plant Chippewa along with a few other varieties in pots on the patio and enjoy the atmosphere they create and the food they provide.

Chippewa Blueberries are easy to grow as long as the pH of the soil is maintained. Potting soils should be very acidic at 5.5 or lower. Make sure that your potting soil is for acid loving plants and add a little soil Sulphur to make sure the pH stays low.

When growing in the ground, do a simple pH soil test to get an idea of the pH of the soil you are planting in. You may need to amend your native soil for the best results.

Order this wonderful plant, and partner plants like Northcountry and Polaris today!

Chippewa Blueberry fruit

Chippewa Blueberry fruit

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Chippewa Blueberry in fall

Chippewa Blueberry in fall

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 3 feet

Spread: 4 feet


Hardiness Zone: 3b

Group/Class: Half-High Blueberry


A very hardy hybrid blueberry with a compact habit and good fall color, produces huge crops of large, sweet light blue fruit in mid summer; all blueberries require highly acidic soils, excellent drainage and a good mulch, plant with plenty of peat moss

Edible Qualities

Chippewa Blueberry is a small shrub that is typically grown for its edible qualities. It produces clusters of blue round berries which are usually ready for picking in mid summer. The berries have a sweet taste and a juicy texture.

The berries are most often used in the following ways:

  • Fresh Eating
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Preserves

Features & Attributes

Chippewa Blueberry features dainty clusters of white bell-shaped flowers with shell pink overtones hanging below the branches in mid spring. It has green foliage throughout the season. The glossy oval leaves turn an outstanding orange in the fall. It features an abundance of magnificent blue berries in mid summer.

This is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage. This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and usually looks its best without pruning, although it will tolerate pruning. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Aside from its primary use as an edible, Chippewa Blueberry is sutiable for the following landscape applications;

  • Orchard/Edible Landscaping

Planting & Growing

Chippewa Blueberry will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years. This variety requires a different selection of the same species growing nearby in order to set fruit.

This shrub is typically grown in a designated area of the yard because of its mature size and spread. It does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have sandy, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid.

Gertens Catalog Sizes and Pricing

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How Blueberries Grow


Watch this video to tour a blueberry farm with The Chew!

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “How do blueberries grow?” Botanically speaking, blueberries (genus Vaccinium) are part of a plant family that includes the flowering azalea, mountain laurel and heather-plants. They like acid soil and plenty of water.

Highbush blueberries

The ones you find fresh in grocery stores – grow on bushes that are often planted in long rows. The bushes can grow up to 12 feet tall, but most peak at about 6 feet. In the spring, clusters of beautiful white blossoms pop up all over the bushes and are pollinated by bees. Each blossom eventually becomes one blueberry – first hard and green, then reddish-purple, and finally blue, sweet and ready to eat!

For the fresh market, blueberries are mainly picked by hand, but some are gathered with large harvesting machines that move slowly along the rows of blueberry plants and gently shake each one so ripe berries fall into a catching frame. (Most machine-harvested berries are washed, frozen and sold in stores year-round.)

Next, blueberry workers gather the berries in large bins and transport them by truck or tractor from the field to a packing plant, where they’re placed on moving conveyor belts. There, the blueberries are sorted and any bruised or unripe ones are removed. Only round, plump berries pass the inspection point.

The best fresh blueberries are packaged in clear clamshell containers with labels indicating where they were grown and packed, and then stored in large refrigerated rooms until they’re taken to market.

Growing Blueberries

Photo/Illustration: Scott Phillips

Everyone I know goes gaga for blueberries (Vaccinium spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 3–9). Whether it’s because they think the plants make attractive additions to the landscape (due to their plethora of spring flowers and excellent fall color) or because they swoon over fruit that’s delicious and nutritious, it’s hard to find a gardener who wouldn’t love to plant a blueberry in their beds. But, although easy to grow once established, getting blueberries off to the right start with proper planting and fertilizing is vital to ensure a plentiful harvest.

Test the soil and adjust the pH to provide the proper environment

Sometimes a pretty leaf color isn’t a good thing. If your soil isn’t acidic enough, your plants will be iron deficient and turn a bright yellow.
Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry

If ever there were a time that a soil test is essential, this is it. If you don’t already know the properties of the bed that you’ll be planting into, then you will need to do a soil analysis before you plant your berry bushes. Blueberries need acidic soil with an ideal pH between 4.5 and 5.2. If your soil pH is too high, your plants will be iron deficient, causing the foliage to turn yellow between the veins. This deficiency can eventually kill your plants. There are a few ways to acidify a sweet soil. You can spread 2 to 3 ounces of fine ground sulfur (per bush) over the soil and scratch it in. This method will work, although it will typically take at least a year for this amendment to have any effect on your soil’s pH. To decrease the pH fast, use moist peat moss to backfill your planting hole. This quickly raises the acidity, allowing you to have a healthy and productive first season.

There’s a reason highbush types are the favorites. Due to their white bell-shaped flowers and vase-like structure, they are ornamental plants that produce edible fruits.
Photo/Illustration: Frank ClarksonPhoto/Illustration: Frank Clarkson

Planting times for blueberries vary depending on where you live. If you live in a milder section of the country (Zones 7–9), you can plant in spring or fall. Planting too late in the season in colder zones (Zones 3–6) isn’t ideal because the plants will struggle to get established before the ground freezes, so spring is your best option. The type of blueberry you plant will also be dictated by where you live. Highbush blueberries are the most popular kind for home gardens because they are good-looking, low-care, and produce the largest amount of berries. Each highbush blueberry plant should be spaced 5 to 6 feet apart in a full sun to partial shade. If, however, you’d like to create a hedge out of your bushes, only space them 3 feet apart.

Tip: Skip bareroot plants

Photo/Illustration: Frank Clarkson

Sometimes people will ask me about bareroot plants that you’ll occasionally see at the nursery or get through mailorder. I have never had much success with these and it generally takes a few years for the plants to size-up and start fruiting. As one farmer friend put it to me, “Life is too short to waste time on finicky blueberry bushes.”

Pick the right type

Photo/Illustration: Ann StrattonLowbush
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy Monrovia

Most blueberries are hardy to –20° F, but each variety has a winter-chilling requirement—or the amount of time that the plant must be dormant. This is measured in the number of days that the plants endure temperatures under 45°F. When selecting your bushes, be sure you investigate their chilling requirement and match that with your locale. Also, remember to buy two or more plants of the same type—but a different cultivar—because cross-pollination increases the crop size.


Zones 3 to 7

The most common blueberry bush grown by the home gardener because it produces the largest volume of fruit, highbushes mature into a manageable 5 to 6 foot tall and wide shrub. There are northern and southern highbush blueberries, each requiring a different amount of cold to produce berries (referred to as “low-chill” and ”high-chill”). Highbush varieties are generally categorized by when their fruit ripens; early, mid, or late-season.


Zones 2 to 8

Also known as “wild” blueberries, these compact plants (2 feet tall and wide) bear smaller-size fruit. You can still expect decent harvests from these plants and the tiny berries pack a more flavorful punch than other blueberries making them ideal for cooking and baking. These plants get tiny white flowers in spring and maroon foliage in fall (pictured) in northern zones.

Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry Pink Lemonade
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy Great Garden Plants


Zones 3 to 7

These are hybrid bushes whose size is between a high and lowbush blueberry, averaging around 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. They are hardy to all but the northernmost and southernmost sections of the country. The plants produce medium-size berries.

Pink Lemonade

Zones 4 to 8

This highbush blueberry grows approximately 5 feet tall and wide. As the name suggests, the fruit is bright pink when ripe, but has the same flavor as a regular, blue berry. The flowers on these bushes are a light pink, too, as opposed to the white of traditional types. In fall, the foliage turns red.

Dig, flood, mulch, and feed for the best results

First you’ll need to dig a proper planting hole and then backfill only halfway.
Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry Next, flood the hole with water to force out any air pockets.
Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry A few weeks after applying mulch, sprinkle a ring of fertilizer around the plant to get it off to the best start.
Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry

The planting process starts with a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the containerized plant. I then place the plant into the hole and partially back-fill (using moistened peat moss if needed for pH). Next, I water in thoroughly–essentially flooding the hole. Allow the water to seep in completely before you finish back-filling. This forces out any air pockets around the plant, which could lead to poor root development. Finish things off by applying a 3 to 4 inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant and extending out at least 2 to 3 feet in all directions. Blueberries are shallow-rooted and despise drying out, so mulch helps keep the moisture consistent around the plants. Weeds compete for moisture, too, so mulch also helps to keep them at bay.

I typically don’t fertilize my plants until two or three weeks after planting—or whenever I remember. Just like other acid loving plants such as rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), blueberries like to be fed with fertilizers specially formulated for their tastes, although this isn’t essential. I like to apply a ring of fertilizer a foot away from the crown of the plants. Scratch the fertilizer into the soil and then give the plants a healthy dose of water. In the first year of planting, I make sure that the plants stay moist by using a soaker hose. If the rain stops for a week or more, I turn the hose on and give the plants a drink.

If all goes right, I start harvesting a small amount of berries within the first year of planting. It may not be enough to fill the freezer at first, but by the second or third year I’m practically begging my family members to take plastic bags of berries home.

OSU Extension Catalog

  • Bernadine Strik

EC 1304 Revised March 2008 Reviewed: July 2016

Growing highbush or cultivated blueberries can be very rewarding. You can eat the berries fresh, make them into pies and other desserts, or freeze, dry, or can them for later use.

In Oregon, the blueberry fruiting season extends from late June through September, depending on the type of blueberry and cultivar. The fruit on each cultivar ripens over a 2- to 5-week period.

The most common type of blueberry grown in Oregon is the northern highbush blueberry. Other types of blueberries include southern highbush, rabbiteye, lowbush, and half-high.

Highbush blueberries are perennial, long-lived (40 to 50 years), deciduous shrubs with a mature height of 5 to 9 feet. Attractive as ornamentals, they progress from a profusion of white or pink blossoms in spring to colorful foliage (fall) and wood (winter). You can grow plants in beds, rows, hedges, or individually. Dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars (varieties) are available for growing in containers.

Selecting a site

Blueberries require a sunny location for full production. Avoid areas surrounded by trees. Trees can provide too much shade, compete with plants for water and nutrients, encourage birds, and interfere with air movement around the plants. Poor air circulation favors the development of diseases.


Blueberries have very specific soil requirements. Plants grow best in well-drained, light, sandy loam soils that are high in organic matter and have a pH between 4.5 and 5.5.

Avoid planting on heavy soils that drain slowly. Water standing on the soil surface for more than 2 days during the growing season can damage roots. The soil water table should be at least 14 inches below the soil surface, or roots will suffocate.

If your garden has only coarse, sandy or gravelly soils, pay careful attention to watering and fertilizing.

You can modify many soils that are initially unsuitable to make them suitable for blueberry production (see “Preparing the soil”).

Selecting a cultivar

It’s a good idea to plant more than one cultivar. Although most northern highbush blueberry cultivars are self-fertile, cross-pollination produces larger berries. Also, if you plant two or more cultivars that ripen at different times, you’ll lengthen the harvest season. To ensure adequate cross pollination, plant more than one cultivar within each type of blueberry you select (northern highbush, southern highbush, and rabbiteye). Within each type, cultivars have sufficient overlap in the bloom period for adequate cross pollination.

Northern highbush cultivars grown in home gardens in Oregon include (in order of ripening): ‘Duke’, ‘Earliblue’, ‘Spartan’, ‘Patriot’, ‘Bluecrop’, ‘Jersey’, ‘Blueray’, ‘Legacy’, ‘Chandler’, and ‘Elliott’. See EC 1308, Blueberry Cultivars for Oregon, for descriptions of these and other blueberry cultivars.

Preparing the soil

Blueberries require an acid soil, relatively high organic matter content, and good drainage. If your soil is not naturally suitable for blueberry plant growth, you’ll need to modify it before planting. Blueberry plants are long-lived, so considerable time and expense in preparing the soil can be justified.

If you plan on growing several plants, it’s better to group them in a bed or row than to scatter them around your garden. You’ll obtain better results if you prepare an entire bed, rather than digging holes for individual plants and preparing soil to fill the holes. Be sure to eliminate all perennial weeds before planting.

Soil pH adjustment

An acid soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is considered ideal for highbush blueberries. Poor blueberry plant growth resulting from soil pH that is too high is the most common problem when growing blueberries in the home garden. In this situation, plants often have yellow leaves with green veins (Figure 1). These symptoms are most likely on younger leaves.

For most soils, the pH must be lowered (made more acidic). Test soil pH a year before planting because acidification, if necessary, takes more than 6 months. (For more information about soil testing, see Laboratories Serving Oregon: Soil, Water, Plant Tissue, and Feed Analysis, EM 8677, and Soil Sampling for Home Gardens and Small Acreages, EC 628.)

  • If the pH is between 5.7 and 6.5, acidify the soil by adding finely ground elemental sulfur (S) to the soil before planting. The amount of S needed depends on how much the soil pH needs to be lowered and the soil type.
  • To lower the pH from 6.5 to 5.4 in a clay loam soil, apply 3.5 to 4.5 lb S/100 sq ft.
  • To lower the pH from 6.1 to 5.4 in a clay loam soil, apply 2 to 2.75 lb S/100 sq ft.
  • Heavier soils may require more S for a similar amount of acidification.

It’s best to use the lower rate initially, check soil pH again in 6 months to a year, and apply more S only if necessary. Do not apply more than 7 lb S per 100 sq ft at one time.

If the pH is between 5.5 and 5.7, mix in Douglas-fir sawdust and ammonium sulfate fertilizer before planting. These materials will acidify the soil. (See “Incorporating organic matter,” page 3.)

If the pH of an organic soil is higher than 6.5, it’s usually not practical to acidify it enough for growing blueberries.

In some cases, soil pH is too low for blueberry production. If the pH of your soil is below 4.0, incorporate finely ground dolomitic limestone at a rate of about 5 to 10 lb/100 sq ft.

Incorporating organic matter

Before planting, incorporate organic matter, such as Douglas-fir sawdust or bark, to improve soil aeration and drainage. Yard debris compost may be used, but it often has a high pH (above 7.0, compared to pH 4.0 to 4.5 of Douglas-fir sawdust) and can be high in salts.

Spread sawdust over the row to a width of about 3 feet and a depth of 3.5 inches. To aid in decomposition of the sawdust, add 2 lb nitrogen/100 feet of row length (10 lb ammonium sulfate, 21-0-0). Incorporate the sawdust and fertilizer with a rototiller.

Improving drainage

Although blueberries require readily available moisture, they will not tolerate poor drainage. Ideal soils are well drained with a water table 14 to 22 inches below the surface. You often can make poorly drained soils suitable for blueberries by tiling and/or planting on raised beds.

A raised bed 12 to 18 inches high and 3 feet wide usually is sufficient to provide adequate drainage and aeration. Raised beds can be constructed with wood walls, but walls are not necessary if you can form a raised bed (using natural soil and incorporated sawdust) by hilling.

Growing blueberries in containers

You also can grow blueberries in containers. Northern highbush blueberries require a large container such as a wine barrel. Half-high types can be planted in a 10-gallon or larger container. A good planting mix consists of about 80 percent fir bark, 10 percent peat moss, and 10 percent perlite.

Establishing your planting


Plant healthy 2-year-old plants in October or from March through April. Purchase container-grown plants from a reputable nursery. Space plants 4 to 5 feet apart in the row. Spacing between the rows can be 8 to 10 feet.

Set plants no more than ¾ inch deeper than they were growing in the nursery row or container. Planting too deep can smother plants.

Firm the soil well to remove air pockets. Do not fertilize plants when you plant them. Water thoroughly after planting, but don’t over water. Prune all branches back by about 30 to 40 percent by removing older wood and keeping nice new whips (new growth at base of plant); this encourages vigorous new growth.

Remove blossoms

Prune off flower buds at planting (Figure 2). Do not allow plants to produce fruit the first season. Be patient! It’s important that plants grow well the first year, and flower and fruit production hinders growth.

Young plants require little pruning for the first 2 or 3 years compared to mature plants, but it is important to limit fruit production the first 2 years. You will have to remove weak portions of the plant and limit the number of fruit buds to ensure that plants grow well.

Weed control

Keep at least a 4-foot area around the plants free of weeds during the growing season. Blueberry roots grow mostly near the soil surface. Thus, to prevent root damage, cultivation must be very shallow and not too close to the plant.


Blueberries grow better when mulched. Mulching keeps the soil cool, conserves moisture, adds organic matter to the soil, improves soil structure, and aids in weed control.

After planting, apply a mulch of Douglas-fir sawdust or bark to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Increase the depth of the mulch to 6 inches over a period of years. You can mulch the entire soil surface (you’ll no longer have to cultivate), or you can place a 3- to 4-foot-wide band of mulch in the row.

You may have to apply 25 percent more nitrogen fertilizer on mulched plantings compared to unmulched plantings, depending on how fresh the sawdust is. Fresh sawdust “ties up” nitrogen while it decomposes, so you need to add more for the plants.


In late April of the planting year, apply 0.2 oz of nitrogen (N) per plant (equivalent to 1 oz of ammonium sulfate fertilizer, 21-0-0, or 0.4 oz urea, 46-0-0). Add the same amount of N fertilizer in early June and in late July. Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly within 12 to 18 inches of each plant, but not directly on the crown or stems.

Ammonium sulfate and urea fertilizers contain no phosphorus (P) or potassium (K). In general, home garden soils have sufficient P and K. However, if soil or plant-tissue analysis shows a deficiency of either P or K, apply a more complete fertilizer. Use mixtures that contain potassium sulfate rather than potassium chloride; blueberries are very sensitive to chloride. Also, make sure the N is in the form of ammonium, not nitrate; blueberries do not take up nitrate N.


Blueberries have a shallow, fibrous root system, so they’re susceptible to drought injury. A uniform and adequate supply of water is essential for optimum growth. On average, young plants need about 1 inch of water per week. If this amount isn’t supplied by natural soil water or rainfall, you must irrigate. Check the soil frequently for adequate moisture and irrigate if necessary.

Care of established plants

Adding mulch

Add mulch as required to maintain a depth of about 6 inches once plants are mature. In row plantings, widen the mulched area to at least 4 feet as plants become larger. As a rule, sawdust mulch decomposes at the rate of about 1 inch per year.

In the second year, apply 0.25 oz of N per plant (1.2 oz of 21-0-0 or 0.55 oz 46-0-0) in April, May, and June. The total amount of N applied per plant will be 0.75 oz. Spread fertilizer evenly around the plant, over an area approximately equal to the spread of the bush. Try not to apply fertilizer to the base of the canes.

In year 3, increase the total fertilizer N applied to 0.8 oz. Divide the total into three equal portions and apply one-third each in April (around bloom time), May, and June.

In year 4, increase to 1 oz per plant. As the planting ages, slowly increase the total N applied to a maximum of 2.5 oz N per plant (12 oz of 21-0-0) in mulched plantings. Continue to split the total into three applications in April, May, and June. In general, you should not fertilize after July 1.

Your visual assessment of plant growth and fruiting can help you know how much to fertilize. If the plants are growing well (10 to 12 inches of new lateral growth each year and new vigorous growth from the base of the bush), leaves look green, and yield is good, there’s no need to worry about whether plants are getting enough nutrients. This assumes, however, that you’ve pruned plants well. Added nitrogen fertilizer will not compensate for poor growth due to insufficient pruning.

Check the soil pH every year or two, especially if growth is poor. If the pH is above 6, you can apply elemental sulfur to the surface of the soil or mulch to slowly acidify the soil and improve blueberry growth. Apply no more than 5.5 lb S per 100 feet of row (3 oz/plant). Higher rates will burn or kill blueberry plants.

Spread the S evenly under the bushes. Water or lightly rake it into the soil or mulch. Measure the soil pH a year later and add more S if necessary.

Ammonium sulfate fertilizers used over a period of years will gradually lower soil pH.

Blueberries need a uniform and adequate water supply from blossom time to the end of harvest. Moisture demand is greatest from fruit set to harvest (time of greatest fruit growth). Fruit bud formation for next year’s crop begins from late July to early August so adequate water is also needed at this time.

Plants need from 1.5 to 3 inches of water a week. Irrigate to supplement rainfall as needed. Irrigate frequently enough to prevent the soil from becoming too dry. However, avoid over-watering the plants, or roots may be killed due to lack of oxygen.

Overhead watering promotes disease. Drip or another form of under-canopy irrigation is ideal.


After the third year, you need to prune blueberry plants every winter. The best time to prune is January to early March, when plants are dormant.

The main objectives of pruning are to promote the growth of strong, new wood and to maintain good fruit production. If you prune too little, plants produce too many small berries and shoot growth is weak. Plants have weak, twiggy growth at the end of the season and fail to develop strong new wood for future production. Severe pruning produces fewer, larger berries and more new wood.

If you prune bushes correctly, you’ll have a good balance between fruit production and growth of vigorous new shoots. Experience is the best guide on how hard to prune.

A video guide to pruning blueberry plants is available from the Oregon State University Extension Service (A ­Grower’s Guide to Pruning Highbush Blueberries, DVD 002).

Blueberries produce fruit on 1-year-old wood (last year’s growth). Fruit buds are visible during the dormant season. They are the fat buds at the tip of last year’s growth. The small, scale-like buds toward the base of the 1-year-old wood are vegetative buds; they will produce a shoot with leaves next season (see Figure 2).

The best berries are produced on 1-year-old wood that is from 8 to 12 inches long. Short 1-year-old wood (less than 5 inches long) produces a lot of buds, but fruit quality and vegetative growth are poor. We call this type of wood “twiggy.”

When pruning, keep in mind the following principles.

  • Keep the bush fairly open. Open bushes promote better air circulation (less disease) and good light penetration to improve fruit bud set for next year’s crop.
  • Mature bushes should have 6 to 12 canes at their base, depending on cultivar or growth habit. After pruning, there generally should be an equal number of 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old canes. If you remove the oldest, unproductive canes, and thin to a few of the best shoots at the base (called “whips”), you will be renewing the bush each year.

The following step-by-step system will make pruning easier.

  1. Cut out any wood that’s dead, damaged, or diseased.
  2. Remove whips smaller than pencil size in diameter, but leave larger whips to develop into good fruiting wood next year.
  3. Cut out one or two old, unproductive canes (large stems arising near the base of the plant). Fourth-year or older wood with small, weak growth (short laterals or 1-year-wood) is unproductive. Cut these canes back to the ground or to a strong new whip growing near the base.
  4. Remove excess whips (or “suckers”) and weak, twiggy wood, especially from the top of the plant, to allow light to reach the center.
  5. Plants may overbear. This often results in very little new growth of wood and small, late-­maturing berries. If this is a problem, remove some of the weakest (thin and short) 1-year-old wood. If necessary, also tip back some of the remaining long 1-year-old wood by cutting off about one-third of the flower buds.

Some cultivars do not produce many whips from the base of the plant. Instead they produce whips from the base of older canes between ground level to knee height. When you prune these bushes, you will have fewer canes at the base of the plant, but more new growth or renewal wood higher up on the bush. Follow the same principles described above.


Each blueberry cultivar ripens berries over a 2- to 5-week period. A well-managed, mature northern highbush plant will produce from 13 to 18 lb fruit. Berries occur in clusters of 5 to 10.

Don’t be too anxious to pick the berries when they first turn blue—they are not yet fully ripe. They’ll develop better flavor, become sweeter, and grow about 20 percent larger if you leave them for a few days after they completely turn blue. Pick about once a week or more often in hot weather.

Gently roll berries between your thumb and forefinger, removing fully ripe berries and leaving unripe berries for the next picking. You can collect berries in an open container attached to a belt or cord at waist level. This frees both hands for picking.

You can keep fruit for a week or more in the refrigerator.


Many species of birds feed on blueberry fruit; they can harvest 100 percent of the berries if you don’t control them. Scare tactics such as aluminum plates and strips of foil flapping in the wind have limited effectiveness; birds become used to these devices.

The most effective method of bird control is light plastic netting. You can place nets directly on the plants, but this makes harvesting fruit difficult, and birds can feed on some of the outside fruit by pecking through the netting. As an alternative, you can construct a small wooden or PVC frame over individual plants or groups of plants to support the netting.

In general, insects and diseases are not a big problem for blueberries. The following diseases might occur:

  • Botrytis (gray mold that kills blossoms)
  • Pseudomonas (bacterial blight that causes 1-year-old wood to die back in winter)
  • Mummy berry, Anthracnose, and Alternaria fruit rots

Insect pests include root weevils and scale. If insects or disease become a problem, check with your local office of the OSU Extension Service for control recommendations.

For more information

Blueberry Cultivars for Oregon, B.C. Strik and C. Finn, EC 1308.

Pruning Highbush Blueberries (video), B.C. Strik, DVD 002.

Many OSU Extension Service publications may be viewed or downloaded from the Web. Visit the online Publications and Videos catalog at https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu

Copies of our publications and videos also are available from OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications. For prices and ordering information, visit our online catalog or contact us by fax (541-737-0817), e-mail ([email protected]), or phone (541-737-2513).

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3-in-1 Blueberry Bush (Northern Highbush)

Pick Blueberries 3 Times Longer than Normal

Perfect Blend of the Finest Blueberries
Our 3-in-1 Blueberry bush is the result of the flawless union of spectacular blueberry varieties: the Legacy, Pink Lemonade & Sunshine Blue. The 3 awesome varieties join together on one hardy shrub. You’ll receive an amazing bush with the most mouth-watering, plump and juicy blueberries you’ve ever tasted.

Extended Growing Season
One of the best features of our 3-in-1 Blueberry is that all three varieties ripen at different intervals during the season, so your harvest is spread out over the course of several months. Pink Lemonade and Sunshine Blue are ready for harvest mid-summer, and Legacy ripens last, around mid-August or later, depending upon your region.
Endless Ways to Enjoy These Berries
Your family will look forward to lip-smacking blueberry pancakes, fresh-baked muffins and sweet blueberry preserves for months on end. And you will feel good about serving these healthy and delicious berries that are packed with vitamins and disease-fighting antioxidants.
Beautiful and Easy to Grow
Maturing to heights of about 6-8 feet, upright and densely branched, the 3-in-1 Blueberry makes a gorgeous informal hedge when planted in rows.
Thriving in zones 4-7, the 3-in-1 Blueberry is an incredibly cold-hardy bush as well as being drought/heat tolerant. Like most blueberry bushes, this beauty prefers an acidic, well-drained soil that’s high in organic matter. Our 3-in-1 Blueberry bush is easy to grow; just plant in a sunny area and get ready to enjoy bushels of yummy berries bursting with sweet juicy goodness.
Order Now
This remarkable 3-in-1 Blueberry is incredibly popular, so order yours today, before we’re completely sold-out.

Planting & Care

The Blueberry is a deciduous shrub. The leaves are spirally arranged, narrow, and start out red-bronze in the spring only to develop into a dark-green. The flowers of the Blueberry are white, and bell-shaped. The fruit is a berry, which is dark blue to black, and has a thin wax coating.

Seasonal information: Blueberries are grown as an ornamental plant for its fall colors, typically bright orange or red. It is also a highly regarded “super food”, containing beneficial vitamins and nutrients.

Location: When selecting a site to plant your Blueberry bush, make sure the site has full sun and drains well. The plant grows best in moist soil, not in soggy soil. Blueberry plants require acidic, well-draining soil. When planted in soils with a pH higher than 5.5, blueberry plants do not absorb nutrients adequately and become more susceptible to disease. Blueberry plants contract moisture-related diseases when exposed to humid conditions or standing water.

Planting instructions: Dig a hole with the shovel that is about twice the size of the root ball of the bush. Make sure the hole is the same depth as the container it comes in. When planting more than one blueberry bush, dig holes that are at least five feet apart in rows that are 10 feet apart. Amend the soil from the hole with peat moss. Make sure to thoroughly mix the peat moss with the soil from the hole. Place the Blueberry bush in the hole. Cover the roots with soil-peat moss mix.

Watering: Your blueberry bushes will need to be watered regularly to make certain that the root system becomes well established. The soil surrounding your tree should be moist, but never saturated. Light green leaves can be a sign of over watering, while drooping leaves can be a sign of both over or under watering.

Fertilization: You do not need to fertilize the Blueberry bush at the time of planting. Fertilize the Blueberry bush twice a year, once in the spring and once after harvest.

Weed Control: Hand-pull weeds near the blueberry shrubs. You can damage the shallow root system with garden tools.

Pests and Disease: Blueberries grow best in acidic soil and are subject to few pests and diseases. The Blueberries are not self-fertile, so two compatible varieties should be planted next to each other to maintain growth and fruiting. If maintained with mulching, the berries can handle temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Blueberries can mature to the height of three to six feet with a width of up to three feet. The plant has few insect or disease problems; however, birds and squirrels are prone to eating them.

Pruning: Blueberries require only minimal pruning. Lower limbs can be thinned out to keep the fruit from touching the soil, and excessively vigorous upright shoots can be thinned out several feet from the ground to keep the center of the bush open, and to keep the bearing surface within reach. Spindly, weak, or dead branches should be thinned out annually during the dormant season.

Pollination: Blueberries are not self-fertile and must have two or more varieties to pollinate each other. Honeybees are inefficient pollinators, and carpenter bees frequently cut the corollas to rob nectar without pollinating the flowers. Blueberries do best when pollinated by buzz pollination by bees, such as the native southeastern blueberry bee.

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