Blueberry Bush Fertilizer  

A plant that requires minimal maintenance and yet yields delicious and nutritious fruit is the blueberry. These bushes grow well for years with a little sunshine, water and occasional shot of fertilizer. Blueberries are a very popular in the US and this is primarily because of their distinctive flavor and small edible seeds.

The month of July is referred to as the Blueberries Month because the blueberry is harvested in most areas of the country during this month.

Blueberries can be eaten fresh or they can be used to prepare jelly, jam, pies, pastries or juice. This fruit has medical attributes as well. Blueberries are believed to help in reducing the level of cholesterol and the risk of cancer. Blueberry fruit is also low in calories and sodium, and is a source of fiber. A major constituent of the fiber is pectin, which is known for its ability to lower blood cholesterol. Blueberries contain ellagic acid, which has been found to inhibit cancer in laboratory settings. Blueberry juice also contains a compound that stops bacteria from connecting themselves to the bladder, thereby aiding in the prevention of urinary tract infections.
  

Blueberries are perfect fruits for home gardens because they require very little space for growth. Healthy young plants from a reputable nursery or garden supply store should be selected. The season for plantation is spring. Blueberries flourish in full sunlight. They need acidic soil with a pH of 4.0 to 4.5 for best results. The acidity level in the soil may require to be increased in order to grow healthy bushes. Blueberries grow very in clay and rocky soils. The bushes should be spaced about five to six feet apart to avoid crowding. With loam soils, plants need to be grown on raised beds, 4 feet wide and 9 inches high for better water drainage. Such beds may not be required on sandy soils.

Testing the soil for pH, nutrient status and organic matter content is important for optimum yield. The testing should be carried out twice; once before soil preparation and acidification, and once after sulfur and fertilizer have been added. The soil organic matter could be increased by adding grass clippings, manure or leaves according to the soil test recommendations. In case if the soil pH level is above 4.5, granular sulfur can be used to lower the pH value. A thick layer of mulch must be kept around the blueberry bushes to eliminate weeds and help keep the soil moist. The plant should be watered well after planting and in the first few weeks as necessary to promote good root growth.

It is advisable to use fertilizers for blueberry production keeping in mind the soil test results. 1/2 to 2/3 pound of ammonium sulfate can be applied per 100 feet of row, 4 weeks after planting. The fertilizer should be kept at least 6 inches away from the plant. In the second through twelfth years, 1 to 1.5 pounds of ammonium sulfate per 100 feet of row each year is required for fertility and acidity maintenance. 0.5 pound of the ammonium sulfate should be applied at bloom, and the remaining 0.5 pound 4 to 6 weeks later. If plant leaves become chlorotic, then application of 2 to 3 ounces of ferrous sulfate or iron chelate around the base of the plants each year can help. In general, fertilizer is added once in the spring and again in late summer. The latter application helps to promote buds for next year.

After planting, there is a long patient wait ahead. A new bush produces fruit only in the third year. However, after that the bush thrives for many years to come with just a little care and maintenance.

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