Bluegold: growing a popular variety of blueberries

Blueberries in areas of Russian gardeners are still rare exotic culture. Meanwhile, these berries are not only tasty, but also very healthy. In addition, the plant will adorn the garden. Experiments on its “cultivation” began relatively recently, a little over a century ago, but many successful varieties have already been obtained. One of the most popular not only at home, in the USA, but also in the world is Bluegold blueberry.

Description of Blueberry Bluegold

Blueberries are a very tasty and healthy berry, but until recently, she could not boast of special love with gardeners. Perhaps this is due to widespread superstition - the smell emitted by blueberry bushes has long been credited with the ability to cause persistent migraines. For this alleged feature in the Slavic countries, she received several unflattering nicknames - "hemlock", "foolish", "drunkard". However, in fact, a specific aroma is not spread by blueberries, but by rosemary, which in nature almost always grows next to it.

Ledum - a beautifully flowering plant, in nature almost always grows next to blueberries

It is scientifically proven that the use of blueberries is an effective prevention of atherosclerosis, diabetes and the appearance of tumors, including malignant ones. They also stimulate the work of most glands of internal secretion, help to remove the decay products of radioactive substances from the body, reduce the intensity of the course of inflammatory processes, have a beneficial effect on memory and brain

At the beginning of the last century, the first experiments on the "domestication" of blueberries began, at the origins of which stood the famous American botanist Frederick Vernon Covill. The first cultivar was bred in 1908 in the United States. Bluegold, which translates from English as “blue gold, ” is also of North American origin. The authorship belongs to breeder Arlen Draper. Culture was developed relatively recently, in 1989, but has already managed to gain sustainable popularity among gardeners not only in the homeland, but also far beyond its borders, including in Russia.

Blueberry bush grows rapidly and branches intensively

Blueberry Bluegold belongs to the category of tall varieties, its bush reaches 1.2–1.5 m. The plant is very decorative. During flowering, it is strewn with pastel pink "bells" collected in inflorescences, during fruiting - with tassels of large berries of a beautiful pale blue hue.

In autumn, the bush also looks elegant due to the fact that it changes the saturated dark green color of the leaves to bright yellow, and then to scarlet.

During flowering, blueberries are strewn with pastel pink "bells"

You cannot name a compact bush; new shoots are formed very quickly. Regular pruning will be required. Shoots are strong, intensely branching, reaching 2.5–3 cm in diameter. Most branches are erect, directed vertically upward.

In autumn, blueberry bushes serve as an excellent decoration of the garden due to the bright shade of the leaves.

Bluegold is a medium early ripening variety. Berries ripen in the second decade of July, almost simultaneously. Harvest at a time.

The first berries appear 3-4 years after planting a seedling in the ground.

Bluegold blueberries are one-dimensional, almost regular, spherical in shape or slightly flattened, with a shallow “scar”. The average weight of one berry is 6–8 g. Taste qualities are excellent. Blueberries resemble blueberries, but only sweeter. When harvesting, the peel does not suffer in any way (the so-called dry separation), which positively affects the portability and shelf life of the berries.

The Bluegold variety of blueberries is characterized by high productivity - the bush is literally dotted with brushes of berries

Advantages and disadvantages of the variety

The Bluegold variety of blueberries has many undoubted advantages:

  1. Thick pulp of berries. This makes them suitable for mechanized cleaning. Accordingly, the variety is interesting not only to amateur gardeners, but also to professional farmers. This feature also helps them to transport without much damage, including over long distances.
  2. The possibility of long-term storage. Fresh blueberries do not lie long, but it can be frozen. As practice shows, berries at temperatures from 0ºС to -18ºС do not lose their beneficial properties for six months.
  3. High yield. The adult bush of blueberries Bluegold, with proper care, brings 5-6 kg of berries annually. In particularly successful years, the yield reaches 7.5–9 kg. If correctly pruning, the plant has a productive life of about 90 years. On average, the bush stably bears fruit for 50-60 years.
  4. Cold resistance. Blueberry bushes tolerate frosts to -35ºС. In Russia, they successfully winter in the Urals, Siberia, and the Far East.
  5. Self-fertility. The bush does not require pollinating varieties for stable fruiting.

One of the undoubted advantages of Bluegold blueberries is consistently high productivity and a long productive period.

This culture is not without its certain disadvantages:

  1. Growth rate. This is a characteristic feature for all varieties of blueberries. If pruning is not done in time, it quickly grows and “strangles” plants located nearby.
  2. Tendency to bake berries. If the summer is hot and dry, they wrinkle and “mummify”. Before harvesting, a significant portion of them may crumble. The same thing happens with over-ripening, so it is important to collect blueberries on time.
  3. Unusually pale color of juice. But this does not affect the taste and benefits.

In the heat, Bluegold blueberry berries shrink, darken, partially showered from the bush

Landing Recommendations

Bluegold, like any other blueberry, is not least appreciated by gardeners for their unpretentiousness and ease of care. This is not surprising, because in nature it is found mainly in the northern countries - Canada, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, where the climate is not mild.

Landing procedure and preparation for it

The correct choice of a site for growing Bluegold blueberries is the key to a plentiful harvest in the future. She needs a place well warmed up by the sun. Deficiency of light and heat negatively affects the taste of berries, they noticeably acidify, the skin becomes rough. It is advisable that the groundwater does not come closer to the surface closer than 50-60 cm, otherwise you will have to build a mound with a height of 15-20 cm.

The site should be protected from cold drafts, but, nevertheless, it is important to ensure the possibility of ventilation. Otherwise, the bushes will suffer from pathogenic fungi.

It is desirable that at some distance from the blueberry bushes there is a natural or artificial barrier that protects from the wind

Blueberries prefer acidic soil (pH 3.5–4.5). The Bluegold variety is less demanding on soil acidity; the optimum pH for it is 5.0–5.5. Therefore, the acid-base balance of the soil must be determined in advance. If it does not meet the required indicators, fresh manure, pine sawdust, pine needles, peat chips, colloidal sulfur are applied to the soil or they are shed with acetic, citric acid, designated for blueberries. In this case, the substrate should be light enough to pass air well. On heavy soils, blueberries will not grow.

Acetic acid - one of the most common means for acidifying the soil

The root system of Bluegold blueberries is superficial; therefore, the average depth of the planting pit is 35–40 cm, and the diameter is about 0.5 m. When several plants are planted simultaneously, they maintain a distance between them approximately equal to the height of an adult bush.

The root system of the blueberry is superficial, so it does not need a deep landing pit

A drainage layer about 5 cm thick is mandatory at the bottom (brick chips, expanded clay, pebbles, clay shards). Then a mixture of high peat, coniferous sawdust, and coarse river sand spills out into the pit. All ingredients are taken in approximately equal proportions. From fertilizers Nitroammofosk, Diammofosk, Azofosk (25–40 g) are introduced.

Nitroammofoska - a complex fertilizer, the source of all the necessary blueberry elements

The so-called mycorrhiza is necessarily added to the landing pit for blueberries. This is a community of plants and special mushrooms specific to all plants from the Heather family. Mycorrhiza is vital for the proper development of the plant. If the seedling was purchased in a special nursery, it is already present in the upper soil layer. It must be preserved, as well as the water in which the plant was soaked (it is watered with a newly planted bush).

Mycorrhiza - a kind of "fringe" on the tips of the roots of plants belonging to the Heather family

Also, mycorrhiza in the form of a dry concentrate can be purchased in specialized stores, but there it is relatively rare. Another way is to find a place in the forest where blueberries, lingonberries, cranberries grow, cut a little turf along with the roots, chop and add to the planting pit.

The land under blueberries is a natural source of mycorrhiza

Video: preparing soil for planting blueberries

Landing time

The best time to plant blueberries is spring. You need to be in time before the leaves begin to bloom. Autumn is not very suitable, because the weather in most of Russia is unpredictable. You need to be sure that at least two months are left before the first frost. Only in this case, the bush will have time to adapt to new living conditions and will not die in winter.

Selection of seedlings

The best option is a 1-year or 2-year-old seedling. They best tolerate transplant-related stress. Bushes are purchased in specialized stores or trustworthy nurseries.

It is advisable that they be located in the same area as the site, or to the north.

Quality planting material can only be obtained from reliable suppliers.

Planting blueberries

The landing procedure has the following features:

  1. Blueberry seedlings are usually sold in small containers. 0.5 hours before disembarkation, they must be soaked together with the container in water, a pale pink solution of potassium permanganate or a solution of any biostimulant (potassium humate, succinic acid, Epin), prepared according to the instructions.
  2. The root system of the blueberry is fibrous, the roots quickly tangled. Before landing, the lower 2-3 mm “pile” is cut off with a sharpened, clean knife. They also make 5–6 longitudinal incisions 1.5–2 cm deep; their edges are “fluffed”.
  3. The roots should be placed closer to the surface, at a maximum depth of 6-8 cm. They are covered with the same mixture that was at the bottom of the landing pit. Soil is not compacted to provide free access of air.
  4. The root neck of blueberries is absent, so there is no need to monitor its position. The advice of gardeners is to deepen the base of shoots into the soil by 3-5 cm. Then the bush begins to branch much more intensively.
  5. The seedling is abundantly watered, spending at least 10 liters of water. Then the trunk circle is mulched, creating a layer with a minimum thickness of 5 cm. This will significantly save time on weeding. The best material is chips or small pieces of bark of coniferous trees, sphagnum moss. You can use any covering material in white or black. But peat does not fit categorically - weeds quickly sprout through it, it absorbs water poorly, taking it away from the bush.

After planting, the bush is watered and mulched.

Video: how to plant a bush of blueberries

Seasonal Care

Watering, top dressing, pruning a bush, mulching and loosening - a necessary set of measures to care for blueberries.

Watering

The recommended soil moisture for Bluegold blueberries is about 70% (soil compressed in a fist retains the shape of a lump, which disintegrates when thrown onto the ground). The watering regime should be such that the top 15–20 cm of the substrate never dries out completely. But it is also impossible to turn them into a swamp. Water stagnating under the bush for two days or more inevitably leads to its death.

The soil at the roots of the blueberry bush should be slightly moist, but not wet

If the summer is rainy, you can generally refuse watering, in the heat it is required every 2-3 days (you also have to spray the leaves). The norm for an adult plant is 10-15 liters. It is advisable to carry out watering in the late afternoon. The best way is sprinkling simulating natural rainfall. Water is not poured under the roots - they are located very close to the surface, it is easy to wash away the soil from them, which will lead to drying out.

Once every 1.5 weeks, ordinary water is replaced with acidified water (1-2 ml of acetic acid or about 5 g of colloidal sulfur per 10 l of water).

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In hot weather blueberry leaves are regularly sprayed from a spray bottle or doused with water from a watering can

3-4 times a season, the soil under the bushes after irrigation is loosened, but only very carefully, to a depth of not more than 5 cm. Mulch is not removed at the same time, at the end of the procedure it is advisable to renew its layer.

Top dressing

Of the macrocells, blueberries need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. About 100 g of nitrogen-containing fertilizers (urea, ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate), 110 g of phosphorus (superphosphate) and 40–50 g of potash (potassium sulfate) are enough for an adult bush.

Urea, like other nitrogen-containing fertilizers, stimulates blueberry bushes to build green mass.

Urea is introduced in two doses, at the beginning and at the end of May, in equal portions. In mid-June and after harvesting, the bushes are fed with phosphorus and potassium. In the second half of summer, the introduction of nitrogen-containing fertilizers is not recommended.

Bushes aged 5 years and older need more nitrogen - 250-300 g of fertilizer. They are introduced in three doses: half in the early spring, when the leaves bloom, another third in the beginning of May, the rest in the first ten days of June.

No organic matter (manure, compost, humus) is used to feed blueberries, nor is a natural alternative to mineral fertilizers (wood ash, leaf infusion). Still, any fertilizer with a chlorine content, for example, potassium chloride, is categorically contraindicated to her.

Blueberries Bluegold is sensitive to magnesium deficiency. During the season, kalimagnesia or magnesium sulfate (in total about 15–20 g) is added in dry form or as a solution. The deficiency of other trace elements is made up by diluting in 10 l of water 2-3 g of boric acid, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate. With this solution, the bush is watered in the first decade of June and at the end of September. An alternative is complex liquid fertilizer (Agricola, Kemira-Lux, Ideal).

Kalimagnesia - a fertilizer with magnesium content, deficiency of which blueberries are very sensitive

Video: Important Nuances of Blueberry Care

Pruning procedure

Pruning for blueberries Bluegold - a mandatory procedure that allows you to almost double the productive period of the bush. The first time it is carried out when 6 years have passed after the planting of the seedling in the ground. All 5-6-year-old shoots that no longer bear fruit are removed to the growth point. They also get rid of all short “empty” branches, especially those that are located at the very roots. Of the shoots under the age of 3 years, 4-6 of the strongest and most developed are left, the rest are also cut off. The next year, pinch the left branches to the 5th flower bud. In this case, very large berries ripen on them.

Wood ash helps disinfect wounds inflicted on the plant during pruning

For cutting use only disinfected and sharpened scissors, pruners. Wounds immediately sprinkled with crushed chalk, colloidal sulfur, sifted wood ash, powdered activated carbon. This is the "gateway" for all kinds of pathogenic fungi, to which blueberries are quite susceptible.

For pruning blueberries, only a well-sharpened instrument is used, sterilized in a dark violet solution of potassium permanganate for at least 0.5 hours

If several blueberry bushes grow on the site, you need to ensure that their branches do not intertwine. This postpones the ripening of the berries and negatively affects their taste.

Pruning is carried out once a year, in early spring (before leaf buds "wake up") or in autumn (after the end of leaf fall). At the same time, practice shows that, if it is carried out less often, yields become more plentiful, but at the same time the berries are smaller and ripen much later than usual.

When pruning blueberries, they first get rid of the oldest shoots

Winter preparations

Blueberry Bluegold has good frost resistance. From the cold, only non-lignified young shoots can suffer, but they also quickly recover during the season. Therefore, from a special shelter, if only they do not predict an abnormally cold and little snowy winter, you can refuse. It is enough to renew several times a season a snowdrift with a height of about 0.5 m.

The plant is especially fond of hares and other rodents. To prevent their attacks, branches of any coniferous trees are tied to the base of the shoots. You can surround the bush with a ring of durable mesh.

In winter, Bluegold blueberry bushes, as a rule, do not need any other shelter than snow

Typical Blueberry Diseases and Pests

Most often, Blueberry Bluegold suffers from all kinds of pathogenic fungi. Infection is especially difficult to prevent if the summer is cool and rainy. Such weather contributes to the development of various types of rot.

Gray rot is one of the most common fungal diseases that blueberries suffer from.

For spring prophylaxis, the bushes are treated three times with a 2% solution of copper sulfate or Bordeaux fluid, or they use any modern fungicides (Topsin, Skor, Horus, Abiga-Peak). For the first time, non-blooming leaf buds are sprayed, the second 3-4 days after flowering. The last treatment is 1.5–2 weeks after the second. A month after harvesting, the bushes are sprayed twice with an interval of 2-3 weeks with a solution of Strobi, Rovral.

Bordeaux liquid is one of the most popular and effective fungicides, which is easy to prepare on your own

If suspicious symptoms are found, the blueberry bushes are treated with Topaz, Fundazole. If necessary, the procedure is repeated after 7-10 days.

The plant is not insured against bacterial and viral diseases (mosaic, cancer, dwarfism, necrotic spotting). It is impossible to cure blueberries even in the very early stages of their development with the help of modern means. The best thing you can do is immediately uproot and burn the bush so as not to infect nearby plants.

Bacterial cancer is a dangerous disease for which there is currently no cure.

Blueberries, as a rule, are rarely exposed to massive attacks of harmful insects. An exception is the larvae and adult individuals of the May beetle, caterpillars of the leafworm and silkworm, aphids. Having found them, bushes are sprayed 2-3 times with an interval of 7-12 days by Actellik, Inta-Vir, Karbofos. May beetle larvae can be collected by hand, they are quite large and clearly visible on the bush.

It must be remembered that the use of any insecticides is undesirable during flowering and is prohibited at least 20 days before the expected harvest date.

Adult individuals and larvae of the May beetle cause serious harm to blueberry bushes, eating flower buds from the inside

Significant damage to the berries of blueberries can cause birds. To protect the crop, finely meshed mesh is carefully pulled onto the bush. You can also build repellents from foil, colored ribbons, bright paper, but practice shows that birds literally get used to them within a few days.

The net is the only thing that can reliably protect blueberry bushes from birds

Harvesting and storage

It is advisable to pick the Bluegold blueberries manually, although they are quite suitable for mechanized harvesting. You should not hesitate with this, otherwise most of the crop may fall off the bush. To check if the berries have ripened, just pick one of them. Ripe blueberries are very easy to separate from the stalk; no traces or damage remain on the skin.

Bluegold blueberries are dense pulp, but still stored relatively short

Starting to harvest blueberries, be sure to wait for the dew to dry. Berries are removed, moving from the bottom up and from the periphery to the center of the bush. They are collected in small containers, the bottom of which is lined with some soft material.

Blueberries packaged in closed glass jars are stored on average 12-15 days. But frozen berries are just as healthy as fresh berries.

Gardeners reviews

Last year, Bluegold received a blueberry seedling in a container by mail: small, with thin branches, she thought she would not survive. The container earth was removed from the roots, planted in open ground with the addition of land for azaleas. Over the summer, the bush has grown in breadth. Wintered without loss. This year I drove two branches to a meter.

Natlychern

I am writing about my experiments with blueberries. Since my site is located on former peat bogs, I naturally decided that blueberries should grow well and planted Herbert, Coville and Rankocas varieties several years ago. Over the course of three years, these bushes gradually wither away: nothing grew during the summer, and during the winter part of the branches froze. In 2004, she planted the Bluegold variety nearby. It immediately differs in appearance from all previous “suffocations” - there is no chlorosis on the leaves, shoots grow well over the summer, already this year they collected about 200 g of the first berries.

Marina

Plant Bluegold, plant Rankocas. There is still Nordland. They are smaller, but more reliable. These varieties are relatively better adapted to our conditions. And yet, even with them you need to seriously work at the end of the growing season. Otherwise, there will be constant freezing in the winter. And so that they forcefully curtailed the vegetation (tea, not in America), they should be sprayed several times in late August and September with a solution of potassium dihydrogen phosphate (2-3 g / l).

Oleg-Kiev

For me, the first criterion for choosing blueberry varieties for cultivation in central Russia is productivity and self-fertility. High yields of varieties Blyukrop, Patriot, Rankokas, Spartan, Blygold, Nelson - 6-8 kg per bush.

Chopper

Blueberry is a plant undeservedly underestimated by Russian gardeners. But it is rapidly gaining popularity. This culture is due to productivity, general unpretentiousness, decorative bush. Useful berries, widely used in folk medicine, are distinguished by their versatility, good transportability and excellent taste. Its homeland is the northern countries, so the Russian climate is quite suitable for blueberries.

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