How to feed blueberries to get a stable harvest
The benefits of blueberries are known to many, so gardeners often plant it in their plots. Modern varieties are able to give up to 9 kg of berries from the bush, but for this it is necessary to ensure the proper care of blueberries, including regular feeding.
Do I need to fertilize blueberries
Like all plants, blueberries suck out mineral substances from the soil, therefore, for stable growth, it necessarily needs top dressing. It is worth remembering the fact that this shrub in nature grows only on acidic soils, in swampy low areas.
Blueberries are not demanding on soil fertility, but loves top dressing
Most often, in our gardens the soil is neutral or alkaline, this can be checked by special testers to determine the acidity of the soil. They are inexpensive and often sold in stores for gardeners.
Soil acidity test paper
Blueberries will grow well only with soil acidity of 3.4–4 pH, for this purpose the pit is covered with horse peat (having an acidity of 2.6–3.2 pH) or forest soil from coniferous forests, where the soil also becomes acidic over time.
Never replace highland peat with lowland, they have completely different acidities, be sure to read the relevant information on the packaging
Often, in recommendations for planting blueberries, it is recommended to make a standard pit 50 * 50 * 50 cm, but if your soil in the site has a neutral or alkaline reaction, then very quickly and under the blueberry the soil will become closer to neutral. That is why for 2-3 years of planting, blueberries freeze in growth.
But if, before planting, the pit is made wider and filled with at least 30 buckets of acid soil (from coniferous forest or horse peat), then blueberries will grow much better, but nevertheless it is advisable to acidify the soil regularly and feed blueberries with mineral fertilizers.
Where to get acid soil for planting
The simplest option is the upper litter soil of any coniferous forests. The overripe needles are an excellent option for acidifying the soil. Also, the rotted bark of coniferous trees, which can be found at sawmills, is perfect. Another option is horse peat, which can be bought in stores.
Development of blueberry roots depending on soil acidity
When to Fertilize Blueberries
Blueberries are not considered a crop demanding soil fertility, but they respond very well to mineral top dressing. Unlike other types of shrubs, blueberries are fed only in spring and summer, without fertilizing it in the fall.
The first top dressing of blueberries - spring
It is carried out in April - May, when the sap flow or swelling of the kidneys begins. As fertilizer, full mineral fertilizers are used, such as Fertika-universal or Azofoska. They include the NPK complex with a ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium of 10–20–20%. However, these fertilizers should not be scattered dry on frozen ground, since heat deficiency contributes to the accumulation of nitrates in the soil. In May, acidifying solutions begin to water the soil.
To feed blueberries, it is better to use full mineral fertilizers
Second feeding - flowering time
With the beginning of flowering, which begins in May and can last until July, a second top dressing of the bushes is carried out. You can use the same fertilizers as in the spring. If the soil is dry, then first water the plant with plain water, then dilute the fertilizer and pour it under each bush.
With the advent of the first flowers, blueberries are fed again
Third feeding - summer
The final feeding of blueberries with mineral fertilizers should be carried out in late June - early July. At this time, the loading of berries begins, and additional top dressing contributes to the friendly ripening of the crop. Never exceed the norm, since an excess of mineral fertilizers turns into nitrates, which accumulate in the fruits, especially since blueberries are not particularly demanding on top dressing.
In July and August, watering of blueberries with acidified water continues.
Table: rate of consumption of mineral fertilizers on a bush of blueberries
|Bush age||First feeding||Second feeding||Third feeding||Annual rate of mineral fertilizers|
|2 years||1/3 tablespoon||1/3 tablespoon||1/3 tablespoon||1 tablespoon|
|3 years||1 tablespoon||1/2 tablespoon||1/2 tablespoon||2 tablespoons|
|4 years||2 tablespoons||1 tablespoon||1 tablespoon||4 tablespoons|
|5 years||3 tablespoons||2.5 tablespoons||2.5 tablespoons||8 tablespoons|
|6 years and more||6 tablespoons||5 tablespoons||5 tablespoons||16 tablespoons|
How and what to fertilize blueberries with
Only mineral fertilizers are used for top dressing; in addition, to increase the acidity of the soil, you can mulch the soil with rotted bark and needles of conifers, sometimes with pine sawdust, husk of pine nuts, but in a small amount, since they take nitrogen from the soil.
It is better to mulch the soil under the blueberry bush with the bark of coniferous trees, but sawdust will also do.
A chemical that is fairly easy to buy in stores. It is a good source of nitrogen and sulfur for plants, slightly acidifies the soil, but is not a complete mineral fertilizer. Add it in addition to the mineral NPK complex, if the soil under the blueberry has a soil acidity above 4.8 pH, you can check this with special paper testers or in laboratories.
Ammonium sulfate is easily soluble in water, economical, not washed with water and not toxic. For the first time, fertilizer can simply be scattered in the early spring under the bushes and slightly loosen the soil. The norm is 30-40 grams per square meter. After 1.5 months, the fertilizer can be repeated, but already in liquid form, so it is absorbed by the plant almost instantly.
If your blueberry grows well and the annual growth of branches is half a meter or more, and the soil acidity is 3.2–4.5 pH, then additional nitrogen in the soil is not needed and ammonium sulfate should not be added.Recent entries In April, I process roses so that no pests encroach on my beauties
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Another chemical that makes the soil acidic. It does not dissolve in water, it is better to embed it into the soil to a depth of 15 cm or to scatter it under mulch on the soil surface. The consumption rate is 500 grams per 10 square meters.
Vinegar and Citric Acid
To maintain the soil in acidic condition, you should regularly acidify the soil, and the less acid soil you put during planting, the more and more often you should water blueberries with these solutions:
- 1 cup 9% apple cider vinegar per 10 liters of water;
- 1 teaspoon of citric or oxalic acid in 3 liters of water.
If you water blueberries with plain water with a pH of 5.5, then the soil will soon become the same acid, so every 2 weeks replace plain water with these solutions. In hot weather, 1 to 3 buckets of water should be poured under the bush. To preserve moisture in the soil, use mulch from pine sawdust or bark, this will reduce evaporation and will have to be watered with less water.
Be sure to check the acidity of the soil under the blueberries at least 1 time per year.
Photo Gallery: Blueberry Fertilizers
- Ammonium sulfate is a good source of nitrogen, additionally acidifying the soil.
- Colloidal sulfur acidifies the soil, is applied 2 times a season under blueberry bushes
- A glass of apple cider vinegar diluted in a bucket of water is a good way to maintain soil acidity
- With a solution of citric acid, blueberries are also watered to acidify the soil.
- In stores, you can also find special fertilizer for blueberries.
- Azofoska - the most affordable mineral fertilizer
What you can not fertilize blueberries
The feeding of ash, manure, chicken droppings or compost is absolutely contraindicated for blueberries. They alkalize the soil, mycorrhiza on the roots of blueberries does not work and the plant is starving, in addition, in these fertilizers there is a lot of nitrogen, which simply burns the roots.
Video: feeding blueberries in spring
Check the acidity of the soil. At pH greater than 5.5 - 6.0, blueberries die. At the courses we were told that this is the main reason for the poor health of plants that love acidic soil - in 3 years the earth restores its usual acidity. There are many ways to acidify. From regular: 40-50 g of sulfur should be added annually. Urgent: pour acidified water under the bush, preventing the solution from getting on the leaves. For acidification, citric, oxalic acid is used: 1 teaspoon per 3 liters of water or 9% vinegar 100 ml per 10 liters of water.Olga D.
The needles mix rather quickly with the ground and sag. It is necessary to pour every spring. Twenty, not twenty, and ten centimeters do not harm at all. And weeding is not necessary. You can still add sawdust. Only nitrogen then we must not forget to make. Watering can be diluted with vinegar essence (100 g per bucket) or citric acid (sachet per bucket).natalena
I initially planted it in a pit with peat in a low place (flooded with spring water). Before every winter I mulch sawdust. They decompose, acidify the soil. For more than 3 years I have not done anything. I only go to admire and pick berries. Growing slowly. Beautiful in the fall. Promised height to 2 meters. While the bush is 60 cm.Chapelen
Blueberries love acid soil. Without it, it grows poorly. A lot depends on the quality of the material. In many areas we planted large bushes and small ones. With large customers, they harvest regularly and it looks like in the pictures. Little ones choke for a long time, but after 2-3 years everything normalizes. It is necessary to acidify 2 times a year (on the middle bush 1 glass of vinegar, diluted in 1 bucket of water). Do not worry, it works great. Or very expensive professional acidifiers (the meaning is the same). Add sour peat when planting.green
She planted blueberries a long time ago, more than 10 years ago, when I had a period of planting a variety of “exotics” for the Moscow region ... I bought as many as seven varieties, because I love this berry. All ten years I’ve been looking for a place around the site, where she would be well and she began to bear fruit. As a result, only four shrubs remained, of which two never produced fruit, the other two — bloom for about five years and produce berries, but not many, although they have no young new branches and very weak leafiness. ... Blueberries love acidic soil, with this we are just fine. And then - moistened, well-drained soil, preferably mulched, this is also there. It turns out the following, all conditions are created, but to no avail ...Jackdaw58
To obtain stable crops, blueberries should be planted correctly in acidic soil, and then fed with mineral fertilizers and periodically acidified soil. Only such an approach to the cultivation of this berry shrub will allow you to enjoy delicious fruits.