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How do I Plant a Blueberry Tree?

By Paul Woods
Updated May 16, 2024
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Planting a blueberry tree is a matter of first choosing the right type of plant for the specific geographic region in which it will live. Once the correct variety of tree is selected, the proper type of soil should be identified and prepared. This step often requires adding nutrients to the soil. Blueberry trees typically are planted in the spring.

If a gardner is primarily interested in harvesting blueberries to eat, it should be noted that not all blueberry trees produce fruit that can be eaten. A Japanese blueberry tree, for example is an ornamental tree that produces inedible fruit but that grows to a substantial height.

The highbush blueberry, also known as a blueberry tree, is available in a number of varieties that produce edible fruit. A local nursery often is the best source for choosing among the 100 varieties of the plant for specific regions. For gardeners working in hotter climates, southern highbush, which is also known as rabbiteye, is recommended. Other climates will have specific varieties that grow well in those specific conditions.

Once the tree is selected, begin the planting process by selecting a site away from the shade of other trees and plants and one that has plenty of sunlight. These plants grow best in acidic soil. Typically, a pH level of 4 to 5.5 is recommended.

With a small shovel or trowel, the next step in planting a blueberry tree is to dig a series of holes about 18 inches (46 cm) wide and deep. Holes should be about 5 feet (1.5 meters) apart. Take the excavated soil and mix it with peat moss. This mixed soil should then be placed in the recently dug holes. Leave 4 inches (10 cm) available for planting and additional soil and peat.

The blueberry tree should be set lightly into the prepared hole, spreading the plants roots out naturally then pushing the plant down gently. Left over soil and peat mixture should be used to fill the hole and tamped gently down. Water the bush right after planting and spread mulch over the entire planted area to conserve moisture in the future.

If planting a non-edible-fruit bearing Japanese blueberry tree more room and a higher level of soil acidity are required. This tree can grow up to 40 feet (12 meters) wide and should be spaced accordingly. A soil pH level of 6.6 to 7.8 is suggested. Like the highbush blueberry, the Japanese blueberry likes sunlight.

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