Blueberry, Bilberry & Cranberry

Blueberries, Bilberries and Cranberries can all be treated in the same manner.

Blueberries generally have two flushes of growth.

That is, in spring they bear flowers on the tips of the previous season's growth and these flowers produce the first crop of berries.

Later strong new shoots grow from the base of the plant, and produce flower and fruit buds at their tips, these produce a second crop of berries.

This shrub is quite hardy and relatively easy to grow, providing you have a sheltered site in full sun or partial shade that has moist, peaty, lime free soil with a pH of 4.5 - 5.5

Alternatively; they can be grown in 300-400mm (12”-16”) diameter / square containers filled with ericaceous compost.

The most common known types are; corymbosum (Blueberry) myrtillus (Bilberry) oxycoccus (Cranberry)

With all of the above, growing more than one cultivar can improve cross-pollination, resulting in better fruit set

.

Water plants little and often using rain­water only resorting to tap water in dry spells if necessary to avoid drying out.

A mulch of bark mulch or pine needles around the base of plants will conserve moisture.

Cultivation notes:

Week 8> Prune* established bushes when fruit buds are visible.

*New plants do not need pruning for their first three years.

Prune the tips of stems that fruited last season, to a low, strong growing shoot or bud.

Remove any branches that are diseased, weak, and crossing / rubbing together or close to the ground.

The aim should be to produce an open centred bush from an early stage.

Do this by shortening long shoots on second year plants to encourage well shaped branching in the third year.

Each year prune out the most unproductive growth on older established plants, generally these appear as quite thick and woody branches relative to the rest.

After pruning, apply a dressing of fertiliser, and then apply a mulch of composted bark or leaf mould.

Use 50g (2oz) per sq m of growmore, plus 15g (½oz) per sq m sulphate of ammonia.

Pelleted poultry manure* is a suitable organic alternative, apply 150g (5oz) per sq m.

*This fertiliser mix is usually alkaline, so add flowers of sulphur at the rate of 15g(½oz) per sq m.

Week 16: If not done earlier in the season particularly plants grown in the open ground, apply a top dressing of 50g (2oz) per sq m of growmore, plus 15g (½oz) per sq m sulphate of ammonia,then apply a mulch of composted bark or leaf mould.

Pelleted poultry manure* is a suitable organic alternative, apply 150g (5oz) per sq m.

*This fertiliser mix is usually alkaline, so add flowers of sulphur at the rate of 15g (½oz) per sq m.

Week 28: Take semi-hardwood cuttings.

When rooted pot the plants up into individual 70mm (3") pots and grow on in a cold frame until Week 40.

Week 32: As the fruit appears the plants will need netting to prevent birds eating the berries.

Harvest the berries if ripe.

Week 36: If more stock is required layer suitable shoots.

It may take up to two years for the layers to root.

Week 40: Plant out cuttings in a nursery bed and leave for a couple of years to mature.

Week 40: Divide established plants if deemed necessary.

Week 42: Plant out in free draining soil enriched with organic matter in full sun or partial shade, setting corymbosum and myrtillus 1.5 - 2metres apart, and oxycoccus about 500-600mm (18"-24") apart.





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