They need a well-drained, loose, highly organic, acidic soil with a pH between 4.0 and 5.0. Ripen early to mid-season. Southern Minnesota falls into USDA zone 5, and the northern part of the state is classified as USDA zone 3, so they should survive in all parts of the state. To do this, add elemental sulfur to the soil in the planting area. Amend the soil in the entire planting area, not just in the planting holes. Plants will tolerate partial shade, but too much shade causes plants to produce fewer blossoms and less fruit. University of Minnesota bred varieties are in bold and include the date of introduction. Plant young blueberry bushes in late April or early May. Self-pollinating. Regents of the University of Minnesota. Spray plants with a foliar chelated iron fertilizer. Ripen early. Both the harshness of Minnesota's winters and the composition of the state's soil make growing blueberries a challenge for Minnesota gardeners. It takes a blueberry bush about 10 years to reach mature size, but this also means they will live a long, long time. Or have your soil tested by the U of M Soil Testing Laboratory. Trees provide too much shade, compete with plants for water and nutrients, and interfere with air movement around plants. Washington State University, MasterGardenerOnline.com, Winter 2009. Stems are usually girdled in one season by cankers. A good-sized, healthy canopy is needed to support the fruit. The roots will expand outward, so amending the soil in a 2-3 foot wide strip is important to ensure the roots have access to acidic soil. Production of flowers and fruits stunts growth when plants are too small or weak. It may be marketed as soil acidifier or as soil sulfur/sulphur. Ripen mid-season. Don't use Japanese beetle traps. Blueberries are most likely to be attacked in early to mid-June when forest tent caterpillars climb down the trees. Both grow primarily in the northeastern half of the state, but they can be found growing from the furthest northwestern counties all the way to the southeastern corner of the state. Place berries in a firm container in the refrigerator shortly after picking. Get Directions. © Management of SWD can be challenging but is best achieved through a combination of detection, sanitation and insecticides. Planting at least two varieties is best, as more berries of larger size will be produced if flowers are fertilized with pollen from another variety. Cloud," "Polaris," "Superior" and "Chippewa." Remove these older stems at ground level. Chlorosis, or discoloring of the leaves, is usually the first sign of a soil pH problem. Careful pruning will help prevent disease infection. Ripen mid-season. The spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) is closely related to the common fruit flies that feed on decaying fruit. Many blueberry varieties grown in the Upper Midwest were bred for this climate by the University of Minnesota, making them right at home in the Minnesota home garden. Prune out and dispose of any part of the plant that is dead or dying. Japanese beetles are best controlled as adults. Use a fertilizer that includes elemental sulfur. Please be mindful of the potential environmental impacts of peat mining. These varieties are half-high bushes, which are crosses between northern highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) and lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), and they're h… Growing Blueberries in Your Home Garden. The University of Minnesota has developed seven blueberry cultivars that are suitable for growing in Minnesota. A soil with a pH closer to 7.0 will require more peat (5-6 inches) than a soil with a pH of 5.5-6.0 (4-5 inches). Coffee grounds— will they perk up plants? Poor air movement increases danger of spring frost injury to blossoms and favors disease development. Think azalea, rhododendron, cranberry, lingonberry: these are all related and all require the same acidic soil. Zone hardiness lists zone 4 first then zone 3. Japanese beetles have an exceptionally large host range, feeding on the leaves of over 300 species of plants, including apples, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, roses and plums. If you are growing blueberries in borderline acidic soil or soil you have had to amend to make it acidic, chances are you will have nutrient-related challenges more than any diseases or insect problems. In the third and subsequent years, use 3/10 pound at the beginning of bloom, and then follow up with two applications of 2/10 pound spaced six weeks apart. Water thoroughly after planting to ensure moisture reaches the deepest roots. Ripen mid-season. Keep the bush fairly open by cutting out any weak, old stems that no longer produce strong young wood. Medium, dark blue, firm berries. Many blueberry varieties grown in the Upper Midwest were bred for this climate by the University of Minnesota, making them right at home in the Minnesota home garden. Ripen mid-season. Blueberry leaves turn stunning shades of crimson and orange in autumn. EC 1304. Protect plants by surrounding them with chicken wire or similar fencing in the winter. Blueberry plants that have been severely chewed by Japanese beetles will be susceptible to winter injury. Taste a few berries that look ripe to get a good idea of how ripe fruit looks and feels. The plants will put on plenty of fruit after the first few years, but don't be surprised if the plants stay small, as mature size is usually not reached until the plants are 8 to 10 years old. It is best to amend the pH with sulfur the fall before planting, because it takes several months for sulfur to change the soil pH. Sulfur is preferred, because the environmental consequences of sphagnum peat mining are becoming an increasing concern. SWD lay their eggs in ripening berries that are still on plants and their larvae have been found in many different types of fruit, including blueberries and raspberries. Continue to have your soil pH tested every year or two, and amend as needed. If buying plants locally, find potted plants that are at least two or three years old. If the pH of the soil is over 5.5, then the soil is not acidic enough for blueberries. These diagnostic tools will guide you step-by-step through diagnosing a plant problem or identifying a weed or insect. For more information on this and other disease and insect pests, see Pest management for home blueberry plants. Test and monitor soil pH to stay ahead of this problem. If a plant seems to be weak or growing at a non-vertical angle, a stake may be driven into the ground close to the main stem, and the stem gently tied to the stake with a wide tie such as those used for trees, or with a strip of fabric. The more insects working the plants, the more fruit you will harvest. Adding 1 or 2 pounds of sulfur to 100 square feet of soil will lower its pH by one point, as well. Most nurseries ship bare root plants at the appropriate time for planting in early spring. Region, weather and cultural practices may result in higher or lower yields. Generally, plan to use the berries within a week or so. When they defoliate blueberry plants, they destroy the crop for two years. Another cultivar that can withstand Minnesota winters is the University of Michigan's "Northland." Blueberry plants require acidic soil (pH 4.0 to 5.0) that is well-drained, loose and high in organic matter. Blueberry plants grow slowly, which is one reason they live so long. Another cultivar that can withstand Minnesota winters is the University of Michigan's "Northland.". Ripen early. If you buy plants at a local nursery, keep potted plants well-watered in a sunny location until planting and plant as soon as possible.
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