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Blueberries, or common blueberries (from the Latin Vaccínium uliginósum), are well known to gardeners and a berry plant popular in many countries, belonging to deciduous shrubs from the genus Vaccinium and the Heather family. Knowing how to feed blueberries, you can achieve high yields.
Blueberry is a very unpretentious plant and, subject to agricultural technology, is rarely affected by pests or diseases. Blueberries are propagated by seeds, layering, cuttings, and tall forms are also vaccinated.
Among the most important conditions for the successful cultivation of garden blueberries is the competent selection of a site for planting plants. A growing place must meet several basic requirements:
- Good sunshine throughout the day. Inadequate lighting can significantly slow down the planting of flower buds and adversely affects subsequent productivity.
- Adequate protection against cold northerly winds. The presence of wind protection contributes to the rapid and high-quality heating of the soil, reducing the evaporation of moisture from the soil and reduces the likelihood of whitish deposits on the berries.
- The ability to protect the berry culture with snow as quickly as possible with a sharp decrease in temperature in the autumn-winter period. It is advisable to give preference to early ripening, the most frost-resistant varieties and forms that are able to finish active vegetation in a short time and qualitatively prepare for the winter period.
- The presence of good drainage and the complete absence of prolonged stagnation on the site. Excessive moisture often causes diseases of the root system and subsequent death of the berry culture. Prolonged drying of the soil can also destroy the plant.
- Compliance with the requirements for soil acidity at the cultivation site at a pH level of 4–5, with a humus content of 4–4.5%. The best areas for growing Vaccínium uliginósum are peatlands, light sandy loamy soils, well-drained soils with a high layer of overripe foliage.
- You can not plant blueberries in areas that are very water-intensive, with a low level of permeability of loamy and clay soils.
- As precursors, you can use almost all garden crops that do not need to be liming when grown. A good result is given by landing in areas exposed to steam during the year.
The rules for planting garden blueberry seedlings are simple, but to obtain a stable and high yield require mandatory compliance.
How to feed blueberries
Fertilizing when planting
Most often, spring planting is practiced. The dimensions of the landing pits imply compliance with the landing technology and depend on the type of soil and indicators of the depth of groundwater. As a rule, for most plants, the best option is a landing pit with dimensions of 0.6 × 0.6 × 0.6 m. The presence of heavy loamy soil suggests an increase in the size of the pit for landing twice.
In the planting pits, it is necessary to introduce a nutrient mixture represented by horse peat and river sand in a ratio of 3: 1. Planting garden blueberries on acidic peaty soils requires the obligatory introduction of two large buckets of sand into the planting pits. If the growing area is represented by neutral soils, a mixture of acid peat and soil extracted from the hole must be introduced into the planting pits.
Particular attention requires the introduction of fertilizers into the planting pits, which should provide the berry culture with good nutrition in the first years of growth and development:
- mineral fertilizers should be represented by sulfate forms in the form of ammonium sulfate and potassium sulfate;
- organic fertilizers can be represented by well decomposed compost and rotted leaves of garden or forest plants, which will allow some acidification of the soil.
It is important to remember that heavy clay soils reduce the survival rate of the root system of blueberries and have a negative impact on fruit bearing and crop quality. In addition, when planting a berry culture, fertilizers can not be applied that contribute to a decrease in soil acidity. If the soil on the site is not sufficiently acidic, then acidification of the soil is required. As a rule, this can be done through special preparations and fertilizers or using ordinary vinegar.
What and how to feed
Fertilizing the Vaccínium uliginósum berry culture plays an important role at all stages of the plant’s vegetation. Blueberries need to be fed several times a season. Fertilize the berry culture should begin from the second year after planting in a permanent place with the introduction of one tablespoon of full mineral composition, adding annually up to four years in a tablespoon of fertilizer.
For Vaccínium uliginósum bushes aged five to eight years, about eight tablespoons of fertilizer are applied. Older plants are fed a double rate of mineral fertilizers. It is best to apply top dressing at the stage of kidney swelling, in the early spring.
In the phase of active growth, the following top dressing is important for berry culture:
- at acidity values greater than pH − 5.0, ammonium sulfate is added at the rate of 0.1 kg for every ten square meters of berry;
- optimal soil pH values suggest the application of 85–90 g of ammonium sulfate, 35–40 g of potassium sulfate and 100–110 g of superphosphate for each productive plant;
- Experienced gardeners recommend using the Florovit mineral, multicomponent fertilizer, which has the ability to acidify the soil and contributes to the active development of the plant at low pH, to top-up the berry shrub;
- colloidal sulfur is used in the early spring or in autumn, if the soil on the site does not have optimal acidity and needs acidification.
You can not use garden manure, compost, chicken droppings to feed blueberries, since they cause alkalization of the soil and the death of the berry culture. With a lack or excess of fertilizers, the plant can become sick, and it is quite difficult to treat such a disease. That is why, if the leaves do not blush on the blueberries in the fall or other visible changes occur, the fertilizer application scheme should be reviewed and the berry should be fed only according to established recommendations.
Garden blueberries, grown in home gardening in most regions of our country, are quite picky berry crops in terms of mineral nutrition, therefore, they need to introduce a relatively small number of elements, in addition, it does not tolerate an increase in the concentration of fertilizers.
With excessive indicators of soil acidity, which is characteristic of peatlands, deoxidation or an increase in pH-indicators are mandatory. To this end, it is recommended to add sand or add limestone flour to the soil. Excessive application of nitrogen-containing fertilizers can spoil the taste of the berries and provoke excessive plant growth, and the leaves in autumn do not have a characteristic color and remain green until frost. In this case, in winter, the plant freezes. It is very important to wash off excess nitrogen from the soil with phosphorus-potassium complexes or ordinary wood ash.
Lack of fertilizer
Insufficient nutrition of blueberries negatively affects not only the growth and development of the plant, but is also the main reason for the decline in overall productivity and provokes the receipt of low quality berries.
Blueberries: the secrets of growing
The lack of resistance of Vaccínium uliginósum to frost in winter and drought in summer is the result of insufficient amounts of potassium. Basic potash fertilizers can protect shrubs from the most common garden pests and make stumps stronger. Weakened as a result of a violation of growing technology, the plant becomes attractive for pathogenic microflora, therefore, it needs more thorough treatment from pests and diseases, including cancer of the stem of blueberries.