Blueberry

I’d like you all to meet my new (to me) blueberry bush. This little bush had been living in my parents’ backyard for several years where it was attacked regularly by vicious rabbits. It has never been pruned (except by evil rabbits) or fertilized, and never produced any fruit. It was not a very happy bush.

Blueberry plant in pot on deck

It came into my possession after I half-jokingly told my mom that I wanted to take it home. I had been over at my parents’ house helping prune their fruit trees and my mom, as is her habit, asked me if there was anything I wanted to take home. I didn’t actually expect her to let me take the blueberry and that day she didn’t, but a few days later when she brought over some groceries (because she’s awesome) it was in the back of her car. She thought it would be happier here, even if the sole difference is that rabbits can’t reach it on my deck. I hope she’s right. Either way, now I have a blueberry bush.

The first thing I did with it when it got here was give it a good pruning. It has some twiggy, less-than-healthy looking branches at its base and I removed one of the two (the other one will probably go too, but I didn’t want to shock the plant too badly). I also removed the three fruiting buds at the tip of the one cane, because I want the plant to direct its energy into growing instead of trying to fruit.

Close up of blueberry buds

The second thing I did was change the soil. Blueberries like acidic soils with a pH between 4.5 and 5.1 (According to Perdue Horticulture) and the potting soil it was in was not nearly acidic enough. It had also been in the soil for several years so I figured a change might be what the plant needed. I mixed sphagnum peat moss with organic soil conditioner (75% pine bark and 25% compost plus trace minerals) from Suburban Lawn and Garden. I aimed for 33% spahgnum and 66% soil conditioner (Based on this recipe which seemed to be pretty standard) though I didn’t really measure.

Now it’s a waiting game. I have no idea if the change in soil and location will have any effect what-so-ever. The blueberry hasn’t leafed out yet, but it does show signs of life, so that’s encouraging. If I haven’t shocked it enough to kill it, the next things on my list to do will be to find some mulch, a suitable fertilizer, and maybe some sulfur to further acidify the soil. If it survives this is going to be one heck of a pampered blueberry…

If it survives, I may have to get it a friend

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