Blueberries That Thrive
If I could grow only one type of fruit, it would definitely be blueberries. I have three good reasons for saying that. First, if you have acid soil, blueberries are easy to grow and very productive. Second, if you don't eat the berries, the birds will. (I have seen five different species in my bushes at one time.) Third, unlike some other fruits that are messy and ungainly, blueberries make excellent ornamental shrubs. Their leaves turn brilliant scarlet and crimson in late fall and may even last into winter.
Here is your blueprint for success. Give blueberries full sun and moist, well-drained, acid soil (pH 4.5 to 5.5) that contains lots of organic matter, such as peat, chopped leaves, and composted manure. Plant each bush slightly high in the hole so that the top 1?2 inch of the root-ball rests above the soil surface. Then mulch around the base with several inches of pine straw or shredded bark.
In the Upper and Middle South, you should plant Northern highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) such as 'Bluecrop,' 'Bluejay,' 'Darrow,' and 'Herbert.' This species is self-pollinating. Elsewhere, plant the more heat-tolerant rabbiteye blueberries (V. ashei) such as 'Beckyblue,' 'Climax,' 'Delite,' and 'Tifblue.' These selections need cross-pollination to set fruit, so plant at least two different ones.
How can you keep birds from eating all the berries? Try hanging reflective tape in the bushes or covering them with nylon netting.
If that doesn't work, put “Freebird” in your boom box, and turn it up loud.