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Blueberries!

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Blueberries

Read farther down for more websites and blueberry information;

Common Types Of Blueberries: Best Varieties Of Blueberry For Gardens

Nutritious and delicious, blueberries are a super food you can grow yourself. Before planting your berries though, it’s helpful to learn about the different types of blueberry plants available and which blueberry varieties are suited to your region.

Types of Blueberry Plants

There are five major varieties of blueberry grown in the United States: lowbush, northern highbush, southern highbush, rabbiteye and half-high. Of these, northern highbush blueberry varieties are the most common types of blueberries cultivated throughout the world.

Highbush blueberry varieties are more disease resistant than other blueberry varieties. The highbush cultivars are self-fertile; however, cross pollination by another cultivar ensures the production of larger berries. Choose another blueberry of the same type to ensure the highest yield and size. Rabbiteye and Lowbush are not self-fertile. The rabbiteye blueberries need a different rabbiteye cultivar to pollinate and the lowbush varieties can be pollinated by either another lowbush or a highbush cultivar.

Blueberry Bush Varieties

Lowbush blueberry varieties are, as their name suggests, shorter, truer bushes than their highbush counterparts, growing under 1 ½ feet generally. For a bountiful fruit yield, plant more than one cultivar. These types of blueberry bushes need little pruning, although it is recommended to cut the plants back to the ground every 2-3 years. Top Hat is a dwarf, lowbush variety and is used for ornamental landscaping as well as container gardening. Ruby carpet is another lowbush that grows in USDA zones 3-7.
Northern highbush blueberry bush varieties are native to the eastern and northeastern United States. They grow to between 5-9 feet in height. They require the most consistent pruning of the blueberry varieties. A list of highbush cultivars includes:

  • Bluecrop
  • Bluegold
  • Blueray
  • Duke
  • Elliot
  • Hardyblue
  • Jersey
  • Legacy
  • Patriot
  • Rubel

All range in their recommended USDA hardiness zones.
Southern highbush blueberry bush varieties are hybrids of V. corymbosum and a Floridian native, V. darrowii, that can grow between 6-8 feet in height. This variety of blueberry was created to allow for berry production in areas of mild winters, as they require less chilling time to break bud and flower. The bushes blossom in the late winter, so frost will damage production. Therefore, southern highbush varieties are best suited to areas with very mild winters. Some southern highbush cultivars are:

  • Golf Coast
  • Misty
  • Oneal
  • Ozarkblue
  • Sharpblue
  • Sunshine Blue

Rabbiteye blueberries are native to the southeastern United States and grow between 6-10 feet in height. They were created to thrive in areas with long, hot summers. They are more susceptible to winter cold damage than northern highbush blueberries. Many of the older cultivars of this type have thicker skins, more obvious seeds and stone cells. Recommended cultivars include:

  • Brightwell
  • Climax
  • Powderblue
  • Premier
  • Tifblue
  • Prince
  • Austin
  • Ocklockonee
  • These are the the types of berries I have. Read further down for the different varieties I have.

Half-high blueberries are a cross between northern highbush and lowbush berries and will tolerate temperatures of 35-45 degrees F. (1 to 7 C.). A medium sized blueberry, the plants grow 3-4 feet tall. They do well container grown. They need less pruning than highbush varieties. Amongst the half-high varieties you will find:

  • Bluegold
  • Friendship
  • Northcountry
  • Northland
  • Northsky
  • Patriot
  • Polaris
Here I Tennessee, we get more than enough chill hours for blueberries.

Climax  – Rabbiteye Blueberry

An old variety that has stood the test of time. Has a very concentrated ripening period, and a dry scar when picked, making it an excellent variety for freezing .  Early ripening, large, firm-fleshed with a spicy sweet flavor. Fruit ripens early May. 400-450 chill hours

Premier – Rabbiteye Blueberry

Beautiful upright plants. Premier’s fruit has excellent flavor, light blue color, and a dry scar. Highly productive. One of the best for fresh eating and freezing. Fruit ripens late May to early June. 550 chill hours

Prince- Rabbiteye Blueberry
  1. The height of a mature bush is 6 feet.
  2. Fruit begins ripening with mid-season low chilling high-bush types, it is the earliest Rabbiteye to harvest.
  3. Yields have been consistent and are high; 10 to 12 pounds per plant.
  4. Quality of the fruits are excellent. The fruits medium sized are firm and have small dry scars; typical of new Rabbiteye types. Flavor of the fruits have low acidity, mildly sweet.
  5. Mechanical harvesting has not been trialed, since the medium sized fruits are of fine quality without scars, there is a good chance this could be conducive for mechanical harvest. This is an excellent berry for the hand harvest or U-Pick.
  6. The plants are very upright in stature The growth is moderate, unlike most Rabbiteyes. Plants are easily pruned due to the form of the plant.
  7. Flowering occurs with other low chilling high-bush types, so spring frost protection is recommended for frosty areas.
  8. Plants have been field tested by growers and ARS test plots to obtain all of the facts. Hardiness Zones 9-7

Austin – Rabbiteye Blueberry Plant

University of Florida release. Austin’s super sweet berries are a blueberry  grazers dream. Mid-size grower that suckers well. Fruit ripens in early June. 450-550 chill hours

Brightwell – Rabbiteye Blueberry!

University of Georgia release. Brightwell plants are super vigorous and upright. Makes a great hedging variety. A heavy producer of light blue, firm berries with sweet sugary flavor. Fruit ripens early June. 350-400 chill hours

Powderblue- Rabbiteye Blueberry

Powderblue is an late ripening blueberry. The plants are very upright, and make excellent hedges. Fruit is powderblue in color and large, with an excellent sweet-tart flavor. Good fresh or frozen. Fruit ripens late June-July. 550- 650 chill hours.

Tiftblue – Rabbiteye Blueberry

Hundreds of acres are planted with Tifblue. Many newer varieties have some Tifblue parentage, as it’s one of the most popular standards for breeders. The plants are tall, vigorous, and upright. Berry Plants are large, very firm, highly flavored, and hold well on the bush. Ripens late-June through July. 550-600 chill hours.

Ochlocknee – Rabiteye Blueberry

Ochlockonee produces heavy quantities of late ripening, large fruit (even larger than Tifblue!). A vigorous, upright grower Ochlockonee flowers late so it escapes late spring freezes. Developed at the University of Georgia and released in 2002 , it was named for the Ochlockonee river in southern Georgia. Ripens in July. 550-600 chill hours.

Some Websites To Check Out

BLUEBERRY FACTS

The modern blueberry is a 20th century invention. Before the 1900s, the only way to enjoy these North American natives was to find them in the wild. Then, scientists started to unlock the secrets of cultivating blueberries, and we’re glad they did!  Plump, juicy berries are now easy to grow in your backyard on bushes that are resistant to most pests and diseases, and can produce for up to 20 years. A relative of rhododendron and azalea, blueberry bushes are also an attractive addition to your overall landscape, offering scarlet fall foliage and creamy white spring flowers. Learn more about why you should grow blueberries in your home garden.
There are three types of blueberries: highbush, lowbush and hybrid half-high. The most commonly planted blueberry is the highbush. Most blueberry breeding has focused on this species, so there are many varieties that range widely in cold hardiness and fruit season, size, and flavor. See more about blueberry varieties below.

Planting

  • Blueberries are picky about soil. They require one that is acidic, high in organic matter, and well-drained yet moist. pH should ideally be between 4 and 5.
  • Bushes should be planted in the early spring. If available, one to three-year-old plants are a good choice. Be sure to go to a reputable nursery.
  • Dig holes about 20 inches deep and 18 inches wide.
  • Space bushes about 5 feet apart.
  • Apply fertilizer one month after planting, not at time of planting.

Care

  • Mulch to keep shallow blueberry root systems moist, which is essential. Apply a 2-4 inch layer of woodchips, saw dust or pine needles after planting.
  • For the first four years after planting, there is no need to prune blueberry bushes. From then on, pruning is needed to stimulate growth of the new shoots that will bear fruit the following season.
  • Drape netting over ripening blueberries, so that the birds won’t make away with the entire crop.
  • Prune plants in late winter, preferably just before growth begins.
  • On highbush varieties, begin with large cuts, removing wood that is more than six years old, drooping to the ground, or crowding the center of the bush. Also remove low-growing branches whose fruit will touch the ground, as well as spindly twigs.
  • Prune lowbush blueberries by cutting all stems to ground level. Pruned plants will not bear the season following pruning, so prune a different half of a planting every two years (or a different third of a planting every three years).
  • Do not allow the bush to produce fruit for the first couple of years. Pinch back blossoms, this will help to stimulate growth.

Pests/Diseases

Harvest/Storage

  • Blueberries will be ready for picking in late July-mid August.
  • Don’t rush to pick the berries as soon as they turn blue. Wait a couple days. When they are ready, they should fall off right into your hand.
  • Be aware that full production is reached after about 6 years.
  • Blueberries are one of the easiest fruits to freeze. Learn how to properly freeze blueberries so you can have them all winter long.

Recommended Varieties

Hello!

I have an unique opportunity for pre-ordered Blueberry plants! I have 9 different types of blueberry plants. They are 2 year plants, at least 2 feet tall, with the Premier topping 3 feet. The plants are planted in 1.5 gallon pots. The plants set fruit last year, and will set again this year.
The Blueberry Plants that are available are; Climax, Premier, Prince, Austin, Brightwell, Powder Blue, Tif-Blue, Ochlocknee. I would recommend the Premier, as they are larger plants.
I am asking $8.00 each, or 12 or more at $7.00 each. ORDERS WILL HAVE TO BE IN BY JANUARY 15! The plants will be available for pick-up sometime at the end of January. I will set that date soon. I do, however, need to have an order totaling at least 40 plants total, or I cannot get the blueberry plants. Getting that amount should not be a problem, though if I do not get that minimum, I will contact those who have already requested berries. It will be payment on delivery.
If you have any questions, please let me know. I will be posting answers to questions and other blueberry facts on my websites;
 
Thank you all, and have a Happy New Year!
Ethan Denson
Denson Plants & Produce

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