If you have been thinking about adding blueberries to your garden, now is the time to do it. Planting in cool weather ups your chances for success in the spring and summer.
Blueberries, which can be used as hedges, borders or background plantings, are a productive fruit in Louisiana.
Since 2014, Rabbiteye blueberries have been an LSU AgCenter Louisiana Super Plant, a program that highlights tough and beautiful plants that perform well in Louisiana landscapes. Rabbiteye blueberries have a proven track record, having gone through several years of university evaluations and observations.
To have a successful blueberry crop, two different varieties of blueberries need to be planted near each other. Among those varieties are Climax, Premier Tiffblue and Brightwell. Each variety has its own qualities, slightly different from one another.
Rabbiteye blueberries should be planted 6 to 8 feet part, allowing enough room to pick from all sides. For a hedge, you might plant them slightly closer together, a 4- to 6-foot spacing
After selecting two different varieties, plant blueberries in an area that gets full sun, meaning eight or more hours of sunlight each day. The soil should be slightly sandy and drain well and have a pH (the measure of its acidity and alkalinity) of 4.5 to 5.5. If soil is not as acidic as it needs to be, consider adding organic matter, such as peat moss or pine bark, when planting.
During the first year of establishment, blueberries do not require very much pruning. As the plants get older, nearing the fifth or sixth year, you'll need to begin pruning, which will control and maintain the size of the plant and encourage new growth. Prune to remove older canes, which will direct the plant's energies into new growth.
Blueberries are fairly easy to grow and have few insect or disease problems. However, blueberries can get gall midges, different types of caterpillars, stink bugs scale and flower trips. Diseases to watch out for include botrytis blight, stem canker, septoria leaf spot and powdery mildew.