How to grow forest blueberries in the garden, reproduction in different ways
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In the wild, blueberries are widespread in the forests of Europe, Russia and in the north of Central Asia. People are engaged in picking berries, but this is a laborious and unproductive business. You can also try to grow blueberries in your garden.
Blueberry in the garden
Cultivated blueberries are rare. Firstly, for its cultivation, a special soil is required, not at all the same one that is suitable for most garden crops. Secondly, the yield per unit area is not so great. Most gardeners have small plots, and not everyone dares to occupy precious square meters because of several kilograms of blueberries. But the berry is being grown, and a successful experience has already been gained. As a result of proper care, it gives more harvest than wild in the forest.
When properly cared for, blueberries in the garden produce good yields.
There can be confusion when trying to buy blueberry seedlings from nurseries. The fact is that close relatives of our wild blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) - narrow-leaved blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) and Canadian blueberry (Vaccinium myrtilloides) - grow in the USA and Canada. Cultivated blueberry is a tall plant (up to 3 m), it is much more productive than ordinary blueberry. Blueberries are lighter in color, as the name suggests, less juicy and do not leave dark spots like blueberries.
Therefore, in order to start an ordinary forest blueberry, most likely, you will have to look for planting material not in nurseries, but in the forest. Blueberries are propagated in the following ways:
- whole bushes, dug up from the roots;
- bushes with roots divided into shoots;
This is a time-consuming and long-term process. It takes 3 years from seed germination to the first harvest.
- Ripe berries are crushed in a bowl until finely grated puree. Pour in water, stir. Empty seeds float up, they are removed. The sediment is washed repeatedly until full seeds remain. They are heavier than water and sink to the bottom.
To prepare blueberry seeds, ripe berries are selected that need to be crushed
- Seeds can be planted immediately after drying.
- Forest soil from the places where blueberries grow is used as a substrate. You can prepare the mixture yourself from equal parts of sand, peat, decayed or crushed needles.
- There is no point in stratifying (hardening at low temperatures) blueberry seeds. This operation increases the frost resistance of heat-loving crops. But blueberries grow even on the southern borders of the Arctic Circle, so there is no point in additional hardening.
- Seeds are sealed to a depth of 0.5–1 cm, covered with foil or glass to create greenhouse conditions, and kept at room temperature.
- Seedlings should appear in 21-30 days. Before that, you can keep the seedlings in a dark place, but immediately after the first sprout that has hatched, light is needed, otherwise the plants will very quickly stretch out and be pale.
When blueberry sprouts appear, the container must be placed in a bright place.
- Every day, the boxes are slightly opened, aired, and when the top layer of the soil dries up, they are slightly moistened.
- In winter, seedlings are kept in the light at a temperature of 5-10aboutFROM.
- In the spring, seedlings are dived one by one into a separate container with a capacity of at least 0.5–0.7 liters. They grow it in these pots for another year, and next spring they are planted in a permanent place.
Bushes and shoots
When dividing the bush, shoots with 5-7 buds and well-developed root processes are chosen. Also, by the fall, you can get an independent shoot if you press the twig to the ground in the spring and sprinkle it with soil. In this place, roots are formed by the fall, and the shoot can be cut and transplanted.
Bush planting process:
- A 2-3-year-old compact bush is dug in the forest or nursery, preferably with a large clod of earth. Do not delay with a transplant. The faster any plant with an open root system moves from place to place, the easier it takes root. Thin roots do not have time to die, and at first, due to the coma of moist soil, the plants do not even wither. If necessary, the bush is stored in the shade and coolness, covering the roots from light with a damp cloth made of natural fabric.
- At the planting site, a hole is made according to the size of the roots. They are planted like all seedlings - they straighten the roots, put them on a mound of loose earth prepared in a hole, cover the root system with soil so that there are no voids left, tamp it tightly, spill it well.
- Planting by shoots is carried out in the same way, the only difference is that the shoot is smaller than the bush and the pits are made smaller in size.
- After planting, the area under the blueberries should be mulched, preferably with forest mulch from those places where blueberries grow well. These are fresh and rotten leaves, needles, it is possible with a loose top layer of soil. Blueberries are planted in late October - early November, and such mulching will not only protect the soil from drying out next summer, provide top dressing for years to come, but also protect the not yet hardened root system from freezing in winter.
2-3-year-old blueberry bushes dug in the forest are suitable for planting in the garden
Blueberries grow well in vast areas of our continent, therefore there are no special differences in their cultivation, for example, in the moderately cold suburbs of Moscow and warmer Ukraine. The difference can only be in the timing of ripening (in the south, the first berries will ripen earlier) and in the timing of planting (in the fall, blueberries are planted before the onset of stable frosts).
The native soil for blueberries is loose, breathing forest sandstones with a high content of natural humus from fallen leaves and needles. They almost never dry out and are always wet due to forest shading and a thick layer of mulch. Blueberries are a crop that needs very acidic soil with a pH of 4–5.5. In a less acidic environment, the plant develops chlorosis.
It is important to remember that blueberries, like most heathers, can only develop in symbiosis with the fungus. Invisible mycelium particles will be sown in the soil along with the soil at the plant's roots.
You can artificially create a substrate for blueberries. First, leaf humus or sphagnum peat is scattered over the entire area cleared of weeds in an amount of 12-15 liters per 1 m2... Then, planting holes with a diameter and depth of 30 x 30 cm are dug. The excavated soil in a 1: 1 ratio is mixed with humus or peat. When planting, the roots of the plant are covered with this mixture.
If the soil is clayey, heavy, river sand is added to the soil and organic matter. In poor and barren soil, 50–70 g of bone meal can be sprinkled on each hole. This top dressing can be replaced with ammonium sulfate, which is scattered after planting (15 g per 1 m2).
Leaf humus and any plant humus are inherently very acidic. You can use any other humus, for example, from manure, sawdust. If you are not sure of the sufficient acidity of the prepared soil, you can moisten the area with a solution of citric acid at the rate of 1 tsp. 10 liters of water. Scattered sulfur powder also increases acidity at the rate of 50-60 g per 1 m2.
The most suitable soil for blueberries is similar to that in which they grow in the forest
In the forest, it may seem that blueberries do not like the sun. But the experience of cultivation has proved that with sufficient lighting it bears fruit better, there are more fruits, they are larger and tastier. Nevertheless, blueberries are shade-tolerant. It should not be planted in absolute hot weather, for example, on southern slopes without the slightest shade, where it can burn out. And it can be planted in partial shade, where there is sun in summer, but not a full day, or in diffused shade under thin crowns at a reasonable distance from bushes and trees.
With good, but not excessive lighting, blueberries bear fruit better.
Watering, weeding, mulching
It is necessary to monitor sufficient soil moisture throughout the warm season. Although a sufficiently thick layer of mulch will almost completely solve this problem. Under it, the soil does not dry out, and watering is required only during a long drought.
Weeding is also required. Blueberries do not have a very strong root system. Most garden weeds are capable of creating strong competition for her and even stifling growth. With the use of a tool, it is necessary to weed before adding mulch, and after that the mulching layer under the bushes will not allow small weeds to break through, and rare large weeds can be easily removed by hand.
Over time, the mulch decays, and it is necessary to add fresh mulch as needed. Fresh mulch is also needed before winter, which will keep the roots from freezing.
Rotten mulch serves as a source of nutrition for blueberries, so they do not need additional feeding. Moreover, mineral fertilizers can even harm the plant. For example, nitrogen fertilization will cause an explosive growth of the green mass, disrupt the normal metabolism, and worsen the quality of the berries.
There is no consensus on pruning low-growing blueberry bushes. Some gardeners believe that blueberries do not need to be touched at all and that they should grow on their own as they want. Others argue that pruning after 3 years of growth is the basis for a high-quality crop.
You can stop at the golden mean. Required:
- sanitary pruning (remove all diseased and weak branches);
- thinning pruning (part of the branches growing inside the crown are removed to improve illumination inside the bush);
- rejuvenating pruning (carried out on bushes more than 5 years old. Pruning old branches, which stimulates the growth of new shoots).
Video: growing blueberries in the garden
There are no special difficulties and problems with growing blueberries in the garden, except for the soil. In a properly composed soil mixture or brought from the forest, the bushes of the plant will take root and will bear fruit. However, blueberry yields are low due to the small size of the berries.
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Description and cultivation of blueberries at home
Small blueberries have long been prized for their taste and therapeutic properties. They went to the forest to pick the fruits, but pretty soon it became clear that the culture feels great even on the backyard.
- Botanical description of blueberries
- Blueberry varieties
- How to grow blueberries at home?
- Planting blueberries
- Proper care of blueberries
- Lighting, temperature, humidity
- Fertilization and feeding
- Preparing for winter
- Pests and diseases
- Description of the fruits of common blueberries
- Blueberry cultivation video
Description of garden blueberries
As shown in the photo above, garden blueberry is a tall deciduous shrub, the length of the shoots of which reaches from 1 to 3 m, depending on the variety and climatic conditions. The plant forms a fibrous root system with numerous lateral processes 5-6 cm long. They are densely intertwined with each other and, when viewed from the outside, resemble a pile.
The stems of the garden variety of blueberries are straight, strong. They lengthen every year due to young growth. Shoots extend from the main trunk at an acute angle. Along their entire length, there are alternately small rounded-oblong leaves with characteristic teeth along the outer edge.
During the active growing season, the shade of the leaf plates is light green, but with the approach of autumn, it gradually changes to purple.
The flowering period of the garden form of blueberries begins in late May - early June. At the same time, single white or pale pink flowers appear on young shoots. The size of garden blueberries reaches 1-1.5 cm in diameter. The fruits are distinguished by a regular spherical shape with a characteristic scar, like a wild berry. Their color is bluish-black, but at the same time the upper shell is covered with a bluish-blue bloom. Such a rich shade is due to the high concentration of amino acids in garden blueberries. The pulp is juicy, dense in consistency.
Ripening of berries occurs in mid-August - early September. From one adult bush, you can collect from 7 to 10 kg of berries.
Prepare the soil in September, plant in October
Before you start growing blueberries at home, you need to prepare the site well. Many people mistakenly think that this plant should be planted in the shade under the trees. This is a mistake. Only sufficient lighting will allow you to get a good harvest of berries. Partial shading, meadows between trees and near a reservoir are suitable.
Only sufficient lighting will allow you to get a good harvest of berries.
The main requirement is constant moderate moisture in the soil and air.
- The land in the country, as a rule, has a weak acidity. In order for blueberries to grow and bear fruit well, this must be corrected. If we are talking about a bush planting, then a hole is dug under each bush, 150 by 150 cm in size and 60 cm deep.
- Peat chips are added to the excavated soil in a 2: 1 ratio.
- True, the natural acidity will not be enough, so it is necessary to add powdered sulfur. A good top dressing in this case will be oak foliage, and, of course, pine needles.
- When the soil is rather heavy, for example, clay, then it is useful to add sand. The river is best suited for these purposes.
It should be remembered that all these activities should be done in advance. Before landing, all actions will be in vain. All additives must settle in the ground. If planting is planned for October, then September will be the main month for soil preparation.
If planting is planned for October, then September will be the main month for soil preparation.