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ReptileAddiction
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Blueberry Bush Production

Hey guys, I was wondering what type of production you guys get out of your blueberry bushes. I don't really get much at all from my bush and the berries are fairly small. I only have one bush for now because in my old house I didn't have hardly any room. When I go to pick up my fruit trees in a couple weeks I am going to buy a few more. I thought that maybe my ph was to high but the bush is very actively growing in it's new spot and has sent up 2 new canes in the last couple of months. When I go to the nursery I will buy a ph test kit. Do you guys think their is anything I could do to boost production and berry size?

On a side note what do you guys think of adding some blackberries/rasberries in my landscape? Is it really necessary to give them support and would I need 2 varieties?

Thanks.

cynthia_h
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Re: Blueberry Bush Production

ReptileAddiction wrote:
On a side note what do you guys think of adding some blackberries/rasberries in my landscape? Is it really necessary to give them support and would I need 2 varieties?

Thanks.
Can't give you any help re. blueberries. We had *one* blueberry bush in Berkeley (left there in 1997), but that was before I knew about the acidic soil they require. So we would get just a few berries each year. They *may* also need a second bush as friends, but I don't really know.

However, I can tell you more than enough about blackberries. We kept them in bounds in Berkeley and we're working to keep them in bounds here, too. :shock: I can only imagine what they'll do in SoCal. Do not, repeat not, plant these unless you can contain their roots. Blackberries spread by

--root runners
--tip runners
--seed dispersal via birds and other creatures

They are true survivors, i.e., extremely invasive. Shall I quote Sunset for you (she asked rhetorically)? (Sorry, this is from my 2001 edition; the more recent 2011 edition is upstairs ATM.)

[after some text about how to pamper these poor dears :shock: and fertilize (!) them, Sunset finally gets down to the truth on p. 225, top of the column] "Keep down weeds and pull out suckers; above all, don't let plants get away from you." [emphasis supplied]

DH and I are waiting for a dry day very soon--really, within the next 10 days or so--to cut our just-fruited-this-year canes to the ground and disentangle next year's fruiting canes from their neighbors. We missed doing this one year (I'm pretty sure I had bronchitis, and this is a two-person job with our small patch of non-trellised blackberries), and really paid for it the next December/January. :(

Use flashing or other metal/non-decaying material to prevent the roots from spreading. Be vigilant about the prostrate canes rooting into the ground at the tip. There's nothing that can be done about birds eating the berries....

Someone else will need to speak to the raspberry question; I have no experience with raspberries.

IMHO, the key to understanding both roses and blackberries is to discover that they both belong to the Rosaceae family. :idea: Once I "got" the concept that roses are related to blackberries, I became a much more vigilant pruner of my roses and an incredibly ruthless pruner of the blackberries. The roses get black spot and powdery mildew much less often now, and the blackberries haven't expanded beyond their allowed bounds. Yet.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

The Natural
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Could try adding some kind of fert. or maybe scratch the surface around the top layer and add a compost,worm casting,bone meal and a little blood meal rationed out. Im really interested in trying worm tea out.

Ive also been looking into some Supersoil recipes, there are alot of good idea's floating around.

Im not 100% sure you may want too wait for another person too clear this up, but i believe your suppose too cut the fert. off a few weeks before harvest and flush with good water. But im not 100% sure.

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Blueberry Bush Production

cynthia_h wrote:
ReptileAddiction wrote:
On a side note what do you guys think of adding some blackberries/rasberries in my landscape? Is it really necessary to give them support and would I need 2 varieties?

Thanks.
Can't give you any help re. blueberries. We had *one* blueberry bush in Berkeley (left there in 1997), but that was before I knew about the acidic soil they require. So we would get just a few berries each year. They *may* also need a second bush as friends, but I don't really know.

However, I can tell you more than enough about blackberries. We kept them in bounds in Berkeley and we're working to keep them in bounds here, too. :shock: I can only imagine what they'll do in SoCal. Do not, repeat not, plant these unless you can contain their roots. Blackberries spread by

--root runners
--tip runners
--seed dispersal via birds and other creatures

They are true survivors, i.e., extremely invasive. Shall I quote Sunset for you (she asked rhetorically)? (Sorry, this is from my 2001 edition; the more recent 2011 edition is upstairs ATM.)

[after some text about how to pamper these poor dears :shock: and fertilize (!) them, Sunset finally gets down to the truth on p. 225, top of the column] "Keep down weeds and pull out suckers; above all, don't let plants get away from you." [emphasis supplied]

DH and I are waiting for a dry day very soon--really, within the next 10 days or so--to cut our just-fruited-this-year canes to the ground and disentangle next year's fruiting canes from their neighbors. We missed doing this one year (I'm pretty sure I had bronchitis, and this is a two-person job with our small patch of non-trellised blackberries), and really paid for it the next December/January. :(

Use flashing or other metal/non-decaying material to prevent the roots from spreading. Be vigilant about the prostrate canes rooting into the ground at the tip. There's nothing that can be done about birds eating the berries....

Someone else will need to speak to the raspberry question; I have no experience with raspberries.

IMHO, the key to understanding both roses and blackberries is to discover that they both belong to the Rosaceae family. :idea: Once I "got" the concept that roses are related to blackberries, I became a much more vigilant pruner of my roses and an incredibly ruthless pruner of the blackberries. The roses get black spot and powdery mildew much less often now, and the blackberries haven't expanded beyond their allowed bounds. Yet.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9
Point taken! Do you think the plants are attractive enough to be in the front yard? My blueberry area is a basically a litte corner. It is a little square with house walls on 2 sides. In the corner where their is no wall their is a big palm tree then in the other 2 corners their are the short sago palms. It is a very sheltered little area that is perfect for blueberries. In front of the big palm their is 2 huge pots where I put flowers and stuff. COuld I plant a blackberry in each of these? It is right next to the path that is on the way to my front door so they would have to be attractive.

The Natural
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The birds wouldnt be that hard of a problem, aviary netting is cheap on ebay. Glad you brought up the point of blocking root runners.

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applestar
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I'm sold on blueberries as attractive edible landscaping shrubs, especially where frosty temps result in gorgeous fall leaf color. There are huge selection as to shrub size and fruit size (for me at least, among the northern and some mid zone varieties). So I'm not sure how it is for you since in So Cal you surely must choose from southern varieties. I'm also not sure about selection since I *think* the short bush varieties are the more winter hardy northern varieties?

I think I have 5 varieties to date but only one Tophat ("toe-fat" or "top hat"?) plant -- is in a container -- all others including two other Tophats are planted in the ground.

My understanding is that blueberries produce better when cross pollinated with another cultivar in the same blooming period -- i.e. early, mid, late season.

The one cultivar blackberry I have "officially" is Triple Crown thornless. I have another "wild" blackberry that has been declared "weed" because it is so full of wicked thorns that entangles in my clothing, even denim jeans, thoughtlessly positioned bare skin, when carelessly approached on windy day, etc. -- I've had enough, I don't care how good it tastes. Triple Crown is a joy to take care of. I can push right into the canes to reach for the hidden berry or to wind the 8+ft canes on the picket fence.

HOWEVER, I would be lying if I said it is an attractive landscape plant. I can't imagine growing these in a container unless it's more like a cement shopping mall landscape planter. ...well, OK, right now, the canes ARE looking particularly attractive against the white fence in their violet winter coloring and tidy appearance since I did manage to sort the canes out in the fall.

They will be reevaluated for pruning to train the canes in the limited space later on. One 8-ft fence panel is all the original three plants were given, although the new generations have decided to grow along the garage wall to which this section of the fence is attached to, and escaped to the front yard along a 4ft section of the wall, as well as march along the garage wall in the opposite direction. I've given in and am working on putting up a wire trellis to support them, since they can provide shade for the SW facing garage wall and help reduce the bird pressure on the total amount of berries harvested.

BTW, netting was the final straw and reason I got rid of/am getting rid of the thorny variety blackberries -- at one point a large patch -- netting entangled in the thorns until it was absolutely impossible. I ended up cutting whole sections of the bramble with the netting still entangled and threw them all away. :roll: Am now trying to eradicate the remaining satellite growths started by birds in various parts of the garden as Cynthia mentioned.

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applestar
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How huge are the huge pots? What about something like super dwarf banana? (3-4ft tall) or pineapple? Maybe kumquat?

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ElizabethB
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A couple of things - the majority of blueberry varieties require cross pollination - at least 2 plants. There are dwarf varieties that take up less space. pH is another issue. Blueberries require a pH of 5 - 5 1/2 to produce. Instead of test kit get a meter. I did a Master Gardener project comparing lab test results to meters, strip kits and tablet kits. When the directions are followed the meter gives a spot on reading - the strip and tablet kits were way off the mark. Elemental sulfur applied at the rate of 1 lb per 100 square ft will reduce the pH by 1 point. Since you only have one plant you will have to do some math - yuck. Granulated sulfur will provide a more long term result but takes longer to adjust the pH. Water soluble sulfur works faster but requires more monitoring since it can quickly reduce the pH and you may end up with soil too acid even for blueberries.

Second plant and pH test!

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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ReptileAddiction
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@applestar that doesnt sound like fun. I am starting to not want blackberries! I agree though I am using blueberries as edible landscaping also. In my area they don't get to much fall color and they don't drop their leaves so they have that bronze color all through winter. And my plant is producing at the moment :D

@elizabeth My bush has been doing very well for not having a pollinator. I am buying another bush soon though so that should be taken care of. Do you really think that the meters are better? I have a meter that is a piece of crap. It is stuck on 7. Would you mind giving me a link to a good one?

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ElizabethB
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Wow - I bought mine years ago at Lowe's. I don't even know what brand it is. When I bought it it was a little expensive $20 - $25. I don't remember. That year was the only time I saw that meter. They probably quit carrying it because it was expensive and they did not sell many.\ The ones I see in the big box stores now are "cheap" both in price and quality. You do want a meter specifically for soil. You can also have lab test done through your County Agent's office $10 - $15. If your pH is off your bush will still grow but will not produce quality or quantity fruit.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

cynthia_h
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ElizabethB wrote: You can also have lab test done through your County Agent's office $10 - $15.
Not necessarily, esp. not in California. See my detailed post of November 25, 2012 re. the Extension "Service" situation in California.

Cynthia

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ReptileAddiction
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Ya I have had no luck with them. I tried for about a month to get a hold of them, finally got a hold of them to ask how many chill hours my area has-she didnt know what chill hours were.

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ElizabethB
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Sorry about the County Agent recommendation - I keep forgetting that not all regions have a responsive service.

I found this - it includes variety recommendations for southern CAL. including a self fruiting variety.

https://www.ocregister.com/articles/blue ... shine.html

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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ReptileAddiction
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I already know what varieties I want. I am going to get a sunshine blue.

Tonio
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Good timing ! :D

Just thinking about brambles & blueberries. Is it good time to purchase bare root now reptile? Guess I'll go check out walter Anderson's nursery.

I hear blueberries are better in pots - especially to the acid soil requirements. How big of a pot should I get?

Have some Espoma Acidifier I've been using on strawberries and other low ph lowing plants, and seems to work well along with peat (ugh). Isn't cottonseed meal a acidifier also? I try not to use too much since most cotton uses pesticides and/or GMO. Have Dr Earths "safe for pets, humans" cottonseed meal. Should i be concerned?
San Diego / Z10
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The Natural
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would have helped too make a enclosure around the bush and not let it grow into the netting too start with lol :D

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applestar
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Wind/storm.

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ReptileAddiction
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Tonio wrote:Good timing ! :D

Just thinking about brambles & blueberries. Is it good time to purchase bare root now reptile? Guess I'll go check out walter Anderson's nursery.

I hear blueberries are better in pots - especially to the acid soil requirements. How big of a pot should I get?

Have some Espoma Acidifier I've been using on strawberries and other low ph lowing plants, and seems to work well along with peat (ugh). Isn't cottonseed meal a acidifier also? I try not to use too much since most cotton uses pesticides and/or GMO. Have Dr Earths "safe for pets, humans" cottonseed meal. Should i be concerned?
Yes! It is a great time to purchase fruit trees here. You can put them in pots or the ground. I do both. The larger the pot the bigger your bush will be. You can even grow them in 5 gallon buckets if you drill a hole in the bottom.

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PunkRotten
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I hear they grow better in pots since they are easier to fit their needs as far as keeping their soil acidic and having the drainage they want. Pots size depends on the variety. I was looking at this southern variety that is said to be a dwarf and has a low bushing habit of up to 3 feet. For something like that you should put it in a 5 gallon minimum in my opinion. And probably 10-15 gallon for the full size bushes. I also hear to have 2 different varieties for best production.

Tonio
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Cool, I'll check out Walter Andersons. I couldn't go today ,traveled to Palomar Mt/ Observatory- that was closed due to ice :evil: Now I know how James(Jalut) feels like, it was 25F up there.

Reptile, I went by your neighboorhood- Escondido - right?
I should have asked you about the nursery up there.

Anyway, I think I'll go with 10-15 gal pots. Most likely Sunshine blue, or other southern highbush.
San Diego / Z10
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ReptileAddiction
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Ya I live in San Marcos but it is literally right next to esco. The nursery in San Marcos is called Green Thumb and I LOVE it. It is wonderful. Then their is an armstrongs in carlsbad (at the flower fields) which I also love and their is a Grangetto's in Esco but that is more fertilizers and stuff but they also do sell plants. I am actually going to a fruit class their in a couple weeks.

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ReptileAddiction
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PunkRotten wrote:I hear they grow better in pots since they are easier to fit their needs as far as keeping their soil acidic and having the drainage they want. Pots size depends on the variety. I was looking at this southern variety that is said to be a dwarf and has a low bushing habit of up to 3 feet. For something like that you should put it in a 5 gallon minimum in my opinion. And probably 10-15 gallon for the full size bushes. I also hear to have 2 different varieties for best production.
I grew them in pots here for a long time and just recently put some in the ground and they are doing so much better. Don't get me wrong they did great in the pots but now they are doing phenomenal. You can really do 5 gallon for any variety. These things don't have very large root system. I do think that going bigger would be better but they will do well in 5 gallons. What variety?

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PunkRotten
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I believe it was called Sunshine Blue. I also hear another good variety, though not a dwarf, is Misty.

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ReptileAddiction
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Their arent any real "dwarf" varieties. Just go with what you want. The size is pretty much the same and one or the other doesnt take more space. I have misty now and it is doing wonderful. I have had it for a good while. Now that it is in the ground it is so much happier. It was doing wonderfully in the pot but now it is just so much better in the ground. Sunshine Blue is the new variety I am going to put in I think but I have not yet decided.

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PunkRotten
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Southmoon I hear is a good variety for Socal. It is recommended by a few nurseries. What kind of potting mix did you use for your Blueberry, ReptileAddiction?

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ReptileAddiction
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I used normal potting mix and mixed in acidifier. I just added a southmoon yesterday.

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