Blueberries in the garden
We associate blueberries with the north, swamps covered with snow, from under which peek cranberries, lingonberries and invisible blue berries dull from wax coating.
Blueberry is a northern berry, a lover of acidic soils, gradually conquering the southern and middle regions of Russia and the CIS with neutral soils. Why did this berry of the heart of gardeners so quickly conquer that it becomes a boom in our gardening? Two sentences characterizing its basic biological properties, and everything becomes clear - such a berry is needed in every country house, in every garden.
- Blueberries have a strong anti-allergic property, which is important against the background of increasing allergic dependence of the population.
- They effectively enhance immunity against most diseases.
Blueberries are especially necessary for older people as a preventive and therapeutic agent against aging. Berries slow down the aging of cells, prolong the functioning of the brain, preserving memory and coordination of movements. Blueberries are a dietary product. They help strengthen the walls of blood vessels, have a therapeutic effect on the digestive tract. They have the ability to enhance the effect of drugs taken for diabetes, contain oxidants.
Blueberry or Blueberries (Vaccinium uliginosum) - a typical type of deciduous shrub, which in the Russian version of plant taxonomy is also called blueberry swamp, marsh, stunted. Plants belong to the heather family. They have more than 15 national synonyms, including blueberry, drunkard, blue grapes, gonobob, drunkard, dope and others, most of which do not correspond to its properties (for example, about the heady effect on the body).
The distribution area of blueberries covers all northern regions in Russia. Most often, in natural conditions, it is found in marshy places along river banks, forming many kilometers thickets.
Short biological description of blueberries
For beginning gardeners who want to have this wonderful berry, you need to know its features and external signs, which is especially important when buying "on hand" or from unknown sellers.
Blueberry ordinary belongs to shrubs and shrubs, growing in height to 0.5-1.0 meters. Numerous branching, woody shoots with age, creeping carpet form continuous thickets. Pobobrazovanie her from the root neck. Annual growth, foliage, and fruiting decline with age.
The root system of blueberries is fibrous, occupies the upper 15-20 cm layer of soil. The roots do not have suction hairs, therefore, for normal growth and development, plants need symbiosis with specific mycorrhiza, with the help of which nutrients are absorbed from the soil.
Blueberry leaves are small (up to 3 cm) oblong, obovate. The location is next. The color is bluish. By autumn, the leaves turn red, fall off, leaving blue berries on bare branches.
Blueberry flowers are white with a pink tint. Corolla fused in the form of a jug, drooping. They bloom from late May to the first decade of June. The flowers are collected in inflorescences of 5-12 pieces and, when ripe, they resemble a small bunch of grapes, for which the berry is called blue grapes. Usually inflorescences are located on the tops of shoots.
The fruit of the blueberry is a berry of a dark blue color, due to the wax coating, it acquires a bluish tint to ripening. Berries can be round or slightly elongated. Ripening is long, covers July-September and harvesting is carried out in several stages. The preservation of blueberry berries on the branches is 10-12 days, after which their intense shedding begins. Bushes can live in one place, gradually growing, up to 100 years. They are frost-resistant and calmly endure prolonged frosts.
Agrotechnics growing blueberries
Good in cultivating blueberries in that it practically does not need protection from pests and diseases. Her demand (sometimes difficult to fulfill) is in another feature. Blueberries grow only on acidic soils, where pH = 3.5-5.0. There is another interesting feature. Blueberries can not tolerate flooding of the root system, but grows quietly with a height of standing ground water 30-50 cm from the root system. And one more feature. The culture does not tolerate soils on which other crops have grown for a long time, especially with long-term organic fertilizer. It is better to use abandoned sites that have not been used by other crops for a long time. This feature is associated with the development of mycorrhiza on the roots of blueberries.
Choosing a place and planting period for garden blueberries
Depending on the weather conditions in the region, planting of 2–3-year-old blueberry seedlings can be carried out in spring or autumn. In the northern regions, it is better to plant seedlings in the spring in order to protect them from freezing. The aerial part of the culture can completely freeze at -20 ..- 25 * С.
In natural conditions, blueberries conquer sunny places without constant winds. It is also necessary to ensure appropriate conditions on the site. When grown in a poorly lit area, the berries are crushed and sour.
Under natural conditions, blueberries grow on peatbogs sandy and swamp, high (they are more acidified) with a fairly high organic content.
To create the appropriate conditions for blueberries in their own area, especially in regions with neutral acidity soils, it is necessary to artificially acidify the soil in the region of the root system. This is easy to accomplish in regions where there are peatlands and more difficult where there are no appropriate conditions for their formation. How to proceed?
Under the blueberries, a landing pit of sufficiently large sizes 60x60x50-80 cm is prepared. A good high drainage is arranged at the bottom. In areas with peat bogs, a 1: 1 soil mixture with peat is being prepared. You can add coniferous sawdust, sulfur, not more than 60 g per pit, and sand to peat. It is recommended to check the acidity of the soil mixture with litmus or indicator strips.
If the soil is loamy heavy, then add a bucket of completely decomposed humus as a baking powder. For these purposes, you can use mature compost. The mixture is thoroughly mixed and filled in the pit. The inner edges of the pit loosen. To prevent the formation of a dense "bulb" between the soil mixture and the walls of the planting pit, which will become an obstacle to the access of water and air in sufficient quantities to the roots of plants. The soil mixture in the planting pit rests / ripens for 1-2 months and only after that it is possible to plant blueberry seedlings. Mineral fertilizers do not contribute during planting.
If peatlands are absent, they are created artificially. The soil is mixed with organic matter, coniferous sawdust or needles. It is better to use wastes of needles and sand as baking powder. Dilute 60-70 g of oxalic or limonic acid in 10 l of water. They can be replaced with 9% acetic, 100 ml or the same amount of apple. The acidity of the solution should be no more than 3.5-4.0%. The pit must be filled with soil mixture and a bucket filled with acidic solution. Check the acidity of the resulting soil mass indicator or litmus strip. If necessary, you can add an acidic solution. Mineral fertilizers do not make. The soil is left to "mature."
Planting blueberry seedlings
Blueberries tend to grow with the seizure of new territories. Therefore, the bushes are planted at a distance of 0.8-1.4-1.5 m. Given the need for mycorrhiza on the roots for the normal engraftment of the crop in a new place, seedlings should be bought in containers with a closed root system. When buying, it is imperative to try to see if the container with the blueberry seedling is freshly planted. A real container seedling sits tightly in a container. Freshly planted can be without mycorrhiza on the roots, which means it will not take root, especially on artificially created acidic soil.
Before planting, a container with blueberry seedlings is lowered into a container of water for 10-20 minutes. Free from the container. The roots are carefully freed from the soil, straightened.
Blueberry seedlings are planted to a depth of 5-6 cm, no deeper than it grew in the container. Spread the roots of the seedling on the soil cone. Water is poured into the pit with soil from under the seedling. Cover with soil, slightly compacted. The last 7-8 cm of the landing pit is filled with mulch. Mulch with coniferous sawdust or collected needles. You can use another small mulch. In winter, the mulch performs a root-protective function against freezing and therefore its layer should be sufficient. By autumn - at least 5-8 cm.
Young blueberry bushes are extremely negative about clogging with other plants, in particular, weeds. Therefore, during the first years, until the culture grows and takes root well, careful frequent, but small (5-8 cm) weeds are necessary so as not to damage the roots that lie in the upper 20-30 cm soil layer.
Until the roots have fully taken root, the soil under the blueberry should be moist. Therefore, in the first 1-2 months, watering is carried out after 2-3 days in small portions. When new leaves appear (i.e. the root system began to work), watering is reduced to 2 - 3 times a month, but if the weather is hot and dry, then water at least 2 times a week in the morning or evening hours. In the afternoon, blueberries are cooled by spraying with cold water. Adult plants during flowering and ripening of berries need an increased amount of water. During this period, they pass to higher irrigation rates, but without stagnation of water in the root-inhabited layer (therefore, high-quality drainage is required during planting).
Blueberries begin to feed from the second year after planting. Mineral fertilizers are applied 2 times in the spring. Organics can not be used for dressing. The first top dressing is carried out in the phase of kidney swelling and again after 1.5 months. Bring under a two-year bush, 15-20 g of nitrophoska or kemira. The fertilizing rate is increased annually by 1.2-2.0 times. Soil acidity is monitored annually. When it increases to pH = 5.0, sulfur mixed with sand is added to the mineral fertilizer or it is poured under the root with acidified water. To acidify the soil, the brine left over from pickles is sometimes used. Be sure to annually mulch the soil under the bushes of blueberries, preferably with coniferous waste or needles (since they are sour). With the second top dressing, micronutrients or complex mineral fertilizers are added, containing them in their composition (Kemira and others).
Lack of mineral nutrition
Artificial cultivation conditions do not always correspond to the demand of the crop. Blueberries in the formation of the crop need increased amounts of mineral nutrition. Their deficiency immediately manifests itself in the appearance of plants.
Nitrogen deficiency - Young leaves of blueberry acquire a yellowish-green color, and old ones acquire a reddish hue. Plants poorly develop aerial mass.
Phosphorus deficiency - As in other cultures, the lack of phosphorus in blueberries is manifested in reddening of the leaves. Leaf blades are closely pressed to the shoots.
Potassium deficiency - With a lack of potassium, the tops of young shoots of blueberries and the tips of leaf blades blacken and die.
Along with the main nutrients, blueberries react negatively to the lack of other macro- and micronutrients, especially calcium, boron, iron, magnesium, sulfur.
Calcium deficiency - With its lack, the edges of blueberry leaves turn yellow, and leaf blades lose their clarity and shape.
Boron deficiency - Bor is essential for blueberry plants. With its lack, the young apical leaves of the culture acquire a bluish tint, while in the old intervein spaces on the leaf blade turn yellow. Blueberry stalks are gradually dying. Annual growth is practically absent. Boron plants can be treated separately. Top dressing is used by foliar application through spraying of plants.
Iron deficiency - Deficiency begins to appear from the apical leaves of blueberries. The leaf turns completely yellow, leaving a net with green venation.
Magnesium deficiency - The blueberry leaf acquires an unusual coloring. The edges of the leaves are red, but a strip of green remains near the veins.
Sulfur deficiency - With a lack of sulfur, blueberry leaves turn white. Color transition - from green to yellowish-whitish and white.
If there is any change in the color scheme of the coloring of blueberry leaves, it is necessary to carry out foliar dressing with a solution of trace elements through spraying.
Blueberry pruning and rejuvenation
At a young age (approximately 4-6 years, sometimes with a slow growth of 7-8), only sanitary scraps are carried out once a year until the phase of kidney swelling. Cut sick, crooked, underdeveloped, frozen and creeping on the ground stalks and shoots of blueberries.
Starting from 6-8-12 years of age, anti-aging pruning of blueberries is performed. It is best carried out for 2 to 3 years, gradually cutting off old branches. If you cut off all the old branches at once (this is also an acceptable way of rejuvenation), then until the young ones begin to bear fruit, the bush will form a low annual crop.
Blueberry protection against freezing
The aerial part of the blueberry is still sensitive to cold temperatures. Within the range of -18 ..- 20 ° C, the young tops, and with prolonged snowless low temperatures - and the whole above-ground mass, can freeze. To prevent this from happening, for the winter the plants are bent as much as possible so as not to break the branches, and covered with burlap or lutrasil. The film cannot be used. Spruce branches or loose snow are thrown at the shelter. In the spring, after removing the shelters, before the kidneys swell, they carry out sanitary pruning, removing the frozen tops of the stems.
Protection of blueberries from diseases and pests
Blueberries are practically not damaged by pests and diseases. However, with the appearance of external signs of powdery mildew, fungal rot or other diseases, damage to aphids, protection measures are the same as on other berry plants, using only biological products for treatments.
Blueberry flowers calmly endure short-term frosts up to -7 * C and therefore do not need special protective shelters.
Early varieties of blueberries form a crop in technical ripeness by the first decade of July, middle and late - with a lag of 1-2 weeks. An external manifestation of ripeness of berries is a blue-violet color with a waxy coating. Ripe berries are easily separated from the brush. Ripening is gradual. The berries are showered after a 2-week waiting period. Cleaning ends by the end of August. Adult bushes form up to 5 kg of berries.
Berries are stored fresh for 4-5 weeks. Used in fresh and processed form. Compotes, juices, jams, jams, etc. are prepared.
What kind of blueberry to choose for a summer residence
At the cottage, you can recommend cultivating varieties of garden blueberries, bred by breeders specifically for the conditions of Russia. They are usually frost-resistant, easy to care for and do not require annual shelters. They have large sweet and sour berries. Culture belongs to the group of cross-pollinated, so you need to plant at least 2 to 3 varieties. In cold regions, they take root well and bear fruit Taiga beauty, Blue placer, Nectar, Yurkovskaya, Wondrous other.
For the middle strip, you can use blueberry varieties of early ripening foreign breeding:
- Weymouth - ripening period is the end of July, it is frost-resistant, practically does not freeze.
- Rankocas - the ripening period coincides with the Weymouth variety. Compared to Weymouth (0.9 m), it is taller - up to 1.5 m in height.
Of the medium-ripening varieties, blueberry variety is worthy of attention. Blue Ray. High bushes, ripening of the main crop from mid-August to mid-September (replacing the early varieties). Bushes up to 180 cm tall. The variety is distinguished by the color of the berries - with a light blue tint. It should be noted that foreign varieties differ from Russian ones in low frost resistance and in winter necessarily require shelters.
Among gardeners, keen on blueberries, the variety is widespread Coville. Obtained as a result of hybridization of American varieties. All over the world, more than 100 varieties of this direction are used in plantings with different ripening and productivity periods, which reach up to 8 kg from a bush. It can grow in partial shade, but still prefers bright sunny places. Beautiful in the hedge. Winter hardiness is high, but suffers from freezing in lightly snowy winters, and in long frosts without snow it needs shelter.
Dear Reader! Blueberries are firmly on our berry list. Please share your experience of growing and caring for this wonderful berry.