After the blueberry harvest is over in the home berry patch, we often neglect late season care for our plants. Consistent care over the entire growing season will improve the chances of a good crop this season as well as next year. Proper fertility, freedom from weed competition, and consistent moisture during the growing season will maintain good growth and vigor of blueberry plants.
Excessive weed or grass growth competes with plants and add to summer heat stress if allowed to grow near plants. Many weed control options are available. First, remove weeds around the plants and then add a new layer of mulch to suppress any late season weeds. Avoid using a weed eater near blueberry plants because they can do great harm to their thin barked stems.
After weeds are cleaned up, add a new 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around each plant. Mulch should be placed in an open ring around each plant with none piled against the lower stems. Place the mulch near but not onto plant stems.
As with any other woody plants, DO NOT PILE MULCH ON THE STEMS! When mulching any woody plant, keep mulch off the lower plant stem to avoid disease and deterioration of the bark.
If you have a water source close by, an excellent way to supplement water in times of dry weather is to construct a drip system. This will improve overall plant growth and production when used to supplement inconsistent rainfall. A simple rain gauge at the edge of the berry patch is a good monitoring tool to base your irrigation timing and amount applied. A rainfall of 1 to 2 inches per week should be sufficient for blueberries.
If your blueberry leaves are looking a little yellow, take a soil sample to establish what your soil conditions are. Summer heat and weed competition can put heavy stress on plants resulting in poor crop production. Spend a little time now to keep them healthy and happy.
For more information on Blueberries, please see HGIC 1401, Blueberry.