Grown at the foot of majestic Mt. Hood in Oregon, our Mountain Blueberries require the right PH balance, consistent pruning and watering. Our season starts around the first week in August and goes through the middle of September. We grow 75 acres of blueberries with 4 different varieties:
- Top Shelf
- Last Call
Learn tips for growing healthy fruit and things to keep in mind when maintaining your own blueberry bushes in today’s blog post.
Top 3 Tips for Growing Blueberries
There are a few tips that are vital when growing blueberries. First and most important, is the PH balance. Blueberries are sensitive to changes in PH level and like more acidic soils. They should be kept between 4.5 and 5.5. If your soil is more neutral, then the leaves will turn yellow and the plant will grow poorly.
The second tip is maintaining good pruning practices. Generally, you want to renew the main limbs once every 5 to 7 years. You also want to open up the center of the plant, to ensure light penetrates into the new limbs coming up from the base. You want most of your fruit growing on the outside, upper half of the plant, which results in easy and efficient harvesting.
Our last tip is careful watering. Your soil profile should be moist, but not soaking wet. The soil should be moist down to 6 inches below the root zone. During the heat of summer while the blueberries are turning blue, you’ll want to over water to ensure that the plant does not get stressed from the hot weather. The excitement of your first harvest comes next.
First Harvest of Mountain Blueberries
After we plant new blueberries, we thin the berries off for the first 2 years of production. This allows all the nutrients to go into building a sizable canopy in the bush. Our first harvest on any new fields does not happen until the 3rd leaf ( or 3rd year of production). Our Orchards will harvest around 460,000 lbs of fruit this year. To put this into perspective, this means that we will harvest roughly 92 million individual blueberries for the 2018 harvest season. This is no small task and will take approximately 180 employees to work for 6-7 solid weeks to accomplish this task. There are a few red flags that we always keep in mind when growing blueberries, read on to learn more.
Things to Keep in Mind
The most important thing to ensure success in growing blueberries is maintaining the right PH level as described above. In most cases, blueberries will look healthy as long as the PH balance to the soil is correct. Weed growth can also affect the health of your plant. Thus, keep the base of the plant free of weeds. One good measurement of weed control is to keep the weeds away from the plant to about 1 foot past the furthest branch. This will ensure that the plant is not competing for water and nutrients with the surrounding weeds. Wishing you the best of luck this blueberry season!
Scott Webster is President & CEO of both Webster Orchards, Inc and TheFruitCompany.com. Webster Orchards has been growing premium fresh fruit in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area since 1942, starting with Scott’s grandfather Roy Webster. The Fruit Company, an online gift retailer has been packing and shipping beautiful fruit gifts nationwide since 1999. Both headquarters are located in the Hood River Valley, nestled between Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.