Growing Highbush Blueberries in Maine - Check List: Follow these steps for the best chance of success with your blueberry plants!
Follow these steps for the best chance of success!
- Select sunny, well-drained site. For more information, see our site selection video.
- Have soil tested by the Maine Soil Testing Service. The soil analysis fee is $15.00.
- Prepare site by removing all plant growth (grass, turf, weeds, etc.). Do not use herbicides (or fertilizers with herbicides) to control weeds in or near the planting areas as blueberries are very sensitive to these weed killers. The site for three blueberry plants should be at least 4 feet wide and 15 feet long (80 square feet) for straight row planting. For a triangular planting, prepare a 10 foot by 10 foot area (100 square feet). Spacing diagram (PDF).
- Follow soil test recommendations to amend the soil for your new planting. Amend the soil pH by adding elemental sulfur (pelleted or loose); and acidifying fertilizer (such as Hollytone; Muracid, etc.); and pre-moistened peat moss. Mix sulfur, fertilizer and peat moss thoroughly into soil. When applying fertilizer, do not place fertilizer directly against the roots of the young plants.
- Integrate fertilizer, sulfur and peat moss throughout tilled area (use rake, hoe, cultivator, flat tined pitchfork or other garden tools).
- Prepare a hole for planting each blueberry plant (approximately 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep).
- Gently spread root system outward without damaging the roots at planting. Cover the spread out roots with soil/organic matter mix at about 2 inches deep. For more information, see our planting video or planting directions (PDF).
- Plant deep enough to cover all roots; create a 12 inch ring of soil around each plant to temporarily hold water.
- Water each plant with 1-2 gallons of water at planting.
- Place a 4 inch to 6 inch deep layer of organic mulch around each plant and over all tilled area. Use pine wood shavings, pine needles or bark mulch. Do not use sawdust or dyed (colored) bark mulch. Do not use black plastic or landscape fabric. Do not mound the mulch against the stems.
- Check your plants every few days for new growth. Water each plant every 5 to 7 days with 1 to 2 gallons of water unless it has rained. Check soil near plants with your hand for adequate moisture.
- Mow any green growth (weeds, grasses, etc.) around the perimeter of your mulched planting area at least 2 times each month throughout the growing season.
- Blossoms will appear on your plants about 6 weeks after planting. Remove these delicate blossoms by rubbing them off. By removing the blossoms, the plant can build a strong root system and stem structure. Be patient, you will allow your plant to set fruit in year three (3). Rub off flower clusters with your hands.
- Side-dress each plant (around the sides of the plant) with fertilizer (organic or synthetic) in mid-summer. Evenly spread the fertilizer around each plant without getting fertilizer on the leaves. Use a 10-10-10 analysis (2 tablespoons of granular fertilizer per plant). Organic growers will probably need more fertilizer per plant (3-4 tablespoons). Scratch the fertilizer shallowly into the mulch.
- Record planting date and varieties planted. (Use our Go Blueberry! Record Sheet [Word].) Consider removing the plastic variety tag from the stem of the plant and attach it to a stake close to the plant. Use the template provided or design your own.
- Consider taking pictures of your work.
- Enjoy this opportunity in growing some of your own food.
- Tell others about your blueberry project.
Best wishes for a successful blueberry growing experience!