Blue Ray is the leading northern highbush cultivar planted for U-pick markets in the Midwest. This is primarily due to its dependability, but also because of the flavor of the large, light-blue, sweet berries. A mature bush will yield between 10-12# of berries, and these will ripen from early to mid July. Blue Ray grows to be about 4-6 feet tall, and has a beautiful burgundy fall color.
USDA hardiness zones 4-8
Blue Gold is a late mid-season, sweet blueberry. Blue Gold has a short stature, with a tendency for growing into a nice, wide bush. Mature height is 4’, with a classic bushy habit. Local yields are between 10-12# of berries on mature plants. Blue Gold has medium sized berries that are very sweet right after turning blue, and ripen from early thru mid July.
USDA hardiness Zones 4a-7
At planting, dig a hole 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide and mix 1
cubic foot of peat moss with top soil until the hole is filled 4 inches
from the top. Set the plant and cover the roots with the remaining soil
mix. In heavy soils, an equal amount of peat can be mixed with an equal
amount of soil. Set plants 5 feet apart with rows 10 feet apart. Apply 4
inches of pine straw mulch in a 2 feet wide band after planting, and
maintain a 4 inch depth and 4 feet band over the life of the planting.
Blueberry bushes have very shallow root systems and are very
sensitive to water fluctuations. They need at least 1 to 2 inches of
water per week. In dry seasons, supplemental watering is essential to
obtain good yields of high quality products. However, do not apply water
after early September unless soil is very dry.
Blueberry plants normally do not need to be pruned for the first
three years. Remove blossoms that appear in the year of planting and
second year after planting to stimulate vigorous growth.
During the fourth year, the dormant plants should be pruned in
mid-March. At this time, remove dead and weak branches and thin,
terminal wood with small buds. Prune interior crossing branches to admit
light to the center of the plant.
In subsequent years, thin out older branches to force new growth.
Tall-growing branches can be headed back and thin branches removed.
Flower buds of blueberry bush are produced on tips and down the second
year old shoots. Blueberry bushes tend to produce smaller berries when
they are over loaded with fruits. Hence, it is important not to have too
many flower buds.
Generous use of mulches like pine straw, sawdust, or peat moss will
help control weeds, conserve moisture, and keep roots cool. Increased
organic matter from decomposing mulch will help improve soil structure
and nutrient uptake of blueberry bush. Replenish mulch as needed to keep
the mulch depth at 2 to 4 inches.
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