Southern High Bush Blueberries grow in Southern states but have characteristics of Northern blueberries.
O'Neal is only slightly behind Paloma in ripening time, and is also a self-pollinating cultivar. Developed in North Carolina, O'Neal is an exceptional plant for the Southeast and Gulf States. O'Neal has large berries that are sweet and firm, and pick cleanly from the bush. Yields of 6-10 pounds of high quality fruit can be produced on mature plants. O'Neal grows 4-6' tall with stout stems and attractive foliage, and has an upright, spreading habit. O'Neal can be sensitive to late frosts in the more northerly part of its range, so be sure to plant it on higher elevations of your property, and avoid hollows and low-areas. Hardy in USDA zones 7b-9
Misty remains one of the most widely planted and appreciated southern highbush cultivars. Misty has an upright, spreading habit, reaching 4-6 feet tall at maturity. The overall look of this vigorous cultivar is very attractive, having nice foliage cover and uniform branching. The berries match this with their sweetness. Mature plants will yield 8-12 pounds of medium to large berries, with a sky-blue color. Spring flowers are often tinged a light pink, which adds another mark in the landscaping value of this cultivar. Better yields are realized with cross-pollination. Hardy in USDA zones 6b-10
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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