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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.