Sunshine Blue is a great, compact grower, and high yielder. Mature plant size is 3-4 feet tall and wide with an upright habit. Sunshine Blue is also quite cold-hardy, successfully growing into USDA zone 6. This variety yields 5-9 pounds of sweet, medium-sized berries on a mature plant. Berries can be picked over a 3-5 week period. Sunshine Blue is also self-pollinating, though slightly higher yields (and larger berries) can be realized with cross-pollination from another cultivar. Hardy in USDA zones 6b to 10.
Chippewa (LATE SEASON BLOOMER) From the breeding program of the University of Minnesota, Chippewa is a northern gem. Growing to 3-4 feet tall, it is a compact, attractive, cold-hardy blueberry plant. Ripening near the end of July to August, Chippewa stands out from the other cultivars with its elliptical, dark green leaves, which are thicker than leaves found on other cultivars. Fully self-pollinating, Chippewa produces respectable yields of 3-6 pounds of very sweet berries. Berry size is variable from medium to large sized. Very cold hardy, it has produced well after winters of minus 40 below in Minnesota. We have found that Chippewa prefers a planting mix that is comprised fully of sphagnum peat moss and shredded pine bark mulch or mini-nuggets. Unless you live in an area with lots of native blueberry, follow planting suggestions for "soil-less" method for best results. Hardy in USDA zones 3-7.
Sharpblue will grow vigorously to a mature height of 5-6 feet tall, with good structure and spreading habit. A very full and robust shrub, Sharpblue looks great in the landscape as well. In its most southern range, it remains evergreen, and blooms and fruits periodically through the year. Does best in locations that don't receive spring frosts that are hard and late. Best yields in berries with cross-pollination.
Hardy in USDA zones 7b-10 (limited quantity)
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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