Planning your blueberry buffer

Buffers for Blue Lakes

Buffers for Blue Lakes

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Low bush blueberries are native to Vermont. They thrive on lakeshores where you have several hours of sunshine each day. They can survive the weight of snow, and are better able to handle wind than high bush blueberries.

Half-high and high-bush blueberries are cultivated versions that are adapted to the growing conditions in your area. They generally have larger berries and less of a “wild” taste. (A half-high blueberry is a cross between a low-bush and high-bush plant that has been developed in a plant-breeding program.)

Blueberries need soil that is acid, that is not too wet, and that has a good amount of organic matter, like compost. (Not too sandy or rocky; not too much heavy clay-like soil.)

It is easy to add what the soil needs.

  • Elmore Roots nursery has a complete soil amendment for blueberries.
  • Or you can make your own mix of (1) elemental sulphur, iron sulfate, sphagnum peat moss, or pine needles to increase acidity, and (2) compost made from manure, vegetation, or food scraps.
  • If you are planting close to evergreen trees or shrubs—or rhododendrons and azaleas—the soil may already be acid.
  • Almost all fruits do best in slightly acidic soil, somewhere between a pH of 5.5 and 6.5. Blueberries prefer a soil of even greater acidity of between 4.0 and 5.0.

Blueberries need friends for pollination

  • Most fruit trees, including blueberries, have both male and female organs on the same flower, but not all are self-pollinating. The best bet for blueberries is to have didifferent varieties of blueberries within 100 feet, so bees can travel and cross-pollinate.
  • Northcountry is one cultivar that is self-compatible and can be planted without another pollenizer cultivar. Pollination by wild or domestic bees is essential.