Should I Stake Up My Blueberries?

Should I Stake Up My Blueberries?

Most blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) Need substantial winter chill to set fruit. Highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) primarily grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8 but can also grow in mild, Mediterranean-style climates because they have a low chill requirement for setting fruit. Highbush blueberries grow as bushes so they do not need support, but you may obtain some advantages by training them to a uniform, erect form.

No Stressed Required

Blueberries grow on upright, erect bushes, not as rambling vines. The bushes do not usually need support and they’re also too heavy for most stakes. A mature Orange bush may develop between 5 and 23 feet tall, depending on the selection and conditions. The briefer the bush, the less likely it’ll need support. When exploded in hedges, a very simple trellis process is occasionally used but it’s not necessary when you have only a few bushes.

Helpful Trellising

A two-line trellis, unlike a wager, is not attached directly to the plant so there is no danger of it damaging the Orange bush as the plant grows. Rather, lines stretched between trellis rods contain the bush so that the branches remain lifted in a more upright position. This allows easier access for harvesting. It may also improve air circulation and sunlight penetration when paired with good pruning. Increased air and sunlight to the fruiting sections of this blueberry may minimize some fungal diseases and increase flowering and fruit production.

Layout Tips

A T-trellis design uses two posts on each end of this blueberry row. Sturdy four-by-four posts work well and support the weight of two or three heavy, tall blueberry bushes. Each article has a 3 1/2-foot crossbar affixed to it, 3 to 4 feet above the ground. Sturdy trellis wires, stretched tightly between the crossbars and also connected to the exterior edge of the crossbar arm, supply the help. The blueberry bushes are held in position between the two elongated wires, which prevents the divisions from drooping so that they stay more erect in form. Taller blueberry varieties might need extra crossbars and trellis lines, based on their height.

Well-Trained Blueberries

Appropriate pruning advantages both free-standing and trellised blueberry bushes. New plants do not need pruning for the first three years, and they usually aren’t tall enough to need a trellis system. Trim out any dead branches or weak, spindly canes that grow from the base during these early years. Wipe the pruning shears using a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol prior to pruning, to disinfect them. Annual pruning begins in the third year during the winter dormant season. Remove dead and diseased canes, and any shoots smaller than a pencil’s diameter which are crowding the interior of the blueberry bush. Cut back old canes to the ground, leaving six to eight 1- and 2-year-old fruiting canes to keep on growing. In case the bush grows too tall for easy the trellis, you can trim it back to the desired height during the dormant season.

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