Blueberries - varieties, planting and care
Blueberries in gardening are often calledCommon blueberriesfound in all regions of the Northern Hemisphere with a temperate and cold climate, and Tall blueberriesoriginating from North America. The latter species is universally grown as a fruit and ornamental crop. Both of these species belong to the genus Vaccinium (Vaccinium) Heather (Ericaceae) In addition to directly blueberries, this genus includes many popular berry plants - lingonberries, cranberries, blueberries.
Other common and local names for blueberries (or its berries): waterdrop, stuffed cabbage, cabbage roll, gonobob, gonobobel, gonoboy, gonobol, fool, dope, foolish, dope, drunk berry, drunkard, drunkard, drunkard, blue grapes, blueberry.
Sometimes blueberries are called a drunkard or a gonobel for being supposedly intoxicating and causing pain in the head. But in fact, the culprit of these phenomena is rosemary, often growing in the neighborhood of blueberries.
On the territory of Russia in nature there is one species - common blueberry, but it is not widely used in culture. In the literature, as the Russian version of the name Blueberry ordinary (Vaccinium uliginosum) also found: marsh blueberries, marsh blueberries, stunted blueberries.
In the USA and Canada, several species of blueberries grow in their natural habitats, but breeders drew attention to the tall blueberries (corymbose, blueberry or tall blueberry, or gluteus berry) (Vaccinium corymbosum), and currently in the USA there are 45 of its varieties. Recently, these varieties of garden blueberries are in the center of attention of Russian amateur gardeners.
Varieties of tall blueberries
In contrast to wild blueberries, garden (cultivated) fruits contain much more vitamin P and carotene. A beautiful view and a pleasant sour - sweet taste of relatively large berries, a good harvest (from plants of 6-8 years of age - up to 2-2.5 kg) characterize this berry culture.
Ninety years ago, the Brooks variety was selected from the wild corymbose (tall) blueberry in North America. The following year, another variety of garden blueberries was obtained from another type of blueberry low - Russell, dwarf, frost-resistant, early ripe. Crossing of both varieties gave good results, then the third species was connected - the southern blueberry. As a result of crossings, valuable varieties were obtained: Pioneer, Caboti, Katarina, Rubel.
In the Moscow region, the most promising varieties of North American garden blueberries are: Dixie, Jersey, Rankocas, Weymouth. These varieties annually bear fruit, forming large multi-berry brushes, satisfactorily winter. The size of tall blueberries reaches the size of a small-fruited cherry.
Most varieties of garden blueberries can be grown in other areas of the middle lane. They bloom and bear fruit annually. Annual shoots grow from the root neck. The growth of adult branched branches is small. In the early years of tall blueberries, only a few small berries are formed on them.
Soil for garden blueberries
The soil for tall blueberries is preferably breathable, acidic, friable, peaty-sandy. Gardeners who do not take this into account and plant blueberries in heavy clay soil are not satisfied with the growth and development of plants. The optimum level of groundwater standing is 40-60 cm from the surface of the earth. Under the condition of gradual and frequent watering, groundwater can be much deeper.
The main thing for garden blueberries is the presence of acidic soil (pH in the range of 3.8-5). Favorable soil conditions can be judged by indicator plants, such as horsetail, sorrel, mint. Even at a pH of about 6, blueberries grow slowly, not to mention neutral, and even more so alkaline soil.
If the soil on the site is the most ordinary, that is, not acidic, then 5-6 buckets of soil are removed from the landing pit 0.5-0.6 m deep and 1 m in diameter, the pit is isolated with boards, polyethylene or pieces of tin and filled with acid peat. If peat is not enough, add (not more than a third of the total mass) sawdust, wood chips, bark, and even better - partially rotted pine-spruce needles from the nearest forest. Good results are obtained by growing garden blueberries exclusively in a substrate of rotted sawdust. With a thick layer (7-15 cm) of the same sawdust, wood chips or sphagnum moss, it is useful to mulch the soil even after planting, which helps to preserve moisture and inhibits the development of weeds.
There is another option for soil acidification: a year before planting garden blueberries, powdered sulfur (250 g per 1 m3 land) or make such fertilizers as ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, urea, potassium sulfate, nitroammophos. The first two for each square meter add no more than 20 g, the latter - half less. The main thing is not to go too far with the doses.
There are many recipes for planting garden blueberries, however, the simplest and cheapest way is to bring sawdust, let them overgrow, lay in the garden with a layer of 40-50 cm, or form a comb and plant in it blueberry bushes after 80-90 cm in a row and after 2 m between the rows.
Planting Garden Blueberries
Tall blueberries are usually sold in small containers with peat. Seedlings with an open root system take root very poorly. The reason lies in the symbiosis of blueberries with a saprophyte mushroom, which helps the plant absorb the necessary nutrients from the soil. Often, greenhouses offer tiny plants with non-lignified bluish shoots. Such sissies, when landing in the ground, will inevitably freeze at the first serious cooling. In the spring, of course, instead of dead branches, new, but better, immature seedlings can be stored in the cellar until the next warm season at a low plus temperature or, at worst, placed on the lightest window sill in the room.
If there is a central heating battery under the window that drains and overheats the surrounding air, between it and the plants you need to build a simple protective shield - from a piece of plywood or cardboard and, if possible, increase the air humidity. Planted garden blueberries overwintered in the room at the end of May, when the threat of the last frost has passed. They place it at a distance of one and a half to two meters between the plants.
With success, you can grow garden blueberries in a wooden box, barrel, a large ceramic or even plastic pot with good drainage from a layer of expanded clay or small pebbles. Peat for such tanks requires very little - precisely by their volume. Economical and beautiful. It is no accident that abroad, graceful plants with bluish foliage planted in pots adorn porches, terraces, loggias. They put them at the entrance to the house. (True, with such a growing technology in the middle of Russia there is a small problem. For the winter, the container must either be buried in the ground or cleaned in a non-freezing room).
Garden blueberry care
When processing the soil, it is necessary to take into account that the root system of blueberries is superficial and is located in the 15-centimeter top soil layer. Therefore, plants are very responsive to annual peat mulching with a layer of up to 5 cm, applying nitrogen fertilizers and watering. Garden blueberries respond well to the annual early spring formation of the bush: cutting old branches at the level of the soil surface, cutting weak overgrown shoots, as well as rejuvenation in the crown for perennial wood, sanitary pruning, etc.
When anti-aging pruning of old branches to the reverse growth near the surface of the soil, annual shoots are formed - the so-called shoots of formation, the sizes of which reach 0.5-1 m. 9-10 cm. The size of the berries and the crop depend on the cultivated variety.
Propagation of tall blueberries
Garden blueberries propagate by seed and vegetative means. During seed propagation, seeds are selected from full-fledged berries collected from fruitful and healthy bushes. Squeezed seeds are slightly dried and sown late in the fall in pre-prepared, seasoned with acid peat and fertilized ridges. For spring sowing, seeds are stratified for 3 months. Sow seeds in grooves, to a depth of 1 cm, the bottom of which is slightly compacted with a board. Pour seeds with a substrate of sand with peat in a ratio of 3: 1. Seeds germinate well at a soil temperature of 23-25 C and soil moisture of about 40% by weight of the soil.
Seedlings care consists in constant loosening of the soil, weeding of weeds, moisturizing irrigation. To drive the growth of seedlings, blueberries in the second year, starting in spring, are fed with nitrogen fertilizers. 2 years old seedlings are grown at the sowing site. Then they are dug up and planted for rearing in a school, where they are given a large area of food. After 1-2 years, grown seedlings are transplanted to a permanent place in the garden, but it would be nice to conduct a preliminary individual selection of promising seedlings at the school for productivity and other characteristics.
Often amateur gardeners, finding high-yielding bushes in natural conditions, transplant them into their garden. It is better to transplant root shoots, part of the bush or harvested rhizome cuttings, rather than the entire bush. Part of the dug bush can be cut into separate offspring with rhizomes 5-7 cm long. Garden blueberries are also propagated by rhizome cuttings, which are harvested in late autumn, after leaf fall, or in early spring. The length of the handle is from 7 to 15 cm, the diameter is the larger, the faster it forms an increase and the root system.
To improve the survival rate, the cuttings are exposed to positive low temperatures (from 1 to 5 ° C) for a month. Then they are planted in a loose substrate of sand with peat 3: 1 (inclined) and sprinkled on top with a 5-centimeter layer of the same substrate. With good care, after 2 years, sufficiently developed seedlings grow, they are transplanted to a permanent place in the garden. Vegetatively propagated seedlings enter fruiting in the fourth year, seedlings - the seventh-eighth.
With a significant amount of reproduction of valuable varieties of garden blueberries and in order to increase the reproduction rate, they mainly use cuttings with green and lignified cuttings. When propagated by cuttings, the varieties Bluray, Coville, Herbert, Rankokas, Scammel, Dixie, Rannaya Sinaya and Bluk-prop (70-97%) are relatively easily rooted. Berkeley, Atlantic and No. 13 (40-50%) are weakly rooted.
Types of Blueberries
Blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum)
Natural blueberries grow in forests, swampy or rocky tundra on poor acidic soils - talus, swamp bogs, in the mountains to the mountain-tundra belt, in the south in the upper zone of mountains, the European part of Russia from the Arctic to Ukraine, as well as in the alpine zone, mountains of the Caucasus, in the Urals, in Siberia and the Far East, rising into the mountains to a height of up to 3 thousand meters above sea level. Inside the species, several subspecies are distinguished, each of which grows in its own ecological and geographical area. It is protected in reserves.
Blueberries have a very wide ecological amplitude: they can grow on moist, swampy soil and on dry areas in the mountains, grows better on light than shaded areas. More cold-resistant than lingonberries and blueberries, does not suffer from spring frosts. Blueberry is an oligotroph capable of growing on very poor and very acidic soils. It reacts positively to the application of superphosphate and burning of thickets, increasing productivity.
Garden tall blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Originally from North America. Grows in swamps and damp places. At home, this is a full-fledged garden culture: it is bred on industrial plantations, planted on personal plots, near houses. In the northern states of the USA and in Canada, blueberries are more popular than black currants. This circumstance is easily explained - the berry is very tasty and beautiful. American blueberry is called tall because it grows to two meters.
The plant blooms in the third year after planting. The diameter of the berry is from 10 to 25 mm. Harvest in the USA - 10 kg from a bush, in Russia, with a shorter cool summer - from 0.5 to 7 kg. Not all foreign varieties are suitable for the middle band, but mainly of early and middle ripening. Later varieties mature only 30%, unless, of course, they are grown in a greenhouse.
Blueberry Covilla (Vaccinium covilleanum)
Garden blueberries were obtained as a result of hybridization of three North American species of blueberries and are grown on industrial plantations in order to obtain berries already almost all over the world, including in Russia. Currently, there are more than 100 varieties of blueberries of various heights and different ripening dates. This is a perennial and long-living deciduous shrub with a height of 0.7 to 2.5 m (depending on the variety), with large, with a diameter of 1.5-2.2 cm, very tasty sweet and sour, collected in clusters of blue berries.
Harvest from one bush from 2 to 8 kg. It grows well both in the sun and in partial shade, but bears fruit abundantly only in good light. In addition to the heather garden, it can be planted as an undergrowth under tall coniferous trees, as well as used for hedges. It has good winter hardiness, but in severe snowless winters without shelter it can freeze.
Blueberry Diseases and Pests
In all countries where tall blueberries are cultivated, the main disease is shoot burn (stem cancer) caused by the fungus Godronia cassandrae (imperfect stage - Fusicoccum putrefaciens Shear). The disease causes the death of young plants and the death of individual shoots in older ones, as well as a significant decrease in yield. The first signs of the disease appear in the winter, most often in the latest growths. Small reddish spots appear in the area of scars from the leaves and on the shoots themselves, which then increase in size, become oval, chestnut-brown, ring the shoot and cause it to die.
On the old shoots, slowly expanding ulcers are formed, covered with exfoliated bark. The leaves of diseased plants acquire a bright reddish-brown color long before the autumn color change of the leaves. In the summer, the mushroom forms rounded brown spots on the leaves with a bright raspberry red halo. In order to combat the disease, first of all, avoid planting plantations in areas with excessive moisture, as well as applying too high doses of nitrogen fertilizers. In addition, they constantly prune and burn the affected shoots.
If you do not conduct timely observations and control of diseases and pests, they can severely damage garden blueberry bushes and lead to a significant decrease in yield. On a blueberry, there are diseases caused by parasitic fungi and viruses. About 70 species of fungi parasitizing on blueberries and cranberries have been observed.
Of these, the following are the most harmful for garden blueberries:
- Godronia cassandrae - causes a disease called stem cancer
- Septoria albopunctata - causes leaf spotting
- Phyllostictina vaccinii - severely damages berries
- Gleocercospora inconspicua - causes leaf spotting
- Monilinia vaccinii - causes twisting of young shoots and flowers, as well as mummification of berries
- Microsphaera ami (mildew) - causes a white coating on the surface of the leaves
- Pucciniastrum myrtylli (rust) - develops in the form of epiphytoties and causes the leaves to fall prematurely
- Pucciniastrum goeppertianum - calls "witches brooms"
- Phylospora corticus - the causative agent of stem cancer
- Phomopsis vacinii - causes the death of branches
- Botritys cinerea - affects flowers, fruits and leaves in periodically foggy weather
- Exobasiduum vaccinii - causes hypertrophy and bright red color of infected flowers, fruits and leaves
Measures to combat the listed pathogens of fungal diseases - treatment with existing fungicides during the growing season.
Of the viral diseases, the following are noted:
- viral dwarfism - causes dwarf shrubs and the formation of small yellow leaves in summer
- filamentous branches - causes red stripes on young branches
- red annular spotting - red annular spots appear on old leaves. One of the most dangerous blueberry diseases in the USA
- necrotic circular leaf spotting - causes chlorotic spots, in the place of which holes then form, greatly weakens growth and promotes drying of branches
- mosaic - leaves turn yellowish mosaic
- cord virus is one of the most dangerous blueberry diseases in Michigan. The latent period lasts about 4 years, then plant growth slows down, leaf color changes, stripes resembling shoelaces appear on shoots. Due to the difficulty of detecting this disease, blueberry production in Michigan and the United States as a whole is at risk
Measures against viral diseases: the destruction of diseased plants and burning of infected areas, as well as the selection of varieties resistant to the disease.