Achieving sweet, vibrant, and delicious blueberries requires fertilization at proper times.
Low-chill varieties usually thrive in Georgia.
Blueberries in Georgia should be fertilized in spring after bud break and again after harvesting in summer.
Let me break this schedule down for you.
Best Time To Fertilize Blueberries in Georgia:
Remember, overfertilization is far worse than under-fertilization because of the low nutrient requirement of blueberries.
Take a look at this schedule:
To avoid both (over and under-fertilization), fertilize your blueberries at these key times to get the best out of them.
⭐ Established blueberries must be fertilized twice: First in early spring after the bud break.
⭐ Then, after harvesting in summer when your blueberry bush has given fruit (to prepare it for the next year).
Take a look at the table below:
|When to Fertilize?||Why?|
|First Application | Early Spring||Apply fertilizer as your blueberry bush begins to set buds to maximize flower (and fruit) production.|
|Second Application | After Harvest||The plant has used all its energy to give the best possible berries; it needs a treat to recover.|
Let me explain this in detail.
First Application | Spring
The first application will take place in spring after the bud break.
This application, just before the flowers bloom, will maximize flower production.
⭐ More flower blooms will lead to more berries. That’s exactly what we want!
Plus, this dose in early spring will give your blueberry bush enough time to absorb the nutrients.
Also, remember this:
Strong early growth → Strong blooming → More berries
This takes us to the second application!
Second Application | After Harvest
The second application shall take place right after harvest.
⭐ The plant has used all of its energy to produce delicious berries. Therefore, it needs a treat to recover.
Although this application will not produce more fruit, it will prepare the plant for next year.
This application is mostly missed, but it has done wonders for me.
To summarize it all:
So, fertilize in early spring as they begin to set buds. Then, fertilize them for the second time after harvesting in summer.
Tips for Growing Blueberries Successfully in Georgia:
1. Pick the Variety That Suits Georgia’s Climate:
Two types of varieties thrive in Georgia.
- Southern Highbush
Due to its low chilling requirements (roughly 200-600 hours), southern highbush thrives here.
This variety is quite popular in USDA zones 7-10; therefore, it also thrives in Georgia.
Moving on to Rabbiteye varieties, they are native to the Southeastern United States.
These bushes ripen a month later than highbush varieties, extending the harvesting season.
This is why I love them in Georgia!
These do best in zones 6-9, making them suitable for warmer areas of Georgia as well.
This takes us to the next point.
2. Pair Cultivars For Pollination:
Pollination plays a very important role in the development of blueberries.
Berries that pollinate produce much larger and more blueberries.
Two or more pollinator types planted around one another will yield a greater harvest.
|Southern Highbush Varieties:||Rabbiteye Varieties:|
– Pink lemonade
Use this pairing scheme in Georgia to get the best out of them!
Enjoy the best harvest of your life, whether highbush or rabbiteye berries.
This takes us to the next tip.
3. Amend the Planting Site:
Blueberries require acidic soil to survive and grow.
Just like azaleas and camellias, blueberries are acid-loving plants.
This means they need soil with a pH of around 4.5 to 5.5.
Soil pH should be reduced by,
- Pine bark/needle mulch
- Elemental sulfur prills.
- Using a fertilizer designed for acid-loving plants.
Pine bark mulch should be applied during planting.
Increase its layer by two inches annually until it reaches 6 inches; from there, maintain it at that height.
Regarding sulfur prills, the Ohio State University extension has published a table showing the elemental sulfur rate to lower the soil pH.
Important Note: For elemental sulfur to work, the temperature should be at least 55°F (or 12.8°C) for microorganisms to work.
Best Fertilizer For Blueberries:
Blueberries respond well to a nitrogen fertilizer, which also acidifies the soil.
Fertilizers sold for azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons perfectly do that.
Ammonium form of nitrogen in the fertilizer is required for blueberry bushes. For example, urea, sulfur-coated urea, ammonium sulfate, or cottonseed meal.
With that being said, Espoma Berry-Tone is my favorite.
This slow-release fertilizer produces tons of berries, and the 5% sulfur in it also reduces the soil pH.
Apply it according to the package instructions. As it is a granular fertilizer, sprinkle the fertilizer uniformly around the drip line of your blueberry bush.
This schedule is for you if you plan to grow blueberries in your backyard.
Fertilize your bush initially in early spring after the bud break, then apply the second dose after harvesting.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.
Here is the Best Time to fertilize blueberries in other states: