Sweet, aromatic, and tangy – We all describe blueberries with these terms.
Blueberry season in Oregon starts in July and continues into September.
If you are looking for the best time to fertilize your blueberries, start early in the season (spring) after bud break. Then, fertilize six weeks after the initial one and then after harvest.
Let me break this fertilizing schedule down for you.
Best Time To Fertilize Blueberries in Oregon:
If your blueberry bushes are struggling to survive or give a bountiful harvest, the lack of nutrients in the soil can be a reason.
Blueberry bushes require multiple fertilizations, unlike many other perennial plants.
The three key stages are:
- To begin with, fertilize early in the season when growth begins in the spring. This is the time right before the flower buds first open.
- The second fertilization should take place six weeks after the initial dose. Your berries will start to form at this stage.
- The final application should be after the harvest. Most people ignore this, but your blueberry bush must regain energy for the upcoming season.
Take a look at this table below:
|When To Fertilize?||Why?|
|First Application: Early Spring||This dose will allow your blueberry bush to produce maximum foliage early in the season.|
|Second Application: After Six Weeks||This dose right before fruiting will provide energy for maximum fruit production.|
|Third Application: After Harvest||Although this will not help produce further berries, it allows the bush to “recover” and regain its energy.|
Let me explain this to you.
First Application: Early Spring
As I mentioned, the first dose will be in the spring after the bud break.
This dose will allow your blueberry bush to produce maximum foliage early in the season.
The best part?
The fertilizer will allow our blueberry bush to store energy for flower production – More blueberries!
Just remember this:
Strong early growth → Strong blooming → More berries
This takes us to the second application.
Second Application: After Six Weeks
At this stage, your blueberry bush has used its energy to prepare for fruiting.
This dose, around four to six weeks after the initial one, will provide energy for maximum fruit production.
This is the time when the berries start to form.
In short, the second fertilizer application will result in more growth with healthier and tastier blueberries.
That’s what we want!
Third Application: After Harvest
After picking fresh, ripe blueberries, it is time to thank the blueberry bush.
The blueberry bush has used all its energy to produce sweet, tangy blueberries.
Many people often miss this fertilizer application, but this has done wonders for me.
Although this will not help produce further berries, it allows the bush to “recover” and regain its energy.
This will be vital for the upcoming season – That’s what we want.
This takes us straight to the next topic.
When NOT To Fertilize?
You should avoid any fertilizer application in late fall.
The fertilizer will promote new foliage at this stage, which is vulnerable to winter damage.
As long as this fertilizer schedule is followed and proper care is taken, your blueberry bushes should survive well into the new year.
Tips for Growing Blueberries Successfully in Oregon:
1. Pick the Variety That Suits Oregon’s Climate:
Cold-hardy Northern highbush varieties do well in Oregon.
These are my favorite ones.
|Name||What I Like About It|
|1. Blueray||– Large berries |
– Dark-blue color
– Sweet, high-quality flavor
|2. Jersey||– High yield |
– Exceptionally hardy
– Very sweet taste
|3. Bluecrop||– Disease resistant |
– Large harvest
– Large berries
|4. Berkeley||– Large yield |
– Low maintenance (can survive heat or cold)
– Grows fast
This takes us to the next tip.
2. Amend the Planting Site:
Like azaleas, camellias, and hydrangeas, blueberries are acid-loving plants.
This means they need soil with a pH of around 4.5 to 5.5.
You can lower your soil pH by adding wet sulfur (slightly more for clayey soil and less for sandy).
Or you can use a fertilizer for acid-loving plants.
Note: Regularly do a soil test, as water can also raise the pH of your soil.
You must prepare your soil three months before planting your blueberry bush.
3. Protect From Winter Damage:
You should know that the high-speed cold winds can cause the blueberry bush to dry out.
This is not good, as blueberries love moisture.
Here’s what you can do.
- Wrap burlaps around the blueberry bush and weigh them down with nails or bricks.
- Place a trash bucket over the plant and weigh it down with a brick. Also, make sure that your bucket is white or light-colored.
- Use bird netting to prevent the birds from eating your tasty blueberries.
With this, it is time to move on to the next topic.
Best Fertilizer For Blueberries in Oregon:
Your blueberry bush will respond well to any nitrogen-rich fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.
That’s why any fertilizer sold for azaleas or rhododendrons also works well for blueberries.
You should know that blueberries need fertilizer with an ammonium form of nitrogen. For example, urea, sulfur-coated urea, ammonium sulfate, or cottonseed meal.
With that being said, Espoma Berry-Tone is my favorite.
This slow-release organic fertilizer is the key behind tons of blueberries.
The 5% sulfur will lower the soil pH – Exactly what we want.
However, this product has a strong smell as it comprises natural ingredients (such as fish emulsion).
Once you water it down, you won’t smell it anymore.
This fertilizer is worth the money and can do wonders.
Apply it according to the package instructions, and you are ready.
Note: When using granular fertilizers, sprinkle the fertilizer uniformly around the drip line of your blueberry bush.
So, if you plan to grow those delicious blueberries in Oregon, this fertilizing schedule will help you.
Start early in the season (spring) after bud break. Then, fertilize six weeks after the initial one. Finally, fertilize after harvest.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. Happy Gardening!
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