Planting Berry Bushes

I live in the Knoxville, TN area. I would like to plant a blueberry bush or two. When would you suggest I plant these? Any special suggestions or comments about blueberry bushes?
Jim Pettway
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In Knoxville you should be able to to use the Northern type Blueberries. They do need an acidic soil. Lots of limestine in East Tennesee, so that may be a problem. You may have to acidify your soil each year. In a climate where the ground freezes, I prefer to plant in the fall. However if you use potted plants, Spring planting is ok, but you have to baby them the first year. http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/blueberry.html http://www.uga.edu/fruit/bluberi.htm
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I'm near Knoxville and have done countless soil testing for several properties--all very acidic. I also do a lot of mountain hiking and there are many wild blueberries. Out soil is generally clay. Blueberry bushes can be purchase in late winter in local stores. Mix cotton meal into the soil and mulch with old partially rotted sawdust or peat moss. Watch for loss of green in the leaves ("anemia") then feed with an acidic fertilizer at half strength, and then only when the plant has been established (about a year). Blueberry roots are very tender. Plant 3 or 4 varieties 4 feet apart for improved yields. You will have to use plastic bird netting.
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Wood ash Is a good material to put around the bushes. By the way Phisherman its been a long time since I have seen you around here. Good to see you. Chuckie in the Frozen North, Zone 5
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On 13 Feb 2006 18:08:37 -0800

With respect, wouldn't wood ash be exactly the wrong thing to put around blueberry bushes? As I understand it, they are acidophile and ash will make the soil alkaline.
-E
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Emery Davis
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Wood ash raises Ph.

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On Tue, 14 Feb 2006 11:49:33 GMT

That's what I think I said! :) And blueberries like low PH, no?
-E

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Emery Davis
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Emery, you are exactly right.
Lots of folks think " wood ash for blueberries", because they see acres and acres of blueberry barrens burned over in the spring.
Not thinking that the burning is to keep down competing weed, brush, and insect pests, they think " ashes are good for blueberries, after all look at all that burned over territory".
it is thinking, but not necessarily "right on" thinking. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Mostly, when people understand that burning the blueberry barrens is to make manual harvest easier by eliminating other vegetation ( weeds and brush that contaminate the harvest), killing weed seed on top of the ground, controlling insect populations that may irrupt.... both insects that may harm the harvest by their own damage AND insects that may attract a heavy bird predation to the harvest area... Burning over a blueberry field also eliminates some flowering weeds that could reduce the pollination of blueberries by the leased bee hives.
Once folks know WHY the acreages are burned, they understand the different cultural practices between " commercial/wild" and " backyard".
Yeah I know someone is gonna jump me for even giving credence to the "commercial/wild" blueberry industry. So just go here
http://tinyurl.com/7f9l3 and send your feedback to the industry, not to the messenger.
In one's backyard.... plant in acidic, lean, sandy or good draining soil, mulch with leaves and wood chips to keep down weeds, consider netting against deer and birds, and pray for good weather at blooming time so the bees can do their work.
Blueberries bloom early ( here in Maine z5, in late May). If there is cold, rain ( or even snow) after the spring thaw when blueberries are wont to bloom, pollination will be affected if the bees aren't active Not a thing you can do about it except keep good cultural practice and hope for better weather next year.
The Vaccinium sp are quite fussy customers in cultivation, and I've found that its more work to make them happy where they don't want to grow, then to go find them when ripe where they are happy. For me, thats a really short walk.
Breeze Western Maine

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Hi Jim,
Here is a link that might help. This is where I'm buying mine from this year. I have tried multiple varieties and soil ammendments in Memphis with little success. These guys seem to have a pretty good system (At least on paper).
I hope this helps: www.watersblueberryfarm.com
Best of Luck,
Bob Sawyer
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