Gardens
Plants
Journals
Forums
Questions
Seed Swaps

Rabbiteye blueberries (5 varieties)

All 5 varieties were planted in 2012. In the first year, flowers were removed from the bare root plants only.

Premier (closest to house). Source: Lowes, $13, 3 gallon pot.

Tifblue. Source: Hyam’s, $20, 3 gallon pot.

Woodard (middle plant). Source: Brownswood Nursery, $40, 7 gallon pot.

Brightwell. Source: Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, $8, Mail order bare root plant.

Powderblue (closest to back fence). Source: Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, $8, Mail order bare root plant.

From Clemson and other cooperative extension service websites:

Ideal soil pH for growing blueberries: 5.0-5.2

Pruning:
Prune during the dormant season; late winter is most desirable.
Since blueberries are produced from buds on 1-year-old wood, pruning should be severe enough to encourage the production of vigorous new growth each year. Because rabbiteye blueberries are vigorous and can support and develop heavy crops of large-sized fruit, they generally require less pruning than southern highbush blueberries.
During the first five years little pruning will be required. Remove lower twiggy growth, dead or damaged shoots, and weak, spindly growth. Tip back excessively long and limber shoots to stimulate lateral branching and to thicken the shoots.
To prune bearing-age plants, remove low spreading branches and branches growing through the center of the bush, especially weak and older branches. Cut back extremely vigorous 1-year-old shoots and remove most small slender branches. See Diagram.
If plants become too tall to harvest easily, selectively remove about one-third of the older canes in the winter. Generally up to seven canes are left each year after pruning mature rabbiteyes, with the oldest or largest cane removed each winter beginning in the fifth year. These selective cuts should be made to open up the center of the plant to improve light penetration and to allow new canes to develop to replace old canes.

Fertilizing:
Use Caution: Blueberries are easily damaged by excess fertilizer. Apply the recommended amount and allow 4 inches of rain or an equivalent amount of irrigation between applications.
First Year: When the first leaves have reached full size, apply 1 tablespoon of a special azalea fertilizer (10-10-10) within a circle 12 inches away from each plant. Repeat at about six-week intervals until mid-August in the Coastal Plain.
Second Year: Make the first application when new growth begins in the spring. Double the first year’s rates, but increase the circle around the plants to 18 inches.
Bearing Plants: When growth begins in the spring, apply 1 cup of a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 within a circle 3 feet from each plant. For more vigorous growth, sidedress with a quarter-cup of ammonium nitrate at six-week intervals, but stop fertilizing after July 1. If the soil pH is slightly high in an established planting based on soil test results, sidedress with ammonium sulfate instead of ammonium nitrate.

Mulch:
Apply organic material such as bark, wood chips, or pine straw as a 3-inch mulch on the surface after planting to obtain more uniform soil moisture, more moderate soil temperature, and generally promote better growth and survival. Pine bark chips have a pH between 3.5 to 4.5 and are more desirable than hardwood bark chips which have a pH above 5.0.

“Growth begins with bud swell in the spring and continues into late summer and fall. The blueberry produces several flushes of rapid shoot growth… Each shoot may experience several of these growth flushes during the season, and each flush may result in 6 to 10 inches of growth with adequate moisture and nutrition. Shoot growth usually stops in midsummer.”

“Blueberry fruit ripens over a two-month period after bloom… Plants should produce about a half-pound per bush in the third year, and 1 to 2 pounds per bush in the fourth year. With good care, a mature Rabbiteye bush can produce 12 to 25 pounds of fruit each year.”

“Except for higher mountain elevations, rabbiteye cultivars are adapted to all of South Carolina. In general, rabbiteye blueberries have some degree of self-incompatibility; therefore, a minimum of two varieties is required for cross-pollination to ensure maximum fruit. The following rabbiteye cultivars are recommended in South Carolina: Early season: Brightwell, Premier, Woodard… midseason: Powderblue, Tifblue… Woodard is a good berry for fresh-eating but develops a tough skin when frozen.”

This planting is in the Edible Perennials garden .

Purchased.

Latest Milestone Harvesting

Quantity: 5

Plant Rabbiteye Blueberry Vaccinium ashei 75
Variety Premier 9

Photos


Linked Plantings & Stash Items

Name Garden Gardener Location Planted Archived

Milestones


Comments

Would you like to add a comment? Sign up for a free account, or log in if you're already a member.