Rabbiteye Blueberry – Plant of the Week for Nov. 9 2015

Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D.  |  11/7/2015 3:19:28 AM

rabbiteye blueberries

Rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei) is a dual-purpose shrub for the landscape. Rabbiteye blueberries are LSU AgCenter Louisiana Super Plants.

Blueberries will fit into any home landscape and make a great edible addition. Native to Louisiana, the best-performing blueberries are the rabbiteyes. These do well across the state. Popular varieties include Climax, Tifblue, Brightwell and Premier.

Blueberries produce fruit at an early age, and harvest typically begins in mid- to late May and continues to early July in Louisiana.

One important requirement for blueberries is acid soil, with a recommended pH of 4.5 to 5.5. This is similar to what is needed for azaleas, camellias and gardenias. Soil where blueberries are planted needs to be loose, well-drained and high in organic matter. Blueberries can be adapted to container culture if your native soil is incompatible.

Blueberries need full sun to yield the best fruit. This typically means eight hours of sun daily. In addition, it’s a good idea to mulch blueberries with pine straw in order to control weeds, conserve soil moisture and create a good environment for the root system.

When planting blueberries, use multiple varieties. This will aid in better fruit set and pollination. Plant individual plants on 6-foot spacings. Plants can be as tall as 6-8 feet after a few years, but you can keep them hedged if you wish by lightly pruning in summer after harvest is completed.

Fertilize each year in early spring after new growth begins. Re-fertilize if needed in early summer with a light application after harvest. Irrigate as needed through the season.

In addition to providing an edible crop, blueberries were chosen as a Louisiana Super Plant because they require low maintenance, have very few insect and disease problems, are ornamental, provide food for wildlife and offer fall foliage color.

Allen Owings
Rick Bogren

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