Maximising the harvest of blueberries in 8 tips

Are you harvesting and not satisfied with the yields of your blueberries plant? Are you sure you have done everything necessary to exploit the potential of your crop? Gary C. Pavlis of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station has put together a short list for producers who want to make sure they maximise the yields of their plants at blueberries. These tips are aimed at producers of blueberries in soil, but the general principles also apply to crops grown above ground.

  1. Correct pruning methods - an annual thinning of the oldest canes and cutting of these canes at ground level to stimulate the growth of new canes.
  2. Properpollination - skimping on the number of hives during flowering is a mistake. If your berries are small, which reduces the yield, cut the berries and analyse them: there should be at least 15-20 seeds in each berry. If there are none, it is a sign of poor pollination.
  3. Soil acidity -pH - The correct pH range for our blueberries is 4.5 to 5.0. Draper requires 5.0 to 5.5. If the pH is too low, high yields cannot be achieved.
  4. Optimal nutrient levels - Have leaf samples analysed to determine nutrient levels. Any deficiency decreases yield.
  5. Timely application of treatments to control insects and diseases. Consult local agronomy advisory bulletins regularly. Applications made at the wrong time or with the wrong chemical can be devastating.
  6. Efficient irrigation - The fruit of blueberry is 84% water. blueberry plants under water stress during fruit ripening decrease yield. On average, blueberries requires 50mm of rain every 7 to 10 days. There are many devices that measure the water availability of the soil. Irrigating without measuring correctly decreases yield.
  7. Soil health - blueberry needs good organic matter. If your soil has low levels of organic matter, mulching is necessary to increase plant growth and vigour.
  8. Weeds - Weeds deprive the plant of blueberry water and nutrients, both of which are resources for which the grower is paying. An infested field results in less plant growth and lower yields. Efficient weed control is essential for maximum yield.

Dr. Gary C. Pavlis, Ph.D
Agriculture & Natural Resources County Agent II
Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

Photo of Gary Pavlis.

Source: The Blueberry Bulletin - New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station



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