Blueberry Bushes and Raspberry Bushes

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by perennial, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering if i should plant these in any particular spot. Do the birds
    really go for them. We eat lots and lots of berries in this house. Is it possible
    to plant a "Maine" type of blueberry that is small? What's your experience with them?
     
  2. rj_in_MA

    rj_in_MA Well-Known Member

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    We grow a large berry blueberry, and I can tell you the birds are DEFINITELY a problem - especially the groups of field sparrows that also raid my chicken coop for the feed. I put an end to that with some deer netting over my chicken yard and over my blueberry bushes. For the bushes, I first put up some 72" chicken fencing around the bushes (which are only about 4 feet high so far) then draped the netting over the fence and secured it with wire ties. It makes it a bit of a pain to get at the berries, I use a makeshift gate, but at least the birds don't get them!
    I don't have a lot of experience with raspberries, I just pick any wild ones that grow around the house that the birds miss (which was very few last year).
    -rj
     

  3. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Do blueberry bushes spread alot. I know raspberry ones do a bit. Are there kinds that grow kinda like a hedge?
     
  4. rj_in_MA

    rj_in_MA Well-Known Member

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    We've only had ours about 4 years, but they only seem to grow a few suckers (kind of like lilac bushes but not as many). I'm pretty sure they more or less stay put and just get bushy and tall. That reminds me, almost time to prune!
     
  5. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    We have had blueberries for 15 years and never had them spread. Without pruning, some will get rather tall and gangly. It is possible to plant the low growing type. Stark Bros. carries some in their "Northern collection". We just planted some last year and are anxious to see how they produce.

    As far as birds and the berries.........we plant them and they eat them. Last year I didn't get covered in time (I wasn't paying attention) and they got the early ones. They seem to know EXACTLY when they are ready and get them the day before I am going to pick. In order for me to get more than the occasional blueberry I have to make little "bonnets" of cheese cloth. I make this sack type thing that I put over each bush and then tie it down with yarn. This winter I am going to make drawstring type bags.
     
  6. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    We've planted rasberry & blueberry bushes the last four springs. The deer and rabbits always find them and eat the entire shrub before it gets very big! This last spring we moved all our fruit trees and berry bushes to our garden with 5' horse fence. I know 5' is nothing to a deer....but we did manage to keep all the berry shrubs through the summer & fall. Didn't get any berries of course this first year...so maybe if they make it through the winter ice storms....we'll have fruit next summer :)
     
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Diane, that is an excellent idea with the cheesecloth bags. I'm going to have to try that! I'm planning to put electric fencing around the garden/orchard, but that won't keep birds out of the fruit.
     
  8. JennDBass

    JennDBass Wannab crunchy mama

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    We have a wind chime over our black berries and when the birds figure that out we tie silver ribbon on it and the flashing sunlight scares them off for a while. Durring cold snaps (Like they exsist in California) we place clear trash bags overthem and pin them down with rocks.
     
  9. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Do the birds get caught at all in the cheesecloth bonnets?

    brural
     
  10. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do check your soil ph where you intend to set the blueberries. They require a low ph. We lowered our ph with sulphur granules.
     
  11. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all your input.

    I think i'll do some of each this year and see how they do.
     
  12. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    Do the birds get caught at all in the cheesecloth bonnets?

    brural

    No......I don't leave enough room for them to get under them. They are really more like a drawstring bag in that they are tighter on the bottom.

    By the way..........we have had to really amend our soil to have blueberries. There are all sorts of products out there to lower the pH. I used "Hollytone" this year because I read about it on gardenweb.com My bushes have never in 16 years looked as good as they do this year.
     
  13. NewEnglandBeth

    NewEnglandBeth Well-Known Member

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    I just spread Hollytone around my blueberries during our warm days last week.....that means in New England you get two days of fifty degree weather, and the next day an ice storm :rolleyes: !

    I mulched with pine needles also, to raise the acidity of the soil.

    Now I know you can't do this, because it is the most annoying sound you ever heard on a continual basis, but the local blueberry farm has speakers every three rows, broadcasting on an intermittent basis the LOUDEST SHRIEKING!

    It sounds like two crows at war! Very loud, very obnoxious...but it seems to work! Can't do that obviously, if you have close neighbors you actually like!
     
  14. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Is there any where to buy a maine blueberry plant? They are so much tastier to me than the big fat ones.
     
  15. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    How do you make a drawstring bag out of cheesecloth (please explain sewing terms in a way a guy would understand....I'm sewing challenged!!)
     
  16. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    I think what you want is the "lowbush" versus the "highbush"
     
  17. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    Sue, I am cutting the cheesecloth large so I can reuse them. Picture a large pillow case.......step one make the pillow case (bag) Then you fold the open edge over and sew.......leaving an opening big enough to put a large safety pin through. Use a large safety pin to feed the yarn through so you have a nice big end sticking out on both ends. That will be your drawstring, which I just tie in a bow for easy undoing to pick. Remember you can not cover until the berries are starting to form because you need the bees to pollinate them.
     
  18. vicki in NW OH

    vicki in NW OH Well-Known Member

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    Diane,

    The Hollytone, really, it worked? Did you have to use much per plant? Not exactly ideal blueberry soil here, the pH is too high and we don't have pine needles for mulch. I killed my blueberries a couple of years ago during a drought by using well water. It raised the pH of the soil. I'm determined to keep trying blueberries, though.
     
  19. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

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    Is Hollytone suitable for organic gardens?
    Thanks,
    Chas
     
  20. JanaKaye

    JanaKaye Active Member

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    Below is a link to a helpful page full of suggestions from other gardeners. I do remember one tip for keeping birds out of a garden was to string old CD's between two posts; the CD's wiggled in the wind and kept the birds away. Might work for the blueberries too : ) In any event, its a very helpful list of tips.

    http://www.heirloomseeds.com/garden.htm