Managing the Nutrition of Highbush Blueberries
Eric Hanson and Jim Hancock Department of Horticulture
Blueberries evolved under acidic soil conditions where levels of many nutrients are naturally low. Generally, bushes require little and are sensitive to too much fertility. Because of these unusual nutrition requirements, many fertilization practices common to tree fruit production are not appropriate for blueberries. Proper management of nutrition is particularly important in blueberry culture because most blueberries in Michigan are grown on sandy soils that are prone to leaching. Sites usually have a water table within 3 feet of the soil surface, so nutrients can potentially move into drain water or groundwater. Efficient use of fertilizers will reduce production costs and minimize adverse effects on water quality.
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