So, you are wanting to plant some blueberry bushes and you don't know the first thing about the plant. Is it a tree? Bush? Where do they come from and what should you look for?
BLUEBERRY BUSH - GENERAL INFO
Blueberries grow on bushes and come in several forms. We have high-bush and low-bush plants on our farm. We recommend our big producer, the Northern High-bush cultivar Bluecrop. This will do well in zones in Kentucky and north of Kentucky. This is a shrubby bush which will grow new canes each year and should produce berries each year if it happy. Its size depends on your pruning, but we like to keep ours about 5-6 ft tall so the bearing canes remain easy to manage and pick.
LEAVES AND STEMS
When purchasing a bush, look for the following indicators in the leaves and stems. First, you should notice both woody and green stems. The woody stems are from previous years growth. Having woody stems means they are not easily chewed off by a passing deer or rabbit, and thus your bush is more likely to survive and thrive. The green stems mean the crown is happy and is sending out new growth indicating the plant is thriving. Secondly, the leaves should be mid to deep green. If you are purchasing in the fall, they will turn an even red like any deciduous plant, and as a such, will loose the leaves during the dormant stage in the winter months. If the plant has spotty leaves, it may be an indication of stress, which may be caused by a plethora of factors from drought, insects, or disease, so use caution and ask questions!
My Grandma always smelled the bag of potatoes before she bought it. Same principal here. You want your roots to smell earthy, like dirt! If you pick up any rotten smell, look elsewhere. Phytophthora is a real problems in some nurseries where plants are grown on poor drainage sites. Roots should be red or brown in color. There should not be any black roots. Phytophthora can be treated, but not eliminated...so SMELL THOSE ROOTS!! Our plants are periodically tested for disease issues and to date, none have been found! Blueberry bushes last hundreds of years, so choose wisely and you and the next generation will enjoy your investment!