Wild Blueberries or Lowbush Blueberries
The wild blueberries grow in the wild on their own, arising from the rhizomes. The wild blueberries are different than the regular berries in shape, height, color, and nutrient character. The normally cultivated blueberries are termed as ‘high bush,’ and the wild blueberries are called the ‘lowbush.’
These names refer to the height of the plants of both; the lowbush blueberries grow to a very small length and spread in an irregular fashion, whereas the high bush blueberries are cultivated in a regular arrangement and are more heightened than the wild blueberries.
Characteristics of Wild Blueberries
The wild blueberries do not have the same taste and color; only the shoots arising from a single rhizome show the same characteristics. Wild blueberries can be seen in any spectrum ranging from blue to black. Similarly, the taste varies too; from very sweet to sweet. The genetic composition of blueberries also varies since they are not bred selectively.
Where to Grow?
Since the wild blueberries are grown naturally in the wild; so they must be provided with perfect soil texture while growing in the fields.
The characteristics of the soil to grow wild blueberries are as follows.
- The soil must be gravely in nature.
- The soil must be very well-drained.
- The surface of the soil must have a pH ranging from 4.5 to 5.0.
- The soil must not be covered with a dense shade of trees.
How to Grow Wild Blueberries at Home?
The soil has to be prepared to grow the lowbush berries. Firstly, the land must be made free of all sorts of shrubs and weeds. Secondly, the pH of the soil should be maintained between 4.5 and 4.8. It is recommended to have a soil test to get the report of the soil’s exact situation. Thirdly, the land where you want to grow wild blueberries must not have any shady area. If you have any tree in an area, avoid cultivation in that area.
Best Time of the Year to Plant Wild Blueberries
The best time to harvest and cultivate the plugs is spring. Similarly, the nursery plants also grow best in the spring season.
Nutrition Value of Wild Blueberries
The high demand for Wild blueberries is because of their high nutrient value. As compared to a normal blueberry, the amount of anti-oxidants in wild blueberries is two times more. Also, it has more flavonoid anthocyanin, which is good for health.
From Where to Pick a Plant of Wild Blueberries
Several ways can be adopted for cultivating wild blueberries. Some of them are;
By Transplanting plugs
It is considered as the least expensive and most widely adopted method for cultivating wild blueberries. It is done by obtaining the plugs from already grown wild blueberry plants by digging 3-4 inches in the ground.
Cultivating Nursery Stock
The nurseries sell the wild blueberry plants with names such as Burgundy and Brunswick. They can be planted in the field at a reasonable distance of about one foot and have to water regularly. The lowbush berries grow slowly and may take up to 3 years to develop rhizomes.
Wild Blueberry Sod
The cultivation by the wild blueberry sod is quite an instant method. The sod was not usually available, but with the help of technology, it is now available in the nurseries. A proper irrigation mechanism must be made sure to cultivate the plants.
These are a few methods that can be used to cultivate wild blueberries, but the pre-requisites for the soil to have a pH between 4.5 and 4.8 have to be fulfilled.
How to Take Care of the Wild Blueberry Field
The procedure to cultivate the wild blueberries is half of the job; the other half includes the procedure to take care of the field to achieve maximum crop.
The crop of wild blueberries needs to be pruned regularly. It helps in enhancing the growth of the rhizomes. Many believe that wild blueberries are wild plants and do not need any such care, but it is not true. To increase production, it is one of the basic requisites. Also, pruning is very effective in stopping the spread of diseases such as Valdensinia.
Controlling the Growth of Weed
There is a probable chance that herbs or weeds might grow in the field of wild blueberries, which curtail the rhizomes’ growth significantly. The field must be clear of all sorts of plants except wild blueberries to achieve maximum out of the wild blueberry field. The competition resulting from other plants is very harmful to the growth as the blueberry plant has to compete to fulfill its needs; it ultimately affects the production of the field as a whole. The stats show that the reduction in the wild blueberry growth is by 80 percent due to weed growth, and it also depicts the importance of using herbicides and insecticides.
How Can You Improve the Crop Production of Wild Blueberries?
Pollination has been the most emphasized part for the better growth of the wild blueberries. The wild blueberries have very large-sized sticky pollens, and insects perform the pollination. The more flowers are pollinated by the insects; the more seeds are formed, resulting in a larger number of fruits. In the past 30 years of wild blueberry cultivation experience, crop production has increased significantly by better pollination. So, the experts always advise providing better conditions for pollination, as it increases the production significantly.
The wild blueberries are not like other plants since they have a stem deep inside the ground called the rhizome. A simple soil test is not enough to check the nutrient count of the plants. It is recommended to take a leaf as a sample and identify the deficient nutrients. The soil sample indicates the pH level, but the nutrient requirement of the plant can be best known by a leaf sample.