Blueberries in the plots of Russian gardeners are still a rare exotic crop. Meanwhile, these berries are not only tasty, but also very healthy. In addition, the plant will wonderfully decorate the garden. Experiments on its cultivation began relatively recently, a little over a century ago, but many successful varieties have already been obtained. One of the most popular not only at home, in the USA, but also in the world is Bluegold blueberry.
Blueberries are a very tasty and healthy berry, but until recently they could not boast of special love among gardeners. Perhaps it is a widespread superstition - the smell emitted by blueberry bushes has long been attributed to the ability to cause persistent migraines. For this alleged feature in the Slavic countries, she received several unflattering nicknames - hemlock, stupid, drunkard. However, in fact, the specific aroma is spread not by blueberries, but by wild rosemary, which in nature almost always grows next to it.
Ledum is a beautifully flowering plant, in nature almost always growing next to blueberries
It has been scientifically proven that the use of blueberries is an effective prevention of atherosclerosis, diabetes and the appearance of tumors, including malignant ones. They also stimulate the work of most endocrine glands, help remove decay products of radioactive substances from the body, reduce the intensity of inflammatory processes, and have a beneficial effect on memory and brain
At the beginning of the last century, the first experiments on the domestication of blueberries began, at the origins of which was the famous American botanist Frederick Vernon Covill. The first cultivar was developed in 1908 in the United States. Bluegold, which translates from English as blue gold, is also of North American origin. The authorship belongs to the breeder Arlen Draper. The culture was bred relatively recently, in 1989, but has already managed to gain steady popularity among gardeners not only at home, but also far beyond its borders, including in Russia.
Blueberry bush Bluegold grows rapidly and branches intensively
Bluegold blueberry belongs to the category of tall varieties, its bush reaches 1.2–1.5 m. The plant is very decorative. During the flowering period, it is strewn with pastel pink bells collected in inflorescences, during fruiting - with clusters of large berries of a beautiful pale blue hue.
In the fall, the bush also looks elegant due to the fact that it changes the rich dark green color of the leaves to bright yellow, and then to scarlet.
During the flowering period, blueberries are strewn with pastel pink bells
You cannot call a compact bush, new shoots are formed very quickly. Regular pruning will be required. Shoots are strong, intensively branching, reaching 2.5–3 cm in diameter. Most of the branches are erect, straight up.
In autumn, blueberry bushes are an excellent garden decoration due to the bright shade of the leaves.
Bluegold is a medium-early ripening variety. The berries reach ripeness in the second decade of July, almost simultaneously. The crop is harvested in one go.
The first berries appear 3-4 years after the seedling is planted in the ground.
Bluegold blueberry fruits are one-dimensional, almost regular spherical in shape or slightly flattened, with a shallow scar. The average weight of one berry is 6–8 g. The taste is excellent. Blueberries resemble blueberries, but only sweeter. When harvesting, the peel does not suffer in any way (the so-called dry separation), which has a positive effect on the transportability and shelf life of berries.
Blueberry variety Bluegold has a high yield - the bush is literally dotted with clusters of berries
Blueberry variety Bluegold has many undeniable advantages:
One of the undoubted advantages of Bluegold blueberries is a consistently high yield and a long productive period.
This culture is not devoid of certain shortcomings:
In the heat, Bluegold blueberries shrivel, darken, partially crumble from the bush
Bluegold, like any other blueberry, is not least appreciated by gardeners for its simplicity and ease of care. This is not surprising, because in nature it is found mainly in the northern countries - Canada, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, where the climate is not mild.
Choosing the right site for growing Bluegold blueberries is the key to a bountiful harvest in the future. She needs a place well warmed by the sun. The lack of light and heat negatively affects the taste of berries, they noticeably sour, the skin coarsens. It is desirable that the groundwater does not approach the surface closer than 50–60 cm, otherwise it will be necessary to build an embankment 15–20 cm high.
The area must be protected from cold drafts, but it is nevertheless important to provide the possibility of ventilation. Otherwise, the bushes will suffer from pathogenic fungi.
It is desirable that at some distance from the blueberry bushes there is a natural or artificial barrier that protects from the wind
Blueberries prefer acidic soil (pH 3.5-4.5). The Bluegold variety is less demanding on soil acidity, the optimal pH for it is 5.0–5.5. Therefore, the acid-base balance of the soil must be found out in advance. If it does not meet the required indicators, fresh manure, coniferous sawdust, pine needles, peat chips, colloidal sulfur are introduced into the soil, or the area designated for blueberries is spilled with acetic, citric acid. In this case, the substrate should be light enough, it should be good for air to pass through. Blueberries will not grow on heavy soils.
Acetic acid is one of the most common soil acidification agents.
The root system of Bluegold blueberries is shallow, therefore the average depth of the planting pit is 35–40 cm, the diameter is about 0.5 m. When planting several plants at the same time, a distance between them is maintained approximately equal to the height of an adult bush.
The root system of blueberries is shallow, so it does not need a deep planting pit
At the bottom, a drainage layer about 5 cm thick is required (brick chips, expanded clay, pebbles, clay shards). Then a mixture of high-moor peat, coniferous sawdust, and coarse river sand is poured into the pit. All ingredients are taken in approximately equal proportions. Fertilizers include Nitroammofosk, Diammofosk, Azofosk (25–40 g).
Nitroammofoska is a complex fertilizer, a source of all the elements necessary for blueberries
The so-called mycorrhiza must be added to the blueberry planting pit. This is a community of plants and special fungi specific to all plants from the Heather family. Mycorrhiza is vital for the proper development of the plant. If the seedling was purchased from a special nursery, it is already present in the topsoil. It must be preserved, as well as the water in which the plant was soaked (it is watered with a newly planted bush).
Mycorrhiza - a kind of fringe on the tips of the roots of plants belonging to the Heather family
Also, mycorrhiza in the form of a dry concentrate can be purchased in specialized stores, but it is relatively rare there. Another way is to find a place in the forest where blueberries, lingonberries, cranberries grow, cut a little turf along with the roots, chop and add to the planting hole.
The soil under blueberries is a natural source of mycorrhiza
The best time to plant blueberries is spring. You need to be in time before the leaves begin to bloom. Autumn is not very suitable because the weather in most of Russia is unpredictable. You need to be sure that there are at least two months left before the first frost. Only in this case, the bush will have time to adapt to the new habitat and will not die in winter.
The best option is a 1-year-old or 2-year-old seedling. They handle the stress associated with the transplant best. Bushes are purchased from specialist stores or trustworthy nurseries.
It is desirable that they be located in the same area as the site, or to the north.
High-quality planting material can only be purchased from reliable suppliers.
The landing procedure has the following features:
After planting, the blueberry bush is watered and mulched
Watering, feeding, pruning a bush, mulching and loosening is a necessary set of measures for the care of blueberries.
The recommended soil moisture for Bluegold blueberries is about 70% (the soil compressed in a fist retains the shape of a lump, which disintegrates when thrown to the ground). The watering regime should be such that the top 15–20 cm of the substrate never dries out completely. But you can't turn them into a swamp either. Water that stagnates under a bush for two days or more will inevitably lead to its death.
The soil at the roots of the blueberry bush should be slightly damp, but not wet
If the summer is rainy, you can completely refuse watering, in the heat it is required every 2-3 days (you will also have to spray the leaves). The rate for an adult plant is 10-15 liters. It is advisable to water in the late afternoon. The best way is overhead irrigation that simulates natural precipitation. Water is not poured under the roots - they are located very close to the surface, it is easy to wash off the soil from them, which will lead to drying out.
Once every 1.5 weeks, ordinary water is replaced with acidified water (1-2 ml of acetic acid or about 5 g of colloidal sulfur per 10 liters of water).
In the heat, blueberry leaves are regularly sprayed with a spray bottle or poured with water from a watering can
3-4 times per season, the soil under the bushes is loosened after watering, but only very carefully, to a depth of no more than 5 cm. At the same time, the mulch is not removed; at the end of the procedure, it is advisable to renew its layer.
Of the macronutrients, blueberries need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. For an adult bush, it is enough to add about 100 g of nitrogen-containing fertilizers (carbamide, ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate), 110 g of phosphoric (superphosphate) and 40-50 g of potassium (potassium sulfate).
Urea, like other nitrogen-containing fertilizers, stimulates blueberry bushes to build up green mass
Urea is introduced in two steps, at the beginning and at the end of May, in equal portions. In mid-June and after harvesting, the bushes are fed with phosphorus and potassium. In the second half of summer, the introduction of nitrogen-containing fertilizers is not recommended.
Bushes aged 5 years and older need more nitrogen - 250-300 g of fertilizer. They are brought in in three steps: half - in early spring, when the leaves bloom, another third - in early May, the rest - in the first decade of June.
No organic matter (manure, compost, humus) is used for feeding blueberries, as well as a natural alternative to mineral fertilizers (wood ash, leaf infusion). She is also categorically contraindicated in any fertilizers containing chlorine, for example, potassium chloride.
Blueberries Bluegold are susceptible to magnesium deficiency. During the season, potassium magnesium or magnesium sulfate (about 15–20 g in total) is added in dry form or in the form of a solution. The deficiency of other trace elements is replenished by diluting 2-3 g of boric acid, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate in 10 liters of water. The bush is watered with such a solution in the first decade of June and at the end of September. An alternative is complex liquid fertilizer (Agricola, Kemira-Lux, Ideal).
Kalimagnesia is a fertilizer containing magnesium, to the deficiency of which blueberries are very sensitive
Pruning for Bluegold blueberries is a mandatory procedure that allows you to almost double the productive period of the bush. The first time it is carried out when 6 years have passed after planting the seedling in the ground. To the point of growth, remove all 5-6-year-old shoots that no longer bear fruit. Also get rid of all short empty branches, especially those that are located at the very roots. Of the shoots under the age of 3 years, 4–6 of the strongest and most developed are left, the rest are also cut off. The next year, the left branches are pinched to the 5th flower bud. In this case, very large berries ripen on them.
Wood ash helps to disinfect the wounds inflicted on the plant during the pruning process
For pruning, only disinfected and sharply sharpened scissors and secateurs are used. The wounds are immediately sprinkled with crushed chalk, colloidal sulfur, sifted wood ash, and powdered activated carbon. This is the gateway for all kinds of disease-causing fungi to which blueberries are quite susceptible.
For pruning blueberries, use only a well-sharpened tool, sterilized in a dark purple solution of potassium permanganate for at least 0.5 hour
If several blueberry bushes grow on the site, you need to make sure that their branches do not intertwine with each other. This delays the ripening time of the berries and negatively affects their taste.
Pruning is carried out once a year, in early spring (before leaf buds wake up) or in autumn (after the end of leaf fall). At the same time, practice shows that if it is carried out less often, the yields become more abundant, but at the same time the berries become smaller and ripen much later than usual.
When pruning blueberries, the oldest shoots are removed first.
Bluegold blueberries have good frost resistance. Only non-lignified young shoots can suffer from the cold, but they also quickly recover during the season. Therefore, it is possible to refuse from a special shelter, unless an abnormally cold and little snow winter is predicted. A snowdrift with a height of about 0.5 m, renewed several times per season, is enough.
The plant enjoys special love from hares and other rodents. To prevent their attacks, branches of any coniferous trees are tied to the bases of the shoots. You can surround the bush with a ring of strong mesh.
In winter, Bluegold blueberry bushes usually need no shelter other than snow.
Most often, Bluegold blueberries suffer from all kinds of disease-causing fungi. Infection is especially difficult to prevent if the summer is cool and rainy. This weather encourages the development of various types of rot.
Gray mold is one of the most common fungal diseases affecting blueberries.
For prophylaxis in the spring, the bushes are treated three times with a 2% solution of copper sulfate or Bordeaux liquid, or any modern fungicides are used (Topsin, Skor, Horus, Abiga-Peak). The first time unblown leaf buds are sprayed, the second - 3-4 days after flowering. The last treatment is 1.5–2 weeks after the second. A month after harvesting, the bushes are sprayed twice with an interval of 2-3 weeks with a solution of Strobi, Rovral.
Bordeaux liquid is one of the most popular and effective fungicides, which is easy to prepare yourself.
If suspicious symptoms are found, blueberry bushes are treated with Topaz, Fundazol. If necessary, the procedure is repeated after 7-10 days.
The plant is not insured against bacterial and viral diseases (mosaic, cancer, dwarfism, necrotic spotting). It is impossible to cure blueberries even at the earliest stages of their development using modern means. The best thing to do is to uproot and burn the bush immediately to avoid infecting nearby plants.
Bacterial cancer is a dangerous disease for which there is currently no cure
As a rule, blueberries are rarely exposed to massive attacks of harmful insects. Exceptions are the larvae and adults of the May beetle, caterpillars of the leafworm and silkworm, and aphids. Having found them, the bushes are sprayed 2-3 times with an interval of 7-12 days with Aktellik, Inta-Vir, Karbofos. May beetle larvae can also be collected by hand, they are quite large and well visible on the bush.
It must be remembered that the use of any insecticides is undesirable during flowering and is prohibited at least 20 days before the expected harvest date.
Adults and larvae of the May beetle cause serious harm to blueberry bushes, eating flower buds from the inside.
Birds can cause significant damage to blueberry berries. To protect the crop, a fine mesh is carefully pulled over the bush. You can also build scarers from foil, colored ribbons, bright paper, but practice shows that birds literally get used to them within a few days.
The net is the only thing that can reliably protect blueberry bushes from birds
It is advisable to pick Bluegold blueberries by hand, although they are quite suitable for mechanized harvesting. You should not hesitate with this, otherwise most of the crop may crumble from the bush. To check if the berries are ripe, it is enough to pick one of them. Ripe blueberries separate from the stalk very easily, leaving no marks or lesions on the skin.
Blueberries of the Bluegold variety are distinguished by their dense pulp, but they still have a relatively short shelf life.
When harvesting blueberries, be sure to wait for the dew to dry. The berries are removed, moving from the bottom up and from the periphery to the center of the bush. They are collected in small containers, the bottom of which is lined with some kind of soft material.
In the refrigerator, blueberries packaged in closed glass jars are stored for an average of 12-15 days. But frozen berries are just as healthy as fresh ones.
Blueberry is a plant that is undeservedly underestimated by Russian gardeners. But it is rapidly gaining popularity. The culture owes this to productivity, general unpretentiousness, decorative effect of the bush. Useful berries, widely used in folk medicine, are distinguished by their versatility, good transportability and excellent taste. Its homeland is the northern countries, so the Russian climate is quite suitable for blueberries.
27 years old, higher legal education, broad outlook and interest in a variety of topics.
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