Highbush: Bluecrop, Chippewa, Northland
Half-high bush: Northcountry
Bluecrop: Introduced in 1952. Highbush; midseason. Standards of excellence. Bluecrop is a leading commercial variety. Medium to large, open clusters of large, firm, crack resistant, light blue fruit. High quality fruit with good subacid flavor. Bluecrop is good for fresh eating, preserves, baking and freezing. Vigorous, upright growth, will reach 4-6 feet at maturity. Slender light red canes. Tends to overbear unless properly pruned. Bluecrop will grow well in most areas.
Chippewa: Chippewa produces sweet, medium sized, light-blue berries, with excellent quality. High-bush blueberries with high yields in short season areas. Bushes will grow to about 3-4 feet tall. Hardy to zone 4. Requires acidic soil.
Northcountry: A hardy, large 1/2″ hybrid blueberry which forms a broad mounded shrub, excellent fall color, produces bumper crops of sweet mild flavour; all blueberries require highly acidic soils, excellent drainage and a good mulch, plant with plenty of peat moss
Northland: Early Midseason. The most cold-hardy highbush variety grown. Reaches about 4 feet high and 4 feet wide at maturity. A very productive variety, often yielding over 20 pounds per bush when mature. The berries are dark blue and medium size, excellent for jams and baking because of their high sugar content. It is easy to grow and adaptable to many soil types. Northland’s cold hardiness extends the area where highbush blueberries can be successfully raised. The bright yellow wood and compact shape fits well in the landscape, especially when grouped with other compact varieties like Bluetta, Bluegold or Patriot. Zones 3-7
Patriot: Early. Patriot was selected at the University of Maine for home gardeners requiring a cold hardy variety that would bear consistent crops of large sized fruit. Production is high, ranging between 10 and 20 pounds at maturity. The berries are dark blue and highly flavored. Patriot is a low growing, spreading bush to about 4 feet, revealing its partial lowbush parentage. It is adaptable to many soil types and will perform better in wetter soils than many other varieties. Patriot makes an excellent landscape variety with its showy white blooms in the spring, dark green summer foliage, and fiery orange fall color. Zone 3-7.
Cultural Requirements: Blueberries prefer an acid, well drained soil. Their shallow, compact root system makes regular irrigation a necessity. Mulching has proved beneficial an soils which are not ideal for blueberry growing. Fir sawdust or bark dust, applied to a depth of two to four inches, eliminates much of the need for cultivation and conserves moisture.
Fertility: For well balanced mineral soils with sawdust mulch not less than four inches deep, an application of 1/4 pound of Ammonium Sulphate per plant per year is ideal. It should be applied in early spring on the surface of the mulch in a broad ring around the plant. The size of the plant is not important.On organic soils without a mulch, the addition of Phosphorus or Potassium or both may be more important than the addition of Nitrogen. Complete Fertilizers, such as 5-10-10, are recommended for these soils.
Planting Instructions: Blueberries ultimately reach a height of six feet or more with a four foot spread or more. Therefore, the rows should be at least eight feet apart while no two plants should be closer than six feet, unless a hedge is desired.The top of the root clump should be close to the surface if a mulch is used, or about four inches deep without mulch.
Fruit Production Two different varieties must be planted to insure cross pollination for fruit set. Any two varieties will cross pollinate regardless of ripening time. The early varieties begin ripening in June, and the late varieties in early August. When planting two or three year old plants, the blossoms can be removed for a year or two to promote vegetative growth. Blueberries tend to over-bear rather than under-bear. Thinning of the blossoms will promote larger fruit and a healthier bush.
Pruning: After the plant has established itself, one may remove old tired wood that is loaded with too many fruit buds and too few leaf buds. Some of the thrifty vegetative wood may be removed to prevent the plant from becoming too sprawling or too high. Blueberries become sweeter as they hang on the bush. The only possible reason to pick early, (as they turn blue), is to escape predatory birds, Home gardeners often protect their plants from birds with netting. A large plant may have 15 to 20 pounds of fruit and is worth protecting.