Forum: Polyculture & Niche Analysis Questions & Comments (optional)

Niche Analysis - Highbush Blueberry

 
 
Picture of Deb Winther
Niche Analysis - Highbush Blueberry
by Deb Winther - Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 4:10 PM
 

Hi everyone,

Attached is the research I completed for Highbush Blueberry, one of the preferred edible perennials I want to include in my proposed food forest. It sounds like a versatile shrub that will do well in my landscape. I've come across this shrub in several of the conservation areas where I hike with my dog. The flowers, although small, are very pretty in the spring. Of course, the actual fruit is delicious, and the leaves turn the most beautiful colors in the fall. I'm happy to learn how adaptable this shrub is to different light and moisture requirements. It prefers acidic soil, which describes most of the soil on the Cape, and specifically on my site. Apparently, the only way to kill Highbush Blueberry is to throw a bag of lime in the soil! I think this one is staying on my list of potential edible perennials for my food forest. 

 

Picture of Debbie Sexsmith
Re: Niche Analysis - Highbush Blueberry
by Debbie Sexsmith - Friday, December 4, 2020, 11:29 PM
 

Hi Deb

Yes you are in the perfect place for blueberries.  We have had some for a number of years now.  They really like to be pruned pretty aggressively in the late winter early spring.  I learned by watching You tube and it worked.  I think I had a definite aha moment when I could finally tell a blossom bud from a leaf bud.  Blueberry jam is a favorite around here :)

Picture of Deb Winther
Re: Niche Analysis - Highbush Blueberry
by Deb Winther - Saturday, December 5, 2020, 4:41 PM
 

Hi Debbie,

My primary objective is to create a wildlife habitat on my site, so the plan is to share my blueberries with the critters. I may cover one or two plants for me, and let the birds, etc. feast on the rest. Thanks for the advice on pruning - I'll be sure to do my research before I head out with my pruning shears! Sometimes I can get carried away ;-)

Deb

Picture of Pamela Sonn
Re: Niche Analysis - Highbush Blueberry
by Pamela Sonn - Saturday, December 5, 2020, 2:29 PM
 

Hello Deb,

We have blueberries (high and low) and a word of caution: the bark is highly tasty during the winter months to rabbits and mice, particularly the shoots / new growth of that summer.  I have to wrap my bushes in hardware cloth for about 12 - 24 inches around the base.  This protects the young shoots.  We kept getting growth in spring and summer and then in the winter those critters would come and nibble away the tasty young growth!  Our bushes were not growing overall but staying at nearly the same size for a few years until I figured out the system.  The mice come from under the snow and the rabbits come along, sitting on the snow.  Thus, a bit of a winter fortress has helped my bushes finally start to maintain their growth!  Good luck with your blueberries!  They are so tasty - to all!

Pamela

Picture of Deb Winther
Re: Niche Analysis - Highbush Blueberry
by Deb Winther - Saturday, December 5, 2020, 4:49 PM
 

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for the heads-up! I'm a combatant in the rabbit wars and have become quite skilled at building wire cages to protect my perennial flowers. I'll plan to do the same for the blueberries, using hardware cloth as you suggested. Maybe I'll get enough for a pie!

Thanks again,

Deb