Site selection remains a pivotal decision for all potential blueberry producers. Alabama Regional Extension agent David Koon discussed various site-selection factors that will impact whether a grower experiences success.
“When we think about site selection of where you’re going to plant your blueberries, just like every other vegetable or fruit producing plant, full sun is a must. Partial shade, you can still grow them and get some fruit, just not near as much,” said Koon during a webinar on the Alabama Extension Commercial Horticulture Facebook page. “Full sun should be the No. 1 factor for any kind of production for a vegetable or fruit crop.”
It is also important to remember that freeze damage may occur in low areas.
“Think of low areas, just like water. Water flows downhill. If there’s a dam at the bottom of the hill, it’s going to pool. That cool air does the same thing,” Koon said. “If it’s in a low spot that’s got high ground all around, that cool air tends to settle in that hole. When you’re thinking two to three degrees difference between 32 and 29 degrees when you get damage, that low place can give you some problems.”
Producers may need to consider planting on the south side of a slope.
Water is Essential
Water accessibility is also an important factor. Blueberries need moisture but won’t tolerate standing water. Raised beds may be required.
“Blueberries do need water. They like to be watered, but they do not tolerate wet feet. If you’ve got some drainage problems or some areas that don’t drain well, you may want to look at some raised beds,” Koon said. “Anytime we talk vegetable production or fruit production, how are you going to get the water to it? Is there a water source readily available? Will it supply enough water for the number of plants that you’re considering?”