Growing Blueberries: Weeding and Mulching
Growing blueberries in your garden is a great way to enjoy fresh berries all summer. Here are some tips on weeding and mulching to maximize your berry gains.
Mulch for Blueberries and Your Garden
Finding the right mulch specific to your garden can be a daunting task. There are many effective mulches for blueberries, so it's best to find the one or combination that is most readily available to you and suiting to the needs of your garden.
- Pine Needles/Pine Bark: Pine needles or bark mulch is desired as a fertilizer for its perfect level of acidity. Though it can be cumbersome to acquire, if the PH levels of your home garden are not ideal for blueberry growing, pine needles or bark should do the trick.
- Peat Moss: Peat moss is expensive and becomes crusty over time, blocking water. The advantage is that it lasts longer and insulates effectively. Peat moss is commonly used in commercial blueberry production when mixed with sand and some form of hydrating agent.
- Sawdust: One of the most commonly available fertilizers is sawdust. It is absorbed nicely into the ground, enriching the soil and thus providing nutrients and other benefits.
- Manure: Manure is often used to further enrich fertilizers. Horse manure is the most common, but rabbit manure works great with blueberries and can be used fresh without aging.
Blueberries typically need 2 to 5 inches of mulch to best retain water and curb weed growth. Any more fertilizer may be too much. If mixing different types of mulch, use 1-2 inches of each.
Proper Weeding Is Vital for Garden
Weeds can be a bane to your blueberry bushes. Proper weeding is essential to maintaining the health of your garden. There are two aspects to proper weeding: prevention and clearing. Preventing weeds involves taking a step back to look at the macro scale of your garden. Identify the best spots as well as the troubled spots. If you consistently have weed problems in certain areas, rotate what you grow every season in that area between plants of stronger and weaker constitution. You can stop weeds from spreading through your yard by containing troubled areas with obstructions. Filling in loose cracks in your cement with powdered cement will also help curb weed growth from spawning in weak points of your deck or patio. Finally and most importantly, mulch is vital to preventing weeds because it blocks sunlight to the ground around your garden.
Clearing weeds is a simple if monotonous chore. If you have a light problem with weeds, picking them with gloves is a good option. If your weed problem is more serious, using a tool like a hoe to clear an area before planting is a good idea.