– All right, Mr. Dee. We’re on The Family Plot garden. Blueberries! – Blueberries, one of my favorite crops. – I like blueberries. – They’re easy to grow. They grow well in this area, provided you
plant the right type, and they have very little insect and disease pressure. Just really, really neat fruit to grow. – [Chris] What’s the right type? – The right type is the rabbiteye type. – [Chris] Rabbiteye? – And unfortunately, a lot of the stores sell
hybrid types, which work well in higher elevation areas of Tennessee, like the Smoky Mountains. But you need a rabbiteye type. And you have a list of those varieties at
the extension office. – I sure do. – What we have here, blueberries require cross
pollination, so you need at least two varieties. We have Tiff-Blue and Climax here. They’re two of the more popular blueberry
varieties in the Southeast United States. They’re proven. They do well. That’s what I’ve got at my house. They really do well. Time to plant blueberries is preferably when
they’re dormant, but November to March, and so we’re barely squeezing in on the late end
of the planting season. I’m gonna plant ’em, and I’m gonna dig a whole,
pretty wide whole, not that much deeper than, I wanna make sure they’re not planted any
deeper than they’re growing in the pot. But I’m going to add Sphagnum, or Canadian
peat moss, to the planting hole. For a home garden, this is two gallons of
Canadian or Sphagnum peat moss to mix it in with the soil at the planting hole. If you’re a commercial grower, it’s two or
three shovelfuls of peat moss in the planting hole, the bottom of it, and then plant ’em. We’re gonna do it the commercial way. And when it says two or three, three. That means three. You can’t get too much Sphagnum peat moss
in the planting hole. And if you have planted blueberries without
putting Sphagnum peat moss and they’re just sitting there and they’re not growing, dig
’em up– – [Chris] Put it in there. – Put peat moss in the ground and plant ’em
on top of it, because the peat moss holds moisture, and it helps this young plant grow
because it increases the water holding capacity and also is more acidifying. And blueberries, they do best in a very acid
soil, 4.8 to 5.2. – [Chris] Which is low. – Prefer 4.8. So your blueberries kinda need to be off to
themselves, because they’re pretty much the only plant in this garden landscape that needs
an acid environment. Azaleas and camellias, you can have your blueberries
around your azaleas and camellias, or azaleas, and you’ll be okay. – [Chris] Yeah, that’d be fine. – But you need to keep ’em away from our blackberries
and our other fruit trees and the figs, peaches. Almost all the others require a high pH, six,
6.2, or something like that. In a commercial planting, five to six feet
apart is what they recommend, planting them in a row, with the rows being 10 to 12 feet
apart. I’d give yourself some room, because this
rabbiteye type blueberry can get up to 20 feet tall if you let it. – [Chris] Wow. – And you can control that with your pruning
shears. But give yourself some room. I know we’ve got, we’re already marked out
here, and I think we have ’em 10 feet apart, is what we have ’em here. And that way, they’ll be individual shrubs
and you can walk completely around ’em and pick ’em and prune ’em and all that, and that
would be the best way to do it, if you have room. Don’t have room? Plant ’em five or six feet apart, and you’ll
have about a eight or 10 foot shrub. – [Chris] Geez. – Long, it’ll be long. You won’t be able to go between them. They’ll eventually grow together and intertwine
together. – [Chris] I think you’d be best going around
’em. – Yeah, if you have the room, I prefer to
do that. So we’ve got our spot marked here, and I guess
I’m ready to… Let me kinda… – Let me move this one. – Get it out of the way. – [Chris] Get that old Bermuda out of there,
right? – [Mr. Dee] Yeah. – Cut it up a little bit. – [Mr. Dee] Score the sides. Even though I don’t think we got too much
clay here, we’ll make sure that the roots don’t have any trouble penetrating. – All right. – Okay. I think that’s got it in pretty good shape,
so I’m ready to add my Sphagnum peat moss. – [Chris] Peat moss. – Two or three good shovelfuls. Look out. It’s a little dusty now. – Yeah. – Which will help the split soil we’ve got. That’s one. – All right. – [Mr. Dee] Two. – Two. There you go. – Three. We’ll go with this Tiff-Blue. Check the roots out. – [Chris] Ah. – [Mr. Dee] Doesn’t look too root bound. I don’t think there’s any need to do any scoring. – [Chris] Not too bad. – [Mr. Dee] I’m just gonna plant that just
like it is. – [Chris] Okay. – I see that. Look about the right depth? I want it the same depth that it grew in the
nursery. All right. I’m gonna start adding the soil back. – [Chris] Now, do you like to pack it in as
you go? – [Mr. Dee] Nah. – [Chris] Okay. I know some folks like to do that. – What I need to do is water it in after we
get it set. Gonna have to fight the Bermuda grass. – [Chris] Oh yeah. – [Mr. Dee] Course, Poast does a pretty good
job, and it’s cleared to use on blueberries. Be very careful with Roundup– – [Chris] Very careful. – Around any fruit. Roundup does strange things to grapes and
peaches and things like that, so I prefer not to use Roundup around my fruits. – Now, while you’re doing it, what about fertilizing? Of course, it already had fertilizer– – Don’t fertilize the first year. Blueberries, you can do more damage over fertilizing
than under fertilizing, so go very light. Do not use ammonium nitrate. It’s better not to use nitrate forms of fertilizer. When you add your nitrogen, you probably need
to use ammonium sulfate. That will lower the pH because of the sulfur. Kind of a rule of thumb to planting blueberries
for me is to take off about a third of the growth. I’m not gonna worry about a third, but I am
gonna take off all the fruit and blooms, because this first year, I went all the energy to
go to growing a plant. This little blueberry has quite a bit of fruit
on it, as you can see. – [Chris] Yes, it does. – And it really handicaps the plant if you
leave it on here. It will make it grow off a lot slower. All right. Time to add a little sulfur. Like I said, I think we need to drop it one
whole point from about 5.8 to six to 4.8 to five, and that is 3/10 of a pound of elemental
sulfur per 10 by 10 foot area. So we’re gonna fertilize about a 10 by 10
foot area. I’ve got it pre-weighed out here. I’m just gonna… I want it to be as uniform, and I’m gonna
stay up wind. I’m sorry, camera folks. Left a few clumps here, and I’m gonna step
on the clumps and break ’em. It takes a pretty good while for this to change
the pH, for it to get completely mixed in the soil, but it is water soluble. So we ought to be okay. We’ve done two of the most important things. We’ve applied sulfur to lower the pH and we
have the Sphagnum peat moss in the planting hole. So this blueberry is well on its way to being
successful. – All right. Well, Mr. Dee, we appreciate that. – Good deal. – Can’t wait to see what it looks like later.