Blueberry AlapahaScientific Name: Vaccinium
Best Planted In Zone: 6-9
Alapaha blueberries are a medium-sized, dark blue berry which ripen in late May to early June. It is named for the Alapaha (a-LAP-uh-ha) River in southern Georgia. Its combination of early ripening and late flowering results in high frost resistance. These rabbiteye berries are perfect for eating fresh, or freezing. The fruit has a good firmness, flavor and shelf life. The plant has an upright form and grows 5-6 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide. It should be planted in full sun with sandy to loamy soil. Alapaha needs a pollinator such as Austin or Premier. Alapaha blueberries require 450-550 chill hours. USDA ZONES: Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9.
Most PlantMeGreen trees can be shipped and planted any time of year, unless the variety is specified as only seasonal delivery. Packages are typically shipped within 7-10 days from the time of your order. You will receive tracking email upon confirmation of your PlantMeGreen purchase. On some occasions, severe weather and other unusual issues can delay shipping and delivery of your PlantMeGreen package. Delivery time cannot be guaranteed, if a package needs to arrive prior to a specific date, or at a more convenient time for you, please notate that upon placement of your order.
Blueberries prefer well-drained sandy loam, acidic soil (pH 4.5-5.5). Blueberries will grow more vigorously and produce more fruit in full sun. In the area you plan to put blueberries, it is advisable to till in some form of acidic organic matter like ground rotted pine bark or oak leaves. Dig a planting hole approximately three times the width of the pot and at the same depth as the root ball. Enrich the planting hole with peat moss mixed with soil dug from the hole (50/50 mix). Do NOT use mushroom compost or manure in the planting hole or as mulch. You can make your plants sick and even kill them with manure or mushroom compost. Remove the blueberry bush from the pot, gently loosen the root ball and place in the planting hole. To avoid burying too deep, make sure the plant is positioned with the top most roots at the soil line. Fill the planting hole with the mix of soil and peat moss; gently tamp it in. Water thoroughly to settle the roots and eliminate air pockets. Do NOT put fertilize in the planting hole. Only apply fertilizer if it is the correct time of year. If desired, construct a water basin around the base of the bush approximately 36 inches in diameter. Blueberries are very shallowly rooted, like azaleas. Spacing for blueberries depends upon the desired use in the landscape. Bushes can be planted individually or in a hedgerow. If planting a hedgerow, space 5-6 feet apart with rows 10-12 feet apart. If planting bushes individually, place plants for cross pollination no more than 10 feet apart. Remove all flowers the first year to encourage more growth. The first year is a critical time for the establishment of a new blueberry bush. Water thoroughly twice a week on light soils and once a week on clay soils. Soak the entire root system deeply – this usually takes 45-60 minutes. Established bushes should receive at least 1 inch of water each week.
Water regularly, especially during dry periods. Keep an area approximately 4 feet in diameter around the bush clear of grass and weeds to minimize competition for water and nutrients. Mulch in spring and fall with approximately 4-6 inches of acid mulch (pine bark, oak leaves). Pull mulch a couple of inches away from the trunk for good air circulation. Do NOT mulch with mushroom compost. Routine pruning of blueberries is unnecessary until plants are 3 years old. During this time, remove dead, damaged or diseased limbs. Cut any leggy growth so the plant will bush up. Make all cuts flush with the limb or the next largest branch. Do not leave stubs. For established rabbiteye blueberries, approximately one quarter of the oldest canes are pruned each year to encourage cane renewal. Three to four year-old canes have maximum fruit production, declining with age. Blueberries can be lightly topped right after fruit harvest to hold down the height of the plant. All heavy thinning cuts should be made in the dormant season.