Blueberries are sensitive to excess levels of fertilizer. Do not go over the recommended amount.
Year of Planting: Apply fertilizer according to soil test and work into the soil before planting. Every six weeks thereafter apply a high nitrogen fertilizer such as a 27-3-3, 29-5-4, 30-3-3 or something similar. Though recommended for lawns, these fertilizers will also work well for blueberries as long as they do not contain weed killers or crabgrass preventers. Apply 1 teaspoon per plant within a circle within 12 inches of the plant. Do not apply fertilizer past August 15. Urea (46-0-0) may be substituted for the fertilizer recommended above but cut the amount to a rounded ½ teaspoon per plant.
Second Year: Double the rates recommended above and increase the area treated to within 18 inches of the plant. Apply the first application when the new growth appears in the spring and continue every six weeks but not after August 15.
Third Year and Following: – Apply 1/3 cup of the fertilizer recommended above within three feet of each plant when growth begins in the spring. Bushes should produce 6 to 12 inches of new growth each year. If less than this is produced or if you wish larger plants, apply
1/4 cup of fertilizer every 6 weeks. Do not apply fertilizer after August 15. (Ward Upham)
Eliminating Unwanted Fruit From Trees
We have had several calls recently from people asking how to keep trees, such as crabapples and sweetgum, from bearing unwanted fruit that can be messy and hazardous.
Florel is sold in many stores as a fruit eliminator. The active ingredient is ethephon, a chemical that releases ethylene, which causes fruit to drop before it sets. According to the label, a foliar application of Florel will reduce or eliminate undesirable fruit development on many ornamental trees and shrubs such as apple, cottonwood, crabapple, elm, flowering pear, horse chestnut, maple, oak, pine, sweetgum, and sycamore. But how well it works and potential damaging effects depend on the dose and temperature. Activity slows if the temperature is below 60 or above 90 degrees F. Because Florel degrades quickly in water, applications should be completed within four hours of mixing. Timing of the application must coincide with full bloom, a stage that requires close observation with many of our trees.
Researchers at K-State’s John C. Pair Research Center near Wichita have gotten mixed results using Florel on treated crabapples. With some varieties, fruit was substantially thinned. Others showed no effect. We cannot make firm recommendations on the use of this product without research results on other tree species. (Ward Upham)