3810 Whites Creek Pike, Nashville, TN 37207 (615) 876-1014

Archive date:  April 6, 2009

Blueberries are Best

A magnificent hedging plant with incredible fruit

Blueberries are the most overlooked plant for the landscape. It is a beautiful shrub. It also has blueberries. When you put those two words together you spell, well let’s see…shalbeebrurb, (don’t think that is a word) perfection, is what I mean to say…metaphorically speaking. Every landscape in the eastern United States should have at least two blueberries. Why two, you ask? Well I’ll tell you, even though many are self fertile, they produce better when cross-pollinated with at least one other variety.

Blueberries have a diverse range of micronutrients, with notably high levels of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber. One serving provides a relatively low glycemic impact. Oh, one more thing…they taste really good!

Especially in wild species, blueberries contain anthocyanins, other antioxidant pigments and various phytochemicals (aren’t multisyllabic words fun!) possibly having a role in reducing risks of some diseases, including inflammation and several different cancers. I’m not completely sure what all of those things are, but they’re suppose to be good. Not only do they have all that stuff, but it is good for a bunch of other stuff including cognitive functional decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease and conditions associated with aging. Don’t know about you, but I ain’t getting any younger. There have been a bunch of tests on animals to try to determine the effect on urinary tract infections, stroke, cholesterol and heart disease, to name a few. I just can’t see how they get animals to eat them…my cat won’t touch ‘em.

Blueberries were first cultivated in the United States by Elizabeth Coleman White in the southern New Jersey village of Whitesbog. New Jersey remains a leading producer of highbush blueberries. Highbush blueberries are commonly referred to as “cultivated” varieties. Lowbush are commonly referred to as “wild” blueberries.

Maine produces 25% of all lowbush blueberries in North America, making it the largest producer in the world. Maine's 24,291 hectares of blueberry were propagated from native plants that occur naturally in the understory of its coastal forests. The Maine crop requires about 50,000 beehives for pollination, with most of the hives being trucked in from other states for that purpose. Many towns in Maine lay claim to being the blueberry capital and several festivals are centered on the blueberry. The wild blueberry is the official fruit of Maine and is often as much a symbol of Maine as the lobster. While Maine is the leader of lowbush blueberry production in the United States, Michigan is the leader in highbush production.

So-called "wild" (lowbush) blueberries, smaller than cultivated highbush ones, are prized for their intense color. The lowbush blueberry is found from the Atlantic provinces of Canada westward to Quebec and southward to Michigan and West Virginia. Lowbush species are fire-tolerant and blueberry production often increases following a forest fire as the plants regenerate rapidly and benefit from removal of competing vegetation. The word “Wild” has been adopted as a marketing term for harvests of managed native stands of low-bush blueberries. The bushes are not planted or genetically manipulated, but they are pruned or burned over every two years, and pests are "managed".

Significant acreages of highbush blueberries are cultivated in the southern states of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. As you may correctly conclude, blueberries also do very well here in the Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama areas. Soil preparation necessary is the certainty of the ph. Blueberry ph levels should be around 5. To assure best results when planting you may want to consider using our EarthMix® Premium Topsoil Blend, along with HollyTone® Organic fertilizer for, you guessed it, acid loving plants . There are two distinct species of highbush blueberries, northern and southern. In Tennessee, we being in the “heart” of the transition zone, between north and south, can grow either species. Of either there are many varieties.

Remember, to search any edible item go to our search tab, and put in “edible” for a complete list of all edible plants or “edible blueberry” if you only want to see blueberries.

Blueberries are here for the pickin’

David Bates

By the way, we are having a “Gold Rush” special this week on #1 Gold Coast Juniper and #1 Limemound Spiraea, regularly $11.99, from now until next Friday, April 10, 2009, we are offering these for just $7.99, while supplies last, for one week only…come and get ‘em!

David Bates

ing��nxHH�1!uge shipment of annuals, vegetables, tropicals and much more…remember our average last frost date is April 15. Check us out on Fox 17’s website for a cold weather story from earlier this week: Bates Nursery Freeze Preparation

Warmer weather is coming,

David Bates