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Ask Gerry : Fruit : Blueberries

Pruning fruit trees

, Dublin Posted On: October 16, 2012

Can I prune or cut back blueberry bushes and a fig tree ? They are getting very untidy.


Blueberry bushes are pruned much like blackcurrant bushes, that is, removing some of the older shoots each year close to ground level and allowing the new branches to carry the fruit. A process of regular annual pruning between October and March will keep the bushes to a manageable size.

A fig tree can be pruned in spring, taking out whatever shoots are deemed superfluous. A fig is gnerally wall-trained in this country for best results and older shoots can be shortened or removed if not needed for tying in. 


what is this tree?

, Gorey Posted On: September 25, 2011

This plant is about 5ft high and I think it has white bell-shaped flowers in spring but not 100% on that; I hope the photo is evidence enough! It’s also now being squeezed on both sides.


This looks like a high bush blueberry plant, which can grow to that size. It needs acid soil which you have in Wexford. It could be moved when the leaves have fallen.

yellow leaves on blueberry bushes

, dublin Posted On: June 16, 2011

I have two blueberry bushes, same variety, planted in large containers in ericaceous compost. Most of the leaves on both plants have turned yellow and some have gone brown at tips. I was wondering if problem was the windy weather we’d had or could it be soil or watered related?


They probably dried out at some stage, and even though watered again, the damage was done.

Blueberries are a bogland plant that likes to be moist and even watering is essential.


Posted On: May 7, 2011

The flowers on my blueberry plant have all fallen off,will this mean that they will not fruit.


The front part of the flower, which is white, falls off but the back part which forms the fruit must remain in position,

If these have been lost, the plant may be suffering poor growing conditions.

orchard fruit trees

, Dublin Posted On: March 29, 2011

Could you recommend fruit trees to put into an orchard, other than Apple, Pear, Plum, Cherry, which are already growing?


If you mean only tree fruits, there are not many other possibilities.

Peaches, nectarines and apricots are at best marginal outdoors, perhaps with heat of a sunny wall.

Medlars and figs are possibilities. Figs need a warm wall. Mulberry is possible.

Hazelnuts are an orchard tree and walnuts, which need a frew good summers in a row to do much.

There are lots of possibilities in soft fruit ... cane fruits, currants, strawberries, blueberries. 

Blueberry planting

, Kinnegad Posted On: January 24, 2010

I bought Bluberry..and later i read that for this plant need acid my area is more lime soil I think ..Will be good to buy bigger pot and plant in acid soil?


Yes, you are quite right, the soil in Westmeath is limy and blueberry needs acidic soil. Use a large pot, starting with 15 litre and potting up to 30 litre or more. Use lime-free ericaceous compost and acidic soil, if available, and make sure to keep the plants watered in summer.

Feed once every three weeks from April to September with a lime-free ericaceous plant food, such as for rhododendrons.

As an alternative, on limy soil, you could make a raised bed, with or without supporting sides, about 20cm high with ericaceous compost and/or acidic soil or leaf mould, about one metre with bushes one metre apart.

Blueberry borderline soil ph

Posted On: September 10, 2009

I have blueberries in pots. I plan to put them in the ground in november. the soil is ph 6. should i use your polyhene lined trench method? or should i use an acidic mulch? basically i dont want to dig a trench but if it would affect my blueberries i will.


Although blueberries like a lower pH as ideal, they should be okay at pH 6. Plant on a slight mound and pile up a good mulch of rotted leaves.

blueberry plants

, NEWPORT GWENT Posted On: July 9, 2009

what type of Blueberry do I require to make a hedge between my plots on the allotment, and what Blueberry have the largerst berry.


Blueberries are not really suitable for dividing up a vegetable garden as it will be difficult to create the soil conditions needed, if the soil is not natural peat or very low pH 4.5 mineral soil.

'Bluecrop' is a good variety.

Blueberry Bush damaged by wind

, Longford Posted On: June 25, 2009

I think I may have lost a lovely blueberry bush, it may have been damaged by very windy weather in May. it was in full bloom, but alas now looks all shrivelled up. I have other b’berry plants also in containers and they look ok. I water with rain water.If I cut off the damaged parts would it recover?


When a plant collapses like that, it would be logical to suspect a root problem, or damage low down on the stem.

The root prblem could be a disease or vine weevil. Leave it be and see what happens. If it was wind damage to the stem, it might produce some new growth low down. But if nothing happens, it might be worth investigating the roots to see hwat happened.

Brown rotted roots means root rot and feeding on the roots might indicate vine weevil larval damage. 

blueberries and cranberries

Posted On: June 10, 2009

how can i make a bed suitable for the above?


Blueberries and cranberries are related to wild fraughan berries, all are bog plants, and like the conditions that heather on the hills like, namely boggy peaty soil, moist but draining and not drying out except for short periods. Cranberries need more moisture than high-bush blueberries.

They must have acidic soil with low pH 4.5 to 5.5. 

If you can supply natural conditions of drained peat bog or moist moorland, that is ideal, but very unlikely.

On acid soils, you can approximate to this by making a trench about 50cm deep and up to one metre wide and line it with polythene perforated for drainage and 5cm of stone at the bottom and backfiled. This will give moist but not waterlogged conditions.

On limy soil, the same trench can be dug out and filled with one part acid soil from Wicklow, Carlow, Wexford and other acid soil areas with blue hydrangeas and three parts lime-free compost or raw peat. Some Miraclegrow needs to be added to the latter at 40g per square metre.

More information at:






Planting blueberries in limey soil

Posted On: November 22, 2008

Thanks for your very prompt reply. …You say to plant in polythene lined trench 30cm deep. What diameter of hole if i am digging separate holes for my three plants…I have three holes dug already over 20inches diameter and well over 30 cm deep…. .Would Tippland Irish Mosspeat do on its own or would i need to add fertiliser. Someone told me that there is lime added to mosspeat that s sold in 200 litre bags? Thanks again for the advice so far!


For three plants, you should dig a trench at least two metres long, at least 60cm wide and 30cm deep. Pure peat has no lime, but no nutrients either and you need to add a complete fertilizer and feed regularly during the growing season. It would be better to mix about half the volume with acid soil. 



Planting blueberries

Posted On: November 20, 2008

You advise people in limey areas to plant bluberries in polythene lined trenches. Can you spell this out a bit more eg size width and depth and material to use. I have composted a lot of Leylandi clippings could i use this compost. Do i need to line the bottom of the trench as well as the sides. do i leave holes in bottom lining for drainage or would this allo w lime to seep in etc etc


Blueberries are a heathland plant and need acidic soil. They can be grown in limy soil only if the lime is kept away. You can do this by lining a trench of about 30cm deep with polythene to prevent limy water seeping in.

It does not need to be a complete seal because small amounts of water seeping in affect the soil very little. It does not need to be lined at the bottom because wate seeps downwards and limy water does not rise. In fact, the acidic soil on top tends to acidify the soil below.

Bluberries would be best with acid soil or peat but garden compost could be used, especially the very well-rotted breakdown of conifers. But it would be important to do a pH test on the compost before using. Cheap kits can be bought in a garden centre.