Agronomy Advice
June 09, 2021

How to manage blueberry fertigation

By: Giz Gaskin

Blueberry nutrition and fertigation is very much a consequence of the rooting system and pH range. Blueberries are more acid-loving than most soft fruits and also have a less efficient root system which has consequences for fertigation recommendations.

How to manage blueberry fertigation
How to manage blueberry fertigation

Blueberry roots remember are fine and fibrous, meaning uptake is slower, compared to more vigorous rooting systems like strawberry and raspberry. The blueberry plant can take up as much N as other plants as they have a much larger root mass overall. Blueberry struggles to take on immoveable nutrients like Calcium, due to the pH range.

Ammonium nitrate is the preferred nitrogen source

The blueberry plant is more acid-loving than most of the soft fruits, enjoying pH as low as 4.5 to 5.5. Ammonium nitrate is the preferred nitrogen source since this lowers the soil pH through nitrification, to the benefit of the blueberry. The blueberry plant prefers ammonium as it binds to the soil and does not leach through as nitrate would. Calcium nitrate is not recommended for blueberries, Calcium is detrimental as it raises the pH range and causes problems with the brittleness of the peduncle. This leads to blueberries dropping fruits early if disturbed, where normally a less brittle peduncle, can retain the berry in high winds or other disturbing situations.

For young and small plants the focus should be to push vegetative growth forwards with a balance of ammonium and nitrate N complimented with P&K plus micronutrients to nurture the plants and develop robust root systems.  Typically YaraTera Kristalon Lilac (20-8-8 + micronutrients ) would be recommended for young plants often using a single tank system. Newer plants may stay on the single tank system for 3-4 years before moving to the two-tank system, although some newer specialist varieties may make the switch in 1-2 years.

For more mature plants the focus is on a heavier feed programme to support fruit production and flowering habit. This requires a more balanced nutrition so typically a two-tank system with YaraTera Amnitra L (18-0-0) in Tank A and  YaraTera Kristalon Brown (3-11-38 + micronutrients ) or YaraTera Kristalon Scarlet (7.5-12-36+ micronutrients ) for medium flower situations.

Check out our blueberry fertigation programme


Fruit agronomy advice

Blueberry fertigation and nutrition advice
Blueberry fertigation and nutrition advice

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