Berries Production Guide

Blueberries
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Blueberry Management Schedule

This section was updated - 20 June 2012

The following is a general guide to blueberry management based upon plant and pest development. The suggested timing will vary according to blueberry variety, weather and location. The actions are for established plantings except where otherwise noted.


Timing Type of Action Action
JANUARY / FEBRUARY
Plants dormant
Plants Dormant
Plant Care
  • Prune beginning after leaf drop. Be sure to remove diseased and dead wood.
Disease Control
  • Apply copper oxychloride or Bordeaux mixture for bacterial blight. For mummy berry control, watch for development stage when leaf buds show 5 mm of green tissue. Also check for open mummyberry cups. Prepare to spray fungicide, as required. (February/March)
Insect Control
  • Check for scale and apply dormant oil and/or lime sulfur spray by mid-February (before bud break), if required. Also helps to control leafroller, spanworm, wintermoth eggs and larvae.
Weed Control
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides before weed growth starts.
Other
  • Ensure sprayers are tuned-up and calibrated.
MARCH
Buds start to swell
Buds start to swell
Plant Care
  • New plantings. Begin land preparation for spring plantings.
Disease Control
  • Continue to check growth of leaf buds and mummy berry cups. Apply fungicide to protect developing buds from mummy berry as necessary at critical growth stage. Apply Ridomil for root rot control, if required.
  • Apply copper oxychloride for bacterial blight, as necessary.
Soil Care
  • Seed grasses for permanent cover between rows when soil can be worked. Apply sawdust mulch to beds, if needed.
Weed Control
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides before weed growth starts if not applied earlier.
Food Safety
  • Ensure a food safety plan is in place including a record keeping system.
LATE MARCH TO LATE APRIL
Leaf and flower bud break
Leaf and flower bud break
Plant Care
  • Make first fertilizer application (mid April).
  • New plantings. Set out new plants as conditions permit (up to mid May).
Disease Control
  • Continue to apply fungicide for primary mummyberry control, as required.
  • Apply copper oxychloride for bacterial blight, if necessary. If not done earlier, apply Ridomil for root rot control, if required.
Insect Control
  • Apply recommended prebloom insecticides to control aphids and minimize spread of blueberry scorch virus. Start weekly checks of swelling blossom buds for hatching spanworm, winter moth (late March), and caterpillars blown to fields from outside areas. Apply controls as needed. Start weekly checks for leafrollers, looking at blossom clusters and rolled leaves.
Weed Control
  • Control weeds by cultivation and/or herbicides. Apply herbicides for quackgrass and other perennial weed control.
Other Pests
  • Watch for snails and slugs - control as required.
Soil Care
  • Seed grasses for permanent cover between rows if not done earlier. Apply sawdust mulch, if needed and not done earlier.
LATE APRIL/MAY
Blossoming
Blossoming
Blossoming
Plant Care
  • Place bee hives in field when 10% of blossoms are open. Protect hives from bears where necessary. Remove hives from fields when blossoming is over.
Disease Control
  • Monitor all fields for symptoms of blueberry scorch and blueberry shock. Watch for mummy berry infections on flowers and shoots and apply fungicides if needed. Apply fungicides for Botrytis blight and/or Anthracnose (fruit rots) if wet weather is anticipated.
Insect Control
  • Continue to watch for leafrollers and control as needed. Monitor for aphids. Control aphids after bloom is finished and bees have been removed from the field. Apply sprays only if predator numbers are low and aphids are increasing.
Weed Control
  • Cultivate for weed control in row middles or mow cover crop, as appropriate. Apply directed treatments of non-residual herbicides, if needed, observing days to harvest interval.
Soil Care
  • Watch for poorly drained areas in fields. Plan fall drainage improvements.
Food Safety
  • Test irrigation and spray water for E. coli and fecal coliforms. Order toilets, hand washing units and other sanitary supplies.
JUNE
Fruit development
Fruit Development
Plant Care
  • Make second fertilizer applications up to mid-June. Irrigate as necessary.
Disease Control
  • Apply fungicides for Botrytis (fruit rot) and Anthracnose (ripe rot) if weather is wet during the fruit development period. Monitor for root rot symptoms and mark affected areas. Apply Aliette if necessary.
Insect Control
  • Continue to watch for leafrollers and spanworms to late June, control as needed. Continue to monitor for aphids especially in scorch infected fields. Control as required.
    Prune out and destroy branches with tent caterpillars before end of June when caterpillars leave the nest.
Weed Control
  • Cultivate for weed control in row middles or mow cover crop, as appropriate. Apply directed treatments of non-residual herbicides, if needed. Observe pre-harvest intervals.
Other Pests
  • Prepare bird predation management plan. Install bird control devices or erect bird netting.
Soil Care
  • New plantings. Start to prepare land for new fall plantings.
Food Safety
  • Place portable toilets and hand washing units. Ensure workers are trained in good hygiene and harvesting practices.
JULY
Fruit development and ripening
Fruit development and ripening
Plant Care
  • Monitor soil moisture and irrigate as necessary.
Disease Control
  • Sample berries from each field and store at room temperature to assess fruit rot levels. Monitor for root rot symptoms and mark affected areas. Apply Aliette if necessary.
Insect Control
  • Continue to monitor insect pests, control only if needed. • Monitor for spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) and apply protective sprays after fruit ripens.
Other Pests
  • Install bird control devices, or erect bird netting if not done earlier.
JULY - SEPTEMBER
Harvesting
Harvesting
Plant Care
  • Harvest and market fruit. Collect plant tissue samples (mid July to mid August) for nutrient analysis. Irrigate as needed.
Disease Control
  • Continue to apply fungicides for Botrytis, Anthracnose, and other fruit rot diseases, if weather is wet. Observe days to harvest interval. Prune out branches killed by Godronia canker (red flagging) or bacterial blight and destroy.
Insect Control
  • Continue to apply protective sprays to control spotted wing Drosophila. Apply insecticides to control aphids and young scale if required. Observe pre- harvest intervals. Prune out and destroy branches with tent caterpillars (from mid July). Watch for scale "crawlers" from late July to August and control if needed.
Other Pests
  • Control birds following approved guidelines.
Soil Care
  • Continue to mow cover crop as needed.
  • New plantings. Install drainage, if needed. Monitor soil pH and adjust as necessary. Incorporate sawdust or compost in planting beds as required.
SEPTEMBER
Post harvest growth
Plant Care
  • Irrigate as necessary.
Disease Control
  • Apply copper spray for bacterial blight before fall rains start. Prune out diseased wood.
Insect Control
  • Prune out and destroy caterpillar tents before mid September when caterpillars drop to the ground for the winter.
Other Pests
  • Remove bird control devices and netting after harvest.
Soil Care
  • Take soil samples for analysis, if needed. Check pH of soil. Apply calcium and magnesium in form of dolomite or sulphur if required. Subsoil between rows when soil is dry, if necessary. Seed grasses for permanent cover between rows.
  • New plantings. Install drainage, if required and not done earlier.
OCTOBER
Post harvest growth
Plant Care
  • Continue to prune out and remove diseased wood.
  • New plantings. Set out new plants. Best time to plant container stock in coastal areas.
Disease Control
  • Apply copper spray or Bordeaux Mixture for bacterial blight (total 2 sprays in fall).
Other Pests
  • Check for field mice activity and apply bait, if required.
Soil Care
  • Check pH of soil and apply lime or sulfur, if required. Subsoil between rows when soil is dry, if necessary. Install or improve drainage, as required. Mow cover crop, if required.
Weed Control
  • Monitor weeds. Apply herbicides for grass control, according to label directions.
Other
  • Flush irrigation systems and sprayers to protect against winter damage.
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER
Plants dormant
Plant Care
  • Apply sawdust mulch, if necessary. Order bees for the coming season.
Weed Control
  • Apply Roundup for grass control if not done earlier.
Other Pests
  • Watch for field mice activity and apply bait if needed.
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