The Low Bush Blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium
The Low Bush Blueberry is the Vaccinium angustifolium, a deciduous shrub. The wild low bush blueberry is also known as the Nova Scotian Provincial Blueberry. It's found growing in the wild in the northeastern United States and Central and Eastern Canada. Commercial growers manage the wild Low Bush Blueberry and harvest it in Maine, Massachusetts, and Canada. The commercial harvest has been known to reach over 100 millions of pounds in Canada alone.
Low Bush Blueberry rhizomes have been known to lay dormant for up to 100 years. It is a low spreading shrub that reaches heights up to just under 24 inches. The shrub's leaves are glossy green and elliptical. Those same leaves turn various shades of red in autumn. The Low Bush Blueberry requires a two-year cultivation plan for harvesting. The first year the plant produces buds in the fall. The following year, the plant blossoms and then produce berries. That fruit producing year, the plant field is often burned or cut to the ground to encourage a repeat of the two-year cycle.
The Low Bush Blueberry is pollinated by bees, usually a combination of both honeybees and bumblebees to encourage the pollination of more plants. Commercial growers rent as many as 8 beehives to pollinate each acre for two weeks. This allows the bees enough time to fertilize all the blueberry shrubs.
Homegrown Low Bush Blueberries require 6 hours of direct sunlight. Use acidic soil with a pH meter of 3.5 to 5.0 that is well drained. Transplant 2 to 3-year-old bare root shrubs in the early spring. Plant the shrubs about 18 to 24 inches deep in rows with each plant spaced about 1to 3 feet apart and about 3 to 4 feet in between the rows. When the berries begin to show cover them with a bird net to protect them from being eaten. Harvest them from August to late September. A mature Low Bush Blueberry plant will yield as much as five to ten pounds of blueberries.