What makes for a deliciously sweet berry? A year long labor of love from the farmer!
Eliminate noxious perennial weeds such as bermudagrass, johnsongrass, morningglory, bindweed, honeysuckle, greenbriar, and brambles by cultivation and systemic herbicides before planting. Current herbicide recommendations may be obtained from your county Extension office.
Clean cultivation can be used, but care maggot farming business plan be taken to avoid injury to the very shallow root systems of these plants.
Use of sod strips between rows, with maintenance of a weed-free strip 3 to 4 feet wide on row centers, is preferable. A thick layer of organic mulch can help control weeds, conserve moisture, maintain proper soil acidity, reduce soil temperature variation, and supply organic matter to the soil.
Apply 3 to 6 inches of well-rotted sawdust, woodchips, pine straw, or other organic materials during the fall of the year of planting; a mixture of sawdust and woodchips works well, because the chips help prevent wind erosion and allow for better water movement through the sawdust.
Other organic materials such as finely ground pine bark, peanut hulls, or pine straw may also be used. The response of highbush cultivars to soil mulching is dramatic, with mulched plants typically giving two to three times the yield of unmulched plants.
The response of rabbiteye cultivars is not as great, and mulches are commonly not used in commercial plantings. Add 2 inches of mulch each year to compensate for decomposition of previously applied material.
Chemical weed control practices are available, and details may be obtained from your county Extension office. Mulching may, as noted for sod culture, conflict with the use of cultivation for control of certain disease and insect pests.
It is essential that a weed-free strip be maintained in the rows to ensure that weeds do not compete with the blueberry plants.
This is best accomplished by appropriately timed applications of preemergence and postemergence herbicides. Hand hoeing and shallow mechanical cultivation may also be used in some instances. The proper time to apply preemergence herbicides to kill weed seedlings as they emerge in blueberry fields is September 1 to October 1 for winter weeds and February 15 to March 30 for summer weeds.
Application of contact and systemic translocated postemergence herbicides may be required to control some difficult weed species. The following suggestions should give acceptable results under usual circumstances.
They are presented as guidelines from which producers may make necessary changes to fit local conditions.
Blueberry plants are very sensitive to readily soluble fertilizers, and excessive amounts can cause plant injury or death. Higher than recommended rates can be damaging, causing pale yellow chlorosis of leaves and low vigor, particularly where too little water is applied.
Do not concentrate fertilizer in a small area around plants and do not use the nitrate forms of nitrogen. A fertilizer plan has been developed for Alabama that uses a complete fertilizer Table 5.
This fertilizer contains 34 percent of the nitrogen N as slow release, sulfur-coated urea or formaldehyde and 66 percent as ammonium sulfate. In addition to the specific program, generalized fertilization guidelines are given below. First year in the field. Apply about pounds of or a similar nursery or turf fertilizer that contains a slow release nitrogen source as a split application.New applicants to organic farming must be able to demonstrate in the Business Plan that a minimum level of 15 Income Units from organic farming can be reached within the five-year period of the contract.
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