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Where does blueberry grow? This question can have a double meaning. The word "where" in relation to a plant may mean the habitat or natural conditions of growth. Consider both of these concepts.
Blueberry and its habitat
This plant has many names. In different regions it is called:
- water drink,
- stuffed cabbage
- a fool.
- drunk berry
- a drunk
- blue grapes
- northern grapes
All this variety of names reflects the two most noticeable signs of this plant. It is color and the ability to produce good wine. The berries of this plant are colored blue, but have a blue coating on top. For this reason, the most popular name is blueberry. This plant is called grape for the property of its berries - to give good wine. In fact, blueberry wine is no worse, and perhaps better than grape, just no one has decided to produce it on an industrial scale so far.
Blueberry is a small shrub belonging to the genus vaccinium of the heather family. Its range covers all of Eurasia and most of North America. The species is concentrated mainly in the zone of coniferous and mixed forests, as well as in the tundra and forest-tundra.
In addition to the mainland of Eurasia, this species grows in Iceland, the British Isles, and the northern islands of Japan. Occasionally, this species is found in the Balkans, on the Iberian Peninsula, and even in North Africa.
In North America, the berry grows under the same conditions as in Eurasia. Its range covers most of the mainland from Alaska to California.
In Russia, blueberries are found mainly in Siberia, the Far East, and the north of the European part of Russia. In addition to the continuous range, fragmentary islets are also characteristic of blueberries. A striking example of this is the growth of blueberries in the Caucasus.
How to grow blueberries
Natural conditions and plant communities
Blueberries are an interesting plant in every way. You can meet her:
- in the swamps;
- on a high plateau;
- along river banks;
- on permafrost among larch trees;
- in the tundra lowland communities;
- at the edges of spruce, pine and larch forests.
Involuntarily wondering what kind of vegetation this shrub can belong to. Is it a forest, swamp, mountain or tundra species?
The place where this species is most often found is usually characterized by excessive moisture, prolonged winters, hot but short summers. And sometimes what the blueberry grows on cannot be called soil. This is soil represented by thick mossy cushions, a small layer of poor soil and permafrost.
In the mountains, blueberries can be content with a thin layer of soil (about 10 cm) on the stones. In the bends of taiga and tundra rivers, this plant can form continuous thickets on waterlogged sand, a layer of moss, and marsh sedge hummocks.
Blueberries can tolerate temporary flooding, the cold breath of permafrost, the heat and drought of a short but stormy summer.
A high level of tolerance allows this plant to be attributed to the tundra species. Indeed, in the forest and on the tops of the mountains, this northern grape is huddled where conditions typical for tundra communities are formed. You can hardly find it on well-warmed gentle mountain slopes and on plains with good soil conditions. However, this does not mean that gonobel does not accept comfort. Like many tolerant species, this plant is nestled where others cannot grow, but plant it in normal soil and it will respond with good growth and abundant harvest.
Blueberries in culture
Recently, blueberries are usually grown in personal plots. Whole blueberry plantations are formed in Europe and North America. In Russia, farmers pay little attention to this plant. Perhaps this is due to folk traditions walking on the berry into the forest. What grows in the nearby forests is not cultivated in cultural conditions. Nevertheless, blueberry seedlings appear in stores and markets, which are mostly bought by the townspeople.
Breeders are working on breeding varieties. In the cultural forms of gonobel, it is possible to combine unpretentiousness, endurance, resistance to pests and diseases with increased productivity and large berries.
Soil for blueberries requires specific. Under natural conditions, this plant manages to exist on very acidic soils. The place where blueberries form whole thickets often has a PH of soil on the verge of permissible - 2.5-3. In cultural conditions, the soil under blueberries sometimes needs to be specially acidified, bringing the PH to 4-5.
Another feature of blueberries is its exactingness to moisture. The paradox is that small leathery leaves are usually characteristic of drought tolerant plants.
The fact is that species living in cold water often cannot be absorbed by its roots. In this case, evaporation always occurs. For this reason, plants in cold places adapt to extreme environments according to the principle of cacti. They reduce the leaf blade and cover it with a dense skin. As a result, evaporation decreases, and the plant can live in cold water, catching rare moments when the water warms up to a physiologically acceptable temperature. Our trees, pines and other coniferous inhabitants of an extreme environment live by the same principle.
Despite the fact that under artificial conditions, blueberries can create a completely comfortable temperature regime, you still need to choose a wet place for planting it. Plant gonobelob bushes somewhere in a lowland where groundwater lies at a depth of 50-60 cm.
It should be remembered that blueberries have a surface root system, due to which it can take moisture and minerals not only from the soil, but also from the loose layer of organic matter that forms on the soil. Due to this property, the gonobel can safely grow and bear fruit in conditions of a practical lack of soil, rooted in a thick layer of dying and even living moss.
To create favorable conditions between the blueberry bushes, you need to lay a thick layer of mulch, consisting of a mixture of sawdust and leaves. Ideally, of course, you need to add moss, but creating conditions for its growth in agrocenosis is difficult.
A thick layer of organic matter on the soil will not only allow you to create the optimal moisture regime, but will also maintain the desired level of PH. The acidity of the soil depends on the amount of hydrogen ions that enter it mainly with decomposing organic matter. In this case, the soil does not have to be specially acidified.
Blueberries, like many inhabitants of cold swamps and forests, survive due to mycorrhiza, that is, symbiosis with mushrooms. This is often a difficult obstacle to cultivating a plant.
Myths of fungi develop in the soil, where it is always moist and a lot of decaying organic matter. If you decide to plant blueberries where the earth has been dug up for many years, and organics have been constantly seized, then there is no place for mushrooms to come from. There is only one way out - to bring disputes with the earth from those places where the natural conditions for the formation of forest soil with hyphae of mushrooms have been preserved.
Blueberry garden: description and cultivation
Locate somewhere in the forest a site with a constant high level of humidity, but without the effect of bogging. A layer of litter should be formed on this soil, which is a perennial layer of fallen organic matter. As a rule, the entire litter is permeated with fungal hyphae. Dig a layer of soil with a depth of 15-20 centimeters with litter and transfer it to the place of planting of blueberries. In order to populate the mushrooms in the blueberry plantation, it is enough to bring a small cube about 20 x 20 cm in size. If you create favorable conditions for the mushrooms, then your blueberries will appreciate the comfortable conditions, thanking you with a good harvest.