Growing juicy, bright, delicious berries isn’t hard at all! Learn how to grow berry bushes in Bettendorf.
Growing juicy, bright, delicious berries isn’t hard at all! Berries are incredibly healthy and tasty fruits, and they are a beautiful addition to your garden. With a bit of care, you can enjoy the benefits of berries year after year. If you’ve been considering adding berry plants to your outdoor space, read our guide on growing the best berries imaginable.
What Berries Grow in Bettendorf Iowa?
In Bettendorf’s climate, we can grow plenty of varieties of berries. You will likely find the most success with berry bushes like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. If you’re looking for something a little less traditional, you could look into growing types of gooseberries, and even some types of grapes.
Berry Growing 101
When it comes to growing berries, there are a few things to keep in mind. As with any plant, you should first check to see if your yard will get enough light for sun-loving berry bushes. You should also do a soil check to make sure your soil is acidic enough for berries to grow. Most berry bushes require proper pruning to keep them growing, so make sure you stay on schedule with your pruning tasks.
How to Grow Blueberries
Packed with nutrients, antioxidants, blueberries are a worthy investment. If you’re planting blueberries on your property, you’re in it for the long haul! Blueberry bushes are a long-term investment, but they’re well worth it. Blueberry bushes take 2-3 years to get established and between 8-10 years to be fully matured. But you can still enjoy their fruit and beauty along the way! For the first two years, you’ll need to remove their flowers which will enable the plant to stay healthy and strong.
Blueberries need acidic soil.
Testing the pH level in your soil is a great place to begin when it comes to planting blueberries. You’re looking for a level of 4.0-5.5, which is quite acidic. Growing blueberries in Iowa can be a bit of a challenge due to our alkaline soil, so we recommend adding some Canadian peat and soil acidifier to your shopping list. Mix this peat in with your existing soil so your juicy new friends can get the pH they need for a delicious harvest. Without the proper acidity levels, your blueberry will grow slowly, have discolored leaves, or may not survive. Yikes. We also recommend adding a berry-boosting fertilizer to help.
Plant at least two blueberry bushes.
One can be the loneliest number, but not always. Most varieties of blueberry are self-pollinators, but with others, you’ll need to plant at least two different blueberry bushes to help with the cross-pollination process. Aim to plant blueberry bushes within 100 feet of each other.
Prune blueberries in early spring.
As we mentioned, blueberries take time and patience. Pruning off flowers for the first two years will help speed up the growing process, and help have a healthy plant. For general pruning, wait until early spring of the third year of the blueberry bushes’ life. That’s when you can prune back some of the unwieldy side canes. You want branches to be strong in order to have larger fruit, so be sure not to over-prune.
How to Grow Blackberries
Growing blackberries is easy, and you’ll have an amazing harvest. You may have to pick berries every few days! There are three main types of blackberries you can grow: erect thorny blackberries, erect thornless blackberries, and trailing thornless blackberries. Now that you’ve stopped giggling, we can tell you the differences between them. The erect types of blackberries can support themselves, where the trailing ones will need to be supported with trellises. Knowing this can help you pick out what type of blackberries would suit your space best.
Where to plant blackberries.
Blackberries do well in full-sun locations. Depending on how many and what kind of blackberries you are planting, you’ll need to space them out appropriately. The trailing varieties should be 5-8 feet apart, and the erect cultivars should be 3 feet apart. Blackberries can be planted shallowly, only about an inch deeper than how they were in the nursery pot. Another tip: if you have wild blackberries growing on or near your property, keep them far away from your blackberries: wild plants can carry and spread pests and disease.
Blackberries love water.
Blackberries are thirsty plants. Don’t let them dry out too much. You can use a mulching system to help regulate the water distribution to the plant. One inch of water per week, plus more during hotter times, should keep the blackberries happy.
Blackberry pruning is key.
One of the most important parts of blackberry bush care is to prune them properly. There are a few methods of pruning, but the most important thing to remember is this: Prune back “canes” that have already bore fruit. New canes can take their place and produce fruit next. The old canes will not give you more fruit, so they need to be cut from the team.
How to Grow Raspberries
Raspberries are a great berry bush for small spaces. There are two main varieties: summer-fruiting or everbearing (or fall-bearing). The everbearing varieties will give you two crops, one in fall and summer. If you wanted the best harvest possible, you could have both kinds for a constant stream of berry goodness! Raspberries are a favorite pollination station for bees. They are similar to blackberries in that proper pruning is key to a great harvest.
Where and when to plant raspberries.
A sunny spot in your yard is best for growing raspberries, but raspberries are special in that they can also manage in a partly-shaded area. Keep in mind: more sun = more fruit! Plant raspberries in spring after the last frost date.
How to plant raspberries.
Before putting raspberry plants into the ground, dig a wide hole to plant one raspberry bush so it can spread, or if you’re planting multiple, you can dig a trench.
The pruning process for raspberries.
Raspberries need annual pruning. The branches (canes) that bear fruit will only live for two summers. The first year, it will be green cane, and the second year it will become what is known as floricane, which is what actually grows the fruit; after the year it bears fruit, it will be cut away to make room for new growth. Prune your summer-bearing raspberries immediately after you pick their fruit. Raspberry canes can be spaced 18 inches apart, with four feet between rows.
How to Grow Strawberries
Tried, true, and always delicious, strawberries are beloved across America. All they need is a good, sunny spot. The three varieties of strawberries are June-bearing, everbearing, and day-neutral. The June-bearing variety will produce all of its fruit at once, over about three weeks. Everbearing varieties will have a large crop in spring, a few berries in summer, and then another big harvest in late summer. Day-neutrals will produce fruit throughout the season until the first frost hits.
How to plant strawberries.
Strawberries are not too picky about their soil, but they do need 6-8 hours of sunlight every day. Make sure the leaves, flowers, and fruit all have access to sunlight. You don’t want to cover up the crown of the plant with mulch or anything else. Mulch around the base of your strawberry plants to help with moisture and to prevent weeds from overpowering them. Give your strawberries a good, deep watering when you plant them to give them a head start.
Pruning and maintenance for strawberries.
In the first year of their life, strawberry plants should not be allowed to produce fruit. The first year should be dedicated to growing ample root systems so you can have a plentiful harvest year after year. When you see a flower growing on your strawberry plant, pick it before it becomes fruit! After the first year, you can let it grow fruit, and your job then is to keep it well-watered and weeded!
We hope this guide can help your summer be filled with delicious berries or dreams of a bountiful harvest next year. If you’re looking for berry bushes for sale in Bettendorf, or have any questions, please come visit us! We’re always here for you.