Is there any way I can plant blue berries without having rows be 8 feet apart? Can I plant them more in a block of some kind? How far from a fence should they be. I have 10 high bush plants. I would need spacing for between the plants, and the rows. Also, can they handle a bit of shade in the afternoon? Thanks.
Polk County Oregon
Blueberries can be planted in a block if that works for you. Typically plants are spaced 3-4 feet apart in rows. The spacing between rows is determined by the size of the equipment that would be used in the planting. That is typically mowing between the rows and applying pesticides if needed. 8 to 10 ft is common. Any closer and the plants will spread into the rows so much that equipment cannot get down the rows without damaging the plants. This is especially true near and during harvest when fruit weight loads the branches down. However, for a noncommercial planting on a relatively small scale, the plants could be planted 4-8 ft apart in a block and the entire floor mulched to avoid the need for grass and mowing. The real issue doing this will be the ability to walk around the bushes and sunlight penetration to the lower parts of the bush. At maturity, plants can be 4 or 5 ft tall and easily spread that far. When planted in rows, it doesn't matter if plants grow together as you can walk along the sides and reach in to harvest. But if you plant your plants 4 ft apart in all directions you won't have rows to walk down and eventually the entire area would be a solid blueberry planting, very difficult to harvest, prune, etc. For a planting of 10 plants, I would plant two rows of 5. Put 3-4 ft between plants and 6-8 ft between the rows. Or depending on the space available, you could plant them 6 ft apart in all directions.
Same consideration on distance from a fence. The plants will spread 4 or more feet in all directions so you need space along the fence to walk to harvest and prune. So they should be at leas 4 ft from the fence, preferably 6 ft.
And yes, blueberries can handle a bit of shade in the afternoons.