The blueberry is a very long-lived woody shrub that can reach 4 meters in height. Its root system is shallow but very complex, developing underground a large number of creeping and fibrous roots. Unlike many other plants, blueberry roots do not have root hairs. Its leaves are deciduous, alternate simple and bright green. These leaves are attached to the twigs by short petioles, where the flowers will appear. These are hermaphrodites and are grouped in dense clusters. They measure approximately 8mm and are white or pink in color. The fruit or blueberry is a spherical peduncular band of reddish color that turns bluish black when ripe. Its skin is resistant and its juicy pulp and characteristic aroma.
In Spain, approximately 3,700 hectares of blueberries are cultivated, which produce about 43,500 tons per year. Almost the majority of the blueberry crop is developed in the Huelva area, with some 3,000 cultivated hectares. The remaining hectares are cultivated in the northern part of Spain, such as Asturias, Cantabria and Galicia.
The blueberry is a crop that needs acidic soils to grow properly, with an ideal pH of 4 to 5.5. It prefers very fertile and humid soils with very little lime.
As long as they have good lighting they will adapt well to different climates. During the winter they can resist temperatures down to -30ºC, although the flowers do not endure temperatures below -5ºC. During the summer they will need temperatures lower than 28ºC, because the high temperatures do not allow a good development of the fruit.
As they have a very superficial root system, blueberries need irrigation according to the type of soil to facilitate the presence of water on the surface and its absorption by the roots. In sandy soils, the frequency of irrigation should be increased and the duration decreased. On the other hand, in loamy soils the irrigations can be longer and allow more time to pass between irrigations.
In Spain, American blueberry varieties such as Earliblue, Berkeleand, Bluecrop, Spartan and Patriot are mainly grown. The European variety of blueberry is not usually cultivated, because its fruit is much smaller than the American one.
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