Cranberry bushes are a classic shrub that people have been cultivating for decades. Even the first settlers of America enjoyed cultivating cranberries for recipes. Cranberries were served at Thanksgiving as well as high class dinner parties. In today’s society cranberries are readily available at cheap prices all year. We’ve also gotten the secrets to growing your own cranberries at home down to a few easy steps.
Cranberry shrubs grow best in full sunlight. They tolerate partial shade, but need at least six hours of sunlight a day for an abundance of berries. If your plants are planted in an area that receives partial shade make sure that it has sunlight in the morning and afternoon shade. Morning sun will be more beneficial than afternoon sun. For a hedge plant your Cranberry shrubs about three feet apart.
Once you know where you’d like to plant your Cranberry Shrubs dig a hole that’s three times wider than the pot, and no deeper than it. Take a pitch fork or shovel and run it along the sides of the hole to loosen the soil. Next remove any debris like dirt clumps, rocks, or grass from the hole. Remove your plant from its plastic pot and place it in the hole. Make sure that the plant is level with the ground, and standing straight up. Then back fill your hole and water your plant thoroughly.
Your Cranberry shrubs will need about an inch of water a week. Keep the soil moist, but not over saturated. Check on your soil once a week, if it feels like it’s close to drying out give your plants more water. Cranberries don’t like over saturated soil. Even though large cranberry growers flood their fields when it’s harvest time your cranberries at home don’t want to sit in standing water, or in areas that are prone to flooding.
Cranberry bushes should be fertilized once a year with a well-balanced, all-purpose fertilizer like formula 10-10-10. It’s best to fertilize in the early spring before new growth starts to appear.
Prune your Cranberry bushes in the late winter or early spring. Prune broken, dead, or damaged branches. Also, prune unproductive cranberry canes back to the base, so new canes will grow. You may also prune your shrubs to maintain their shape. It’s common for cranberry bushes to be used as hedges or accent pieces.
Keep an eye on your plants, signs of diseases will be clear. Unproductive canes, spotted wood, or spotted leaves are indicators that cranberry bushes have developed a fungus or infection. Remove infected parts of the plant and spray it with an organic pesticide.
Check your fruit and branches for signs of bugs like moth larvae. Discolored fruit, fruit that had entry and exit holes, and webs indicate that your plant may have some sort of bug. Remove the rotting fruit and spray your tree with an organic pesticide.
Most Cranberry shrubs are self-fertile. However, if you have multiple bushes for insects to cross pollinate the fruit yield is often much higher. With more blooms for natural pollinators like bees and the wind to get to, more pollen will be spread.