O’Neal Southern Highbush Blueberry
O’Neal Southern Highbush Blueberry is perhaps the earliest ripening of any southern highbush blueberry and often touted as the tastiest too! The berries are large, firm and incredibly juicy and sweet. The plants are upright, vigorous and have a gorgeous grey tint to the foliage. Very heat tolerant and somewhat drought tolerant, though all blueberries in our dry summers will need supplemental water. Only hardy to about 5°F so should not be planted outside USDA Zone 7.
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Latin Name: Vaccinium ‘O’Neal’
Site and Soil: Blueberries like 1/2 day to full sun and well-drained, acidic soil.
Pollination Requirements: Partially self-fertile. Plant another Southern Highbush variety for cross pollination.
Hardiness: Hardy to about 5° F.
Bearing Age: 1-2 years after planting
Size at Maturity: 5′ high and wide
Bloom Time: March-April
Ripening Time: June-July
Fruit Size: Large
Care: Blueberries prefer acidic soil (pH 4.5-5.5). Fertilize in early spring with a granular or liquid acid fertilizer. In late winter prune out any dead branches. After harvest, prune non fruit-bearing branches, leaving new branches to fruit the following season.
Yield: 15-20 lbs.
Pests & Diseases: Blueberries are not bothered by significant pest or disease problems. Scare birds away with Mylar Flash Tape or deter them by covering your plants with netting.
USDA Zone: 7-9