There’s lots to love about the Northland Blueberry. In addition to being a pretty landscaping specimen, Northland Blueberries are easy for beginners to grow and produce delicious crops of berries that even experienced farmers will appreciate. They’re well known for being able to withstand a cold winter. If you aren’t sure if blueberry bushes can survive the winters in your area, these blueberries are worth a try.
Learn more about the Northland Blueberry to see if one belongs in your garden!
History of the Northland Blueberry
The history of the Northland Blueberry has been lost over time. However, we do know that this highbush blueberry is native to the northeastern part of North America. Blueberries became a well-known commercial crop in the early years of the 1900’s thanks to a couple in New Jersey. Since then, the blueberry has been grown and sold by farmers across the nation.
Characteristics of the Northland Blueberry
The Northland Blueberry is so pretty that, fruit aside, it makes an exceptional ornamental bush. These shrubs grow to a maximum size of four feet tall, and approximately the same width, making them a wonderful choice for small gardens and even large containers for patios.
This cold-hardy shrub is compact, rounded, and puts on a show three seasons of the year. Beautiful bell-shaped white flowers will decorate your berry bush as it announces the start of spring. After the fruit season has passed, the green leaves turn gorgeous shades of gold, red, and purple during the fall.
It has excellent winter hardiness and produces medium- to large-sized sweet berries 1-2 years after being planted, meaning you won’t have to wait 3-4 years as with other blueberry varieties.
The Northland Blueberry needs 800-1000 chill hours.
Their ripening season is early- to mid-season and fruit is ready for harvesting in late Spring or early Summer.
Northland blueberries are known for their sweet taste. They’re preferred for jams, jellies, and sauces. You don’t have to use extra sweeteners with these blueberries.
A Northland blueberry is a medium or large size berry. You can fit 40-60 in a standard sized cup.
USDA Hardiness zones 3-7 are best for the Northland Blueberry.
Size and Spacing
This berry bush will grow to a mature size of four feet tall and up to four feet wide. They are a great option for container plants. When planting them outside, plant them close together with two feet between them to form an adorable hedge line. For berry bushes to grow separately, make sure that they have at least four feet in between them.
This wild blueberry variety is known for being self-pollinating. However, if you plant a cross-pollinating plant next to them, you can expect higher yields.
Blueberry Shrub Care
If blueberry bushes are not properly cared for, they will produce smaller berries and smaller overall yields. For an in depth guide of how to care for blueberries, check out this blueberry growing guide.
Although these blueberries do best in full sunlight, they will still produce a nice sized yield in partial sunlight, too. Plant them in a sunny area of the garden where they will receive at least 8 hours of sunlight per day.
Blueberry bushes require acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 or lower. If planted in alkaline soil (higher than 5.5) they’ll have poor (or possibly no) fruit yields, slow growth, and yellowy leaves. If the pH is above 5.5, you’ll need to add amendments to bring the pH back into the acidic range.
The soil should drain well and be moist, not soggy.
Making sure that plants have ample water without overwatering them is essential. If there is too much water and the soil becomes soggy, your blueberry could fall victim to root rot and other diseases.
Fertilizing your berry bushes is important for proper growth. Give them their first feeding in the spring before the leaves come in and then weekly during the ripening season. A fertilizer with nitrogen (one with urea or ammonium) is ideal. An easy trick is to use fertilizer for azaleas or rhododendrons — these have the same feeding requirements as blueberries.
Pruning away dead branches during late winter will allow space for new, fruit bearing branches to grow in. Read this guide to make sure that you’re pruning your berry bushes correctly.
Blueberry bushes can easily fall prey to common blueberry diseases, such as Leaf Rust and Twig Canker. Learn more about blueberry diseases so that you’re able to take preventive measures against disease and recognize symptoms if your blueberry should become infected.
Blueberries are heavenly and pests agree. Aphids, blueberry gall midges, thrips, scale, and cherry fruitworms (just to name a few) will happily make your bushes their new home. That’s besides the birds, deer, and rodents that also have a taste for blueberries. For information about how to identify, eliminate, and deter pests, read our blog post on the 9 common pests you’ll encounter with blueberries.
When to Harvest Northland Blueberries
Harvesting blueberries at the right time is key to getting the largest harvest. Make sure berries are fully formed, firm, round, and completely blue. This typically happens in late spring or early summer. Read our blueberry harvesting guide to make sure you aren’t picking your blueberries too early or too late.
Common Uses For Northland Blueberries
Northlands are known for their sweet taste, making them great for recipes that call for fresh or cooked blueberries.
What Does This Blueberry Taste Like?
The high natural sugar content makes Northlands taste sweeter than other blueberries.
Cooking these blueberries is a wonderful idea, especially if you’d like to make your own jam, jelly, sauce, or baked goods. But you can also use them in cooked savory dishes.
Sprinkle a few blueberries on top of your favorite cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or fruit salad.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
If you use another bush for cross-pollination, or plant a row of bushes to create hedges, you can easily wind up with more blueberries than you know what to do with. Preserving blueberries for future use is a great idea. Most people prefer to can them as preserves (jams or jellies).
Freezing them is another great preservation method. To do this, simply wash them, and give them plenty of time to air dry. Then, put them in freezer bags. Simply thaw them out when you need to use them.
Dehydrated blueberries tend to lose some of their sweetness but because Northlands are a sweeter blueberry, you’ll hardly notice!
Try some of these mouthwatering blueberry recipes:
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are packed with powerful vitamins and nutrients. From Vitamin C to antioxidants, your body is going to get plenty of good stuff from eating blueberries. Check out our blueberry nutrition guide to learn what makes blueberries an important part of a healthy diet. Our blog post on the benefits of blueberries is another resource to check out!
Where to Buy Northland Blueberry Plants
Northland Blueberry plants are extremely common, so you can find these berry bushes available at most online nurseries (such as Nature Hills Nursery).
Where to Buy Northland Blueberries
Although Northland Blueberries are common, you might not find them in chain grocery stores. Your best best is to look for them in farmers markets or to contact nearby farms to see if they grow Northlands.
Wrapping Up the Northland Blueberry
If you experience hard winters where you live, the Northland Blueberry might be perfect for you. Even if you have a smaller garden space, these blueberries are one of the more compact varieties and can even be grown in patio containers. Plant a couple Northland Blueberry shrubs this spring and in a year or two, you’ll enjoy buckets full of beautiful summer blueberries!
Are Northland Blueberries growing in your garden? If so, let us know about your experience in the comments section below! To learn about other blueberry varieties, click here for our blueberry blog posts.