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Cranberry ‘Ben Lear’

Grow Your Own Fresh Fruit!

High Bush Cranberry ‘Ben Lear’s burgundy-red color, early fruiting period and large size is prized for processing into sauces. ‘Ben Lear’ is very productive. It is a wild clone from Wisconsin.

The American Cranberry is one of the native fruit plants in the United States. The fruits of the plant have been consumed for many years by Americans due to its unique flavor and high vitamin content. Cranberries are one of the healthiest sources for getting your vitamin C and protecting your body against urinary track infections. More studies are showing other beneficial effects because of their high antioxidant content. Each cup of these little red and tart berries are easy to grow, becoming popular as a health food choice, and render a unique addition to the home garden.

The cranberry is a groundcover plant with two types of growth habits; runners (rhizomes) trail and spread the plant as long as two feet in one season. Uprights are born on the runners and bear the flowers and fruit. The goal is to get the numerous runners to spread quickly in the first two years to cover the ground, and then to produce strong uprights (up to 200 per sq. foot) to produce flowers and fruit. The plant has a fine root system that only grows in the upper 4 to 6 inches of the soil.

Availability

# Description Qty per Unit Units Available Price/Unit
Ben Lear-1
Ben Lear-2

Plant Details +

Size #1
Height 8-10"
Spacing 2-3'
Hardiness Zones 4-8
Exposure Full sun to shade
Foliage Very small green leaves
Fruit Burgundy-red
Harvest Ben Lear ripens early season. Harvest berries by hand when red, from late September to late October. Berries cannot stand a frost below 30°F so it is best to pick them before a hard frost or protect them with covers. One 5ft X 5ft bed may yield up to 5 lbs of fruit in the third and forth year of production.

General Information +

Botanical: Vaccinium macrocarpon 'Ben Lear'

General Characteristics: Grow in the fruit or vegetable garden for the food crop. Ornamentally, may be grown as a small scale ground cover for sunny areas or in the shrub or mixed border in front of other acid-loving plants such as azaleas and rhododendrons. The commercially grown cranberry is a low-growing vine which is grown in wet bogs that periodically can be flooded to provide winter protection, control weeds and pests, and facilitate harvesting of the crop. Pruning: In the third year of the cranberry plant's life, prune the runners and the older uprights as needed in the spring before growth begins; this will ensure coverage of healthy uprights and minimize the long runners.

Planting/Care Instructions +

Pests or Diseases: Cranberries are typically subject to chlorosis problems if soil pH is too high.

Planting Instructions: Cranberries can be planted in the fall through October and early November or in the spring between April 15th to May 31st. Water the cranberry plants like you would other garden plants. It is a common myth that cranberries need to be in very saturated conditions. Peatmoss does need to be moist to the touch, but not saturated. Best grown in damp, acidic (pH 4.0-5.2), organically rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Plant 2' apart. Self-pollinating. If you want a large plot, then follow the instructions below. If you want a specimen plant in a single location, give each plant about a 2 foot by 2 foot spacing and still follow the directions for prepping the soil. Either way, you will be able to get a plant to spread into the area you want to have it grow. Sandy Soils - If your soil is already sandy remove topsoil down 8 inches, add a 6 mil plastic liner, poke plenty of holes in the plastic, and add 4 bales (3.8 cu.ft) of peat moss for every 50 square feet. Mix in bone meal (1/2 lb), rock phosphate (1 lb) and bloodmeal (1 lb) for every 50 sq. ft. Wet peatmoss with garden hose, or wait until natural rain moistens the peat. Wetting the peatmoss will be hard. Be patient and add water in a mist, slowly. Mix the peat often to help absorb water. Clay or Silt Soils - If your soil is clay or silty, dig out a garden area 8 inches deep, directly add the peat without the plastic liner. Follow directions as above for adding peatmoss, fertilizer and water. Space one year plugs 1 ft x 1 ft, or closer, with root ball two inches below surface. Four inch pots can be spaced 2 ft by 2 ft, and six inch pots 3 ft x 3 ft. Be sure to protect your plants in during frost and winter seasons. You can achive this by mulching the plants with pine needles or leaves in late November (this will protect against the drying effect that winter brings).