Saturday, March 25, 2017

Transplanting Blueberry Bushes

New blueberry bushes planted last year.
Last spring I bought two blueberry bushes, a Northsky and a Chandler. I planted them in medium sized pots so they could grow right on my cabin deck. That way I could provide them with consistent watering during the summer months.


Cutting mill felt for better drainage.
My experiment was a huge success. By the end of the summer, the plants had more than doubled in size. They would probably last in their pots for one more year, but I decided to transplant them while they were small enough to handle easily.

Rocks to support the mill felt.
Fall is a good time for transplanting blueberries. The plants and their root systems are dormant. They will have the winter to rest and in spring the new growth with start enjoying it’s new larger surroundings.

To make inexpensive larger pots, I asked Wayne to cut two 45-gallon plastic barrels in half. I used the top halves with the fluted edge because that part was more decorative. I then painted the pots dark green on the outside to match our cabin’s trim. Click here to see how I did it.


Mill felt is porous to allow for better drainage.
Wayne drilled holes in the bottom of the barrel for drainage. Blueberries like moist, but well drained soil.

They also like acidic soil with a pH of 5.0, a topping of organic matter, and lots of sunshine.


Soil and peat came next.
To ensure that drainage worked well, I placed several rocks in the bottom to support a round of mill felt (a stiff fiberglass cloth) above the bottom of the barrel. Water will drain through the soil, through the mill felt, through the air space at the bottom, and then out through the holes.

The blueberry bushes went into their new pots.
I filled the bottom with soil and peat moss so to raise the root ball level with the surface. I then carefully removed the blueberry plants from their old pots and placed them on the soil of their new pots. That sounds easy, but even after one year the root balls were quite large and impacted.

A lot of the smaller root hairs fell away with some of the soil. They will get replaced in the spring when the new growth begins.

The blueberry bushes in their new larger pots.

Finally I filled in the edges of the pots with more soil and peat moss.

Spring buds on the Northsky plant.
I pruned my blueberry bushes before spring arrived to remove old dead branches.

Check back later to see how this season progresses. Hopefully with all this attention, I’ll get a good crop of berries this coming summer.

Do you grow blueberries? What has been your experience? -- Margy

12 comments:

  1. You're going to enjoy these!!!!

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    1. They have lots of buds so I sure hope so. - Margy

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  2. I planted a Misty blueberry this week, to join my other two blueberry bushes. I give them coffee grounds and sulfur for more acidic soil.

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    1. Thanks for the tip. I always have plenty coffee grounds. - Margy

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  3. Wow, Margy, you never cease to amaze me with all that you know, and all that you do.
    K

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    1. I just keep experimenting. So glad about your new pup. - Margy

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  4. I just bought 2 blueberry plants. I hope they do as well as yours!

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    1. I didn't do anything special and they really grew even in the first year. - Margy

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  5. Very good Margy. We have several planted Blueberry bushes and we moved them last Fall and now they are looking much better---new buds all over. Deer love the new shoots and birds love the berries.
    MB

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    1. I love the berries too, so I hope our birds don't discover them. - Margy

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  6. not lake, but when I was in Windsor Ontario, even in Winter, I would sit in the park, and look at blocks of ice floating down Detroit river.

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    1. We don't get blocks of ice, fortunately. I bet that can get dangerous. - Margy

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