Pepper
Full Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2008 5:27 pm
Location: NW Florida

Blueberries

Great time of year here in Florida. The wild blueberries are making early down by the river (blackberries too) and my 9 year old comes home with blue stains on his hands and face every day from his scavenging adventures...........but I digress.

The season upland will be in full swing thru June. We have access to a large piece of property, soon to be developed which has hundreds of blueberry bushes planted decades ago by the University of Alabama ag folks (so I am told). After the picking which will be plentiful I hope to transplant all I can bear to move. I would hate to see them fall under the dozer.

Never having lived where blueberries grow I would gladly accept advice about transplanting and culture. I expect to observe during picking where the bushes thrive and provide a similar location upon transplanting. I normally cut the top growth of a candidate transplant to one third of original, cut the root ball and leave it to rest for a week or so before retrieving.

Advice and critique welcome. Thanks in advance.

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Roger
Senior Member
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:52 am
Location: North Georgia

This site has some good general info on blueberry culture:
[url]https://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1422.html[/url]

MaineDesigner
Green Thumb
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:17 pm
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

The blueberries you have in the South are probably Vaccinium ashei (Rabbiteye) or hybrids. My experience is entirely with the northern V. angustifolium or V. corymbosum blueberries but as far as I know all blueberries like very acidic (4.5 - 5.0), consistently moist but not wet, and well drained soils. Northern blueberries, especially the lowbush are usually found on nutrient poor soils. That may be in part because blueberries have a relatively primitive root system and are weak competitors. They do not like weed competition. Be sure you get as much soil as possible as the blueberries are dependent on a symbiotic relationship with soil fungus to absorb nutrients.

I don't follow your logic in leaving them to rest for a week. That isn't enough time to generate new roots inside the circumference you root pruned. I would move them immediately.

Recent hort research has generally indicated no benefit and possible harm from the traditional practice of cutting back the tops on woody plants before moving but I don't know if any research has been done specifically on Rabbiteye blueberries. My understanding is that Rabbiteye blueberry bushes can be quite large so cutting them back may well be necessity. Ideally they would have been moved earlier, before bud break.

Is "access" the same as permission to remove the plants? Even in areas that are scheduled for development it is bad ju-ju to remove plants from private or public property without prior permission.

Pepper
Full Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2008 5:27 pm
Location: NW Florida

Maine Designer,

Thank you for the excellent reply and great information. I will take your advice and move the plants immediately......saves fuel and time also.

As to your comment "Ideally they would have been moved earlier, before bud break." I will be transplanting after the berries have played out. If I correctly understand the term "bud break" that would be the beginning of the fruiting cycle which occurs in January here. Local conventional wisdom says that if you transplant blueberry bushes between Christmas and New Years you will get fruit in June. I hope by transplanting just after the berries play out I can take advantage of the summer growth season.

Rest assured I have permission to pick berries and remove plants. I am doing so at the suggestion of my partner who owns the property. I consider it wrong to intrude on the property of others............dangerous too since in this very rural area most people are never far from a firearm.

Thanks again.

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