MaggieMD
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when to plant blueberries?

The nursery was supposed to mail the plants around the correct time for planting, but they sent my blueberry seedlings and it's only late February. Surely this is too early to plant them, even in Southern Maryland? When should I plant them, and how do I keep them alive until then? They are sad little sticks right now, with some green in them. Also, I have read the numerous posts about acidity in soil -- there has been discussion of peat moss, coffee grounds and citrus peel and maybe sulphate? Also, what about Holly Tone? We used to use it for azaleas with success. This is my first attempt at Blueberries, so I have no existing plot yet. Thanks all. Sorry to ask so many questions! - Maggie

opabinia51
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You can leave your plants in the garage for now but, invest in a grow light just to be sure they don't die from lack of light. You can buy an inexpensive incandescant bulb with a little appratus that plugs into the wall and clamps on to just about anything from Home Depot.

Plant them after the last frost, and I'm assuming that you bought a few different cultivars? Blueberries produce better when they have different cultivars planted togther.

For the acidity, yes blueberries are acidophiles; any of the above methods will work. Though if you use a sulphate..... well if you use a sulphate with a metal ion like Mg, Na or some other metal you will be increasing the pH of your soil not decreasing it. So, if you really want to us a direct acid application use something other than sulphate as dihydrogen monosulphate is commonly known as sulpheric acid and not suitable for home use let a lone in the garden.

I'd personally recommend that you use one of the other methods because if you add a solid acid directly to the soil, you will kill the natural flora and fauna in the soil which fight against disease.

Some say that you can use coffee grounds but a paper that I read years ago stated that the acid is lost in the brewing process so, i'd recommend using unused coffee grounds.

MaggieMD
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Thanks, I read that about blueberries -- needing more than one type -- so I bought two, Patriot and Elizabeth. I actually have two grow lights I was using to start my vegetable seedlings in a week or two. Should I open the blueberry plants and put them under the lights too? Should I plant them in seed starter mix in a pot, or leave them in their root ball wrap and just shine light on them? Our last frost date here is May 1st. That's a long time for them to wait! I can't imagine why they sent them so early.

BTW, I read your posts about pine needle mulch, and we have plenty of pine needles around here. If I go spread some on the proposed plot, will it acidify the soil enough for blueberries in two months? Same question for coffee -- what if I till some coffee in now and then mulch with pine needles? Will it soak through enough to lower the PH? My husband wants to use amonnium sulphate ... :?:

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Gnome
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MaggieMD,
Should I open the blueberry plants and put them under the lights too? They are sad little sticks right now, with some green in them.
Have the buds broken already? If they are only swelling and greening a bit but are not leafed out, they do not yet need any light.
I actually have two grow lights I was using to start my vegetable seedlings in a week or two. Should I open the blueberry plants and put them under the lights too?
I assume that you will have your seedlings in a warm area. By keeping the plants in a cool area ( a garage as Opa suggested) will help to keep them dormant longer, try to keep them dormant as long as possible. I do think you should open the bags/packages to allow for some fresh air though.

Norm

opabinia51
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Just do some research on whatever type of pine you have and allelopathic chemicals to make sure that it is not allelopathic.

MaggieMD
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In fact, Gnome, my garage is heated. Good for seedlings. I guess I can move the plants to the porch to keep them cold. Is it safe to do that if it goes below freezing? So, Opa ... allelopathic? I learn a new word every day here! :lol: Yes, I researched it, but of course, I have no idea what kind of pine trees those are in our woods. Most of the discussion on pine needles and allelopathic properties had to do with making the soil acidic, and that this is bad for alkaline loving plants, but I think it's good for blueberries, right? I guess I'll find out! Thanks, all.

TheLorax
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Several different schools of thought on this. I'm going to lean toward the school of thought that they should be taken out of your heated garage and moved onto your porch to keep them dormant until the ground can be worked for you to plant them. Yes, they can handle temps below freezing but they won't be able to handle being allowed to dry out. I use LFS (long fibred sphagnum moss) that is ever so slightly damp but not moist to wrap around roots and then I wrap newspaper around the LFS. I've had this happen so many darn times that nurseries ship too early that I've begun to dig a few holes in fall in anticipation of screw ups in shipping. It happens. Do your best.

Because allelopathic strategies are often associated with invasive species and are therefore frequently discussed in a negative light (nothing will grow around my Japanese honeysuckles), it's often hard to remember that allelopathy is the production of biomolecules by one plant that can negatively OR positively affect another plant. There are several species of pines out there that are allelopathic but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. You may want to work with what you have and plant appropriate companion species that's all. If you are able to post clear photos of the bark, branches, full shot of whole tree, and some close ups of the needles and pine cones; I might be able to tell you which species you have. My thoughts on this are that there will probably be lots of way cool species you will be able to grow.

MaggieMD
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Thank you! I wasn't actually going to grow the pine trees -- have plenty growing wild here in patches in our woods. I was going to use the pine needles (rake up those that have fallen) as mulch. I don't know if I can pst a picture -- every time I've tried, it doesn't work (my technology skills are not the best). I did find that allelopathic relationships could be good or bad, and I was hoping for the former with the pine needles. Incidentally, the pine trees are not near where I want to plant blueberries -- I have to transport the needles there.

I will definately watch the dampness around the roots. The nursery sent them packed in some dirt and soggy newspaper. That wrapping has not dried out. So the frost deadline in Southern Maryland is May 1st. Usually, the last frost is done by early April though -- what would happen if I "jumped the gun" and planted in April and then there was a frost? Could I just cover the plants?

Thanks again.

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imagardener2
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Rabbiteye Blueberries

I got bare rooted rabbiteye blueberries (I live too far south for true bluberries) and planted them Jan 20. Since then we've had an early morning below 32 degree weather; I didn't cover them up and they did fine.

For potting medium I used 1/2 potting soil straight from the bag and 1/2 straight peat moss. I mixed it thoroughly and planted away.

This is what they look like today...

[url=https://www.pictarget.com/image21142.html][img]https://www.pictarget.com/image21142.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://www.pictarget.com/image21143.html][img]https://www.pictarget.com/image21143.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://www.pictarget.com/image21144.html][img]https://www.pictarget.com/image21144.jpg[/img][/url]

TheLorax
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My technology skills aren't the greatest either or I would have posted a few pictures already myself.

I use pine needles as a mulch to help break rapid freeze/thaw cycling. What's nice about them when combined with oak leaves is that in spring the whole blanket peels off like a banana.

The type of allelopathy can't be determined until you know which species you have ;)

I am the person who pre-digs holes in fall to accommodate nursery screw ups when they ship too early. Me, I'd plant it if I had a hole. Please know that you might lose fruit this year if the buds are exposed to the wrong temps at the wrong phase in bud development. I don't necessarily know that to be a bad thing as it takes a lot of energy to fruit when a plant channeling energies toward re-establish itself.

Had to look up Rabbiteye Blueberry. Wasn't familiar with that name but am familiar with Vaccinium virgatum! We call that Southern Highbush Blueberry. We've got Northern Highbush Blueberry here. Great plants. Your babies look great!

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imagardener2
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Thank you for the cudos. They're gratefully accepted.

For less than $5.00 each I'm very pleased. [img]https://geocities.com/d_m_g_s/emoticons/happy.gif[/img]

Back when I farmed and ranched part of our operation was a 12 acre PYO produce garden. I had wanted to try my hand at [url=https://nfrec-sv.ifas.ufl.edu/blueberries.htm]rabbiteyes[/url], but a 4 year drought got us out of the ag business and my dream of growing blueberries has been on hold for 20 years.

They're only 3, but I'm real excited about finally having the opportunity grow some.

MaggieMD
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Those are some nice looking blueberry plants! Thanks for the advice about oak leaves and pine needles. Got plenty of oak leaves too (30 acres of woods). Gee, now I'm starting to worry about being too far south for the blueberries -- looks like Rabbiteye is special for southern regions. The two kinds I got -- Patriot and Elizabeth -- are supposed to be okay at Zone 7, though it's the southern end of hardiness for patriot. Well, if my plants look as good as yours, I'll be happy. Are you planning to keep them in the pots or transplant them?

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imagardener2
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Thank you for the kind words, Maggie. [img]https://geocities.com/d_m_g_s/emoticons/cute.gif[/img]

As we have heavy clay here I plan to keep them in containers. I read on [url=https://www.floridata.com/ref/V/vac_ashe.cfm]FloriData[/url] that their "roots remain close to the soil's surface". It gives me hope that they'll do fine in Rubber Maid tubs (20+ gal), something I've used successfully as planters for a number of years.

gardenknome
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ive read all your tips but none are working. im trying to grow blueberries. i cant help but think than im planting at the wrong time the nights don't even hit freezing and they keep dying.anybody have any tips for good soil or anything that might help?

JONA878
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Hi,
I know that the acidity problem has been discussed but have you ever had your soil tested for exactly how acid or alkali it is?
If not get a kit...not that expensive....and do a test to find out what you Ph really is.

Blueberries will not tolerate acidity and will not do well at all if the Ph is above 4.5
Worth a try if all else has failed.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

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