All Things Gardening forum→Blueberry Transplant Pickle

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ConfusedCarl
Jun 3, 2020 7:54 PM CST
Hello new friends!

I apologize in advance if this threat is in the wrong category, as I'm sure you can tell, I'm new looking to all of the experts on her for some advice.

I'm in a pickle Confused

Some blueberry bushes have been at my grandparents house for over 20 years and now that they're passed away and we're selling the property we're hoping to keep them in the family.

The biggest problem is, from everything I've read, I've missed the optimal transplant time by a couple months... the property is being sold in about 6 months.

Whats the likelyhood of the bushes surviving if we follow the following guidelines and transplant now...


(This is all based off what I read online to do, I don't know what I'm doing so correct me if I'm wrong lol)
-Transplant when its cold
-Transplant after watering
-dig up a 2ft diameter rootball (1 foot in depth)
-plant in 3ft diameter hole (2 feet in depth)
- Fill in with 5 PH dirt
-Cover area with 2 inches of wood chips (stay 3 inches from base of plant)
-water for 1hr every 2 days
-make sure to transfer 2 bushes, not just 1

Extra info:
Plant would be carefully driven between properties over the period of 35mins, should be back in the ground in about an hour.

The drip line is about 5 or 6 ft. (it hasn't been pruned in a long time so that might be a little bit over the top.

Thoughts?
Name: Steve
Port Orchard, WA (Zone 8b)
BrooklynStart
Jun 4, 2020 7:06 PM CST
ConfusedCarl: I am not an expert on blue berries. The guidelines you already have sound appropriate.

The only reason to take 2 plants is that blue berries do not easily self pollinate. Better pollination requires 2 different varieties of berries to produce a bountiful harvest. I doubt if you know the specific varieties because how you are obtaining them, so I will not discuss that subject, other than stating that take more than 1 plant and more is better--gives better chance of cross pollination.

Before digging, prune the plants (week or more in advance) by removing some of the oldest branches, cut back twigs containing flowers, and cut back for shaping to your desire---try not to over cut, many plants will go into shock and die if more than 1/3 of the plant is lost. If possible, choose more than 2 plants hoping you obtain various varieties.

When planting, space plants 3-5 feet apart, with the crown no deeper than 1/2"-- blue berry roots are near the soil surface. Keep soil moist but not forming puddles. Add 3-4 inches thick mulch of sawdust, ground bark, or or similar to protect roots, do not cultivate near roots. In growing season, feed weakly every 2 weeks with acid-forming fertilizer, often those recommended for rhododendrons.

Condolences on your grandparents passing.

Seattle, WA (Zone 8b)
NewbieGardner
Jun 5, 2020 12:50 AM CST
Things to remember:
1. Late fall to early spring is best time to transplant.
You can also transplant during mid summer if the climate is not too hot.
2. Blueberries need acidic soil
3. Make sure you add peat moss.

ConfusedCarl
Jun 11, 2020 1:10 AM CST
Hey everybody! Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I appreciate the help tons! All of you really are helping a fantastic amount during a very stressful time. It's looking like we're going to try to transfer the plants this Saturday (its going to be 60 degrees and raining, so that should help!) I see that the two people that posted are from Washington, that's awesome! Me too!

The plants will be moving from Tacoma to Auburn. I want to makes sure to get things right for the cross-pollination, but I'm a little worried, there's 7 bushes and they all look exactly alike. I tried reading up on descriptions of different varieties and I fear that all 7 bushes might be the same variety. Should I try to buy a small random blueberry bush from home depot and plant it next to the two bushes I'm transplanting so that they can cross-pollinate?

Nearly everything I've read has stated the roots are shallow and only are about a foot deep, is that true for bushes that are even over 6 feet tall? (I found out from my Dad that 20 years was wrong, they're over 40 years old). I'm worried that I wont dig deep enough and that I'll damage the plants. What should I even do? Trench 12" down around the two bushes (about 1.5' away from the the base to get me a 3' diameter, ~12"deep root ball?) Then use a long 2 person hand saw to saw from side to side of the trench?

Thank you so very much for the condolences, my grandparents were awesome, and obviously much more of a green thumb than I.
[Last edited by ConfusedCarl - Jun 11, 2020 1:11 AM (+)]
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