transplanting blueberries

Asked March 23, 2017, 7:30 PM EDT

Hello! I own a farmers market and I want to expand into more blueberries. I've had okay luck making enormous containers, maybe holds around a cubic yard worth of soil, filled with half peat moss and soil from native blueberry land that a friend owns. They resemble a short row and I stick about 3 plants in each. This is not a bad way to go but it is a ton of work. Is there an easier way? Can I just forgo the pots and have a equal mix of native soil, peat moss, and pine bark in a 4x4 hole that is one foot deep? I would then use something like sulfur (i hope I'm thinking of the right thing) to make the soil have more acid and put the sulfur on once a year to make sure my alkaline soil doesn't leach through. Would this plan work? My native soil is practically a PH of 7. I have spots on the property with decent soil and then I have some very sandy soil that nothing but moss grows on. Since I am replacing the soil could I plant blueberries where it is really sandy and mossy? Thanks!

Lake County Michigan

3 Responses

Yes I think you can do that. Essentially you are describing what I suggest to home owners if the what to plant blueberries and the soil is not right. The sandy places would be the best spot. Dig a hole at least 2 feet in diameter and 18 inches deep. refill with a mixture of half the native sandy soil and half peat moss. Use the pine bark as mulch. Plants need to be irrigated as blueberries like a moist soil at all times they have a very small root system and no root hairs on the roots so it is hard for them to keep up with water. Soil pH should be below 5.5 or the plants will do poorly. You are right you can use sulfur to lower the soil pH but you need to be careful because too much sulfur can kill the plant. Here is an article that discusses soil Ph and using sulfur.
You should be careful when you plant that you do a good job breaking up the root ball, so the roots will move out into the soil .
Good luck

Hi Mark, That is great information thanks a lot. I do have one more question, though. Since the sand has little nutrition in it, is there some type of organic matter I should add to my holes? Perhaps leaves, twigs, or bark? Or is the peat moss organic matter enough? Can a regular triple 13 fertilizer be used or should I buy the stuff for acid loving plants. Thanks! Paul

The peat moss is organic matter enough since if will be about half the soil. I would recommend the fertilizer mix to acid loving plants not the generic fertilizer mix. The acid mix has the correct nutrients for blueberries and other Ericaceous plants, such as rhododendron and azalea.