blueberries in raised garden bed
HI my name is Josue. i have a raised garden bed with some old blueberries. i was wondering when and if it is possible to move them. the garden bed they are in right now is rotten away and needs to be replaced. i have also noticed that the blueberries have sunken down with soil over time. what can i do?
Multnomah County Oregon
Blueberries are great plants for the home garden with lovely white bell-shaped flowers in the spring, wonderful berries in summer and great fall color. This article, Growing Blueberries in your Home Garden https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/ec1304.pdf has excellent information on caring for them, soil preparation, pruning, fertilizing, etc.
Raised beds are a real boon to the garden by raising the growing bed above native soil so the soil drains well, warming up earlier in the spring, and not being compacted by walking too close to the plants. Raised beds do require maintenance, however. Soil settles, and so needs to be replaced. Additional soil must be added, organic material must be added too. This article gives more information, Raised Bed Gardening https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/fs270_1.pdf.
Unless your raised beds are lined with something like hardwear cloth, you can just remove the frame from your blueberries and leave them in the same place. If you would like to move them to a new site, fall is a good time. If you leave your blueberries in the same area add organic matter to the soil surrounding the plants. This will help with soil fertility and drainage. You can add compost, composted manure or other material. Be spreading organic material now, the material will get taken into the roots of the blueberries by the soil's many microorganisms over the winter.
Fall is a good time to do move plants because the plants are dormant. If you do move them dig down about 6-8 inches, move as much of the soil about 3feet from the trunk around the plants as possible onto a tarp so you save the roots. You can drag the tarp to your new location. Blueberries are shallow rooted, so most of the roots are in the top 6-12 inches of soil. Preserving the roots will help the plants adjust to a new site.
In any case, it might be a good idea to have a soil analysis done, (A&L Labs http://www.al-labs-west.com/ in Portland is a good resource) especially soil pH. Blueberries do best in a quite acidic soil (pH 4,5-5.5). You can add soil acidifiers (like sulfur) to the soil if necessary, and your blueberries will be much happier. A complete report will let you know what you need to add to produce fertile soil.