Relocating Blueberries

Asked July 4, 2018, 3:31 PM EDT

Hi. Thanks for all the really great information you’ve collected on growing blueberries. One question I didn’t find an answer for is how to best transplant blueberry plants. I have nine healthy plants, free of disease and pests, fairly well established, productive. Appears to be four different cultivars. Winter pruning regimen could be improved however (these plants came with the purchase of a home). Other than keeping them healthy this season and preparing the new bed appropriately, do you have any other advice for making a fall transplant more successful? Thanks.

Lane County Oregon

2 Responses

I like the way your question is worded, as you're already thinking about doing the right things! Fall is a great time to transplant, because the plants will have all winter to re-establish roots before the root system will have a demand placed on it for water during next year's growing season. Blueberries are shallow-rooted, so that is in your favor for transplanting. The roots will extend to at least the drip line of the shrubs, and perhaps a little beyond if they aren't competing with each other for space, so do what you can to get as much of the root system as possible, within reason. During pruning this winter, you might prune a little more than you otherwise would. You mention the plants haven't had quite the pruning regimen they should have, so pruning a little harder will result in new shoots from the base. You might want to limit fruiting next year somewhat, as fruiting places a high demand on a plant's resources, and it would be good to make sure the plant can invest in root growth to fully establish itself in its new location. However, you can leave some fruit next year. Regular water during the growing season is always important, so that really doesn't change as a result of transplanting. Definitely do NOT fertilize in the fall, but make sure to fertilize next spring. It sounds like you've encountered the publications that provide details on water, fertilizer, pruning, etc., but if you have any specific questions about those things, please let me know.

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