What Time of the Year Can You Pick Blueberries? Winter does not kill off blueberry plants as it does other plants. It's best to plant bare root shrubs as soon as possible. Pruning the plant in the winter when it enters dormancy improves your harvests and the plant's … In most cases, blueberries are not seriously damaged by frost. Frost tender blackberry varieties can survive temperatures that dip from 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 to -12 degrees C.), but hardy cultivars survive temperatures down to -10 degrees F. (-23 C.). Cut any dead, diseased and decaying branches from the blueberry bush in January or February. They will not grow or produce fruit if the pH level of your soil is above 5.5. If flowers are damaged, however, the plant will not go on to produce fruit on the areas that were damaged. Luckily, many berry bushes are cold-hardy and in fact need a certain amount of chill hours to set fruit in the spring. In mild climates, winter care starts with selecting a variety developed to thrive in mild winters and hot summers. Highbush varieties of blueberries will survive temperatures down to -20 degrees F, according to North Dakota State University. Blueberries should be planted in the spring, according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Generally, winter damage of blueberry plants occurs when temps are below 25 degrees F. (-3 C.), but this is in correlation with the relative dew point as well as the amount of wind. The Clemson Cooperative Extension even suggests choosing another site if the pH is above 6.0. Apply a 4- to 6-inch deep layer of organic mulch around the base of the blueberries. Wear gardening gloves to prevent scratching your hands as you sort through the old growth to choose the branches best for pruning off. It doesn't matter when you plant your blueberries if your soil is not acidic enough. It is important to figure out what level of cold your brambles can tolerate in order to know when you need to think about winterizing blackberries. Dew point is the temperature at which water vapor condenses. Blueberries can easily survive periods of frost, but they do need a frost-free period of about 140 days in order to produce maximum fruit. Before planting, test the soil to determine the pH level. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Your job is to either insulate the roots for the winter or move the entire plant to a protected location. The way I see it, I can do one of three things: 1) Move the containers to my uninsulated, South-facing, enclosed back porch (which gets good sun, but still gets very cold at night). Native to North America, the plants are cold-hardy and thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 8, depending on the species and cultivar. Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) Identify these oldest canes by their peeling, gray bark. Keep the blueberry plant well watered throughout the winter so the soil feels damp to the touch, recommends North Carolina State University; damp soil holds warmth better than dry soil. Late winter -- and even early spring -- blueberry bush plantings run the risk of being damaged by late freezes. Keeping your blueberries healthy throughout the winter will give you more berries in the summer harvest season. All Rights Reserved. This is usually unavoidable. However, planting time does vary according to climate. Traditionally, blueberries are grown in regions that have cold winters and warm summers, as most varieties need a specific period of chilling each year to produce fruit. After harvesting freshly picked blueberries all summer, it’s time to put your plants to bed for the winter. Winter and early spring, when blueberry bushes are in their dormancy period, is the best time to plant new bushes. The Clemson Cooperative Extension suggests planting in late winter for those who live in the Southeast. Cut these tiny branches down to the spot where the branch begins to narrow. Winter does not kill off blueberry plants as it does other plants. Prune blueberries in late winter and early spring. For these reasons, avoid planting blueberries in a depression or in any other area where water might collect. Newly planted bushes often suffer from moisture stress, according to Cornell University. Q. I planted three blueberry bushes in large containers in my back yard. In general, you can plant blueberries as soon as the ground is easily workable. If it is well above 5.0-5.5, you will need to amend the soil to make it more acidic. Early summer is optimal. Studies show that container-grown blueberry roots are nearly as cold as the outside temperatures, and though many varieties are hardy to minus-20 degrees and beyond, that’s when only the shoot system is exposed, not the roots. They also need a location that drains well. Blueberries can even be grown in containers. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Trim any old canes which do not produce berries back to the ground. This can take up to a year if the levels are as high as 7.0, so test your soil well in advance of when you decide to plant the bushes. What Is the Scientific Name for a Blueberry Bush? Winter does not kill off blueberry plants as it does other plants. Raised beds usually work well. Besides needing well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight, blueberries need acidic soil.
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