How to replant mature blueberry bushes

Credit: iStock / Sandy Manter


Q: What is the best method for replanting mature blueberry plants and what kind of soil is the best?

The most important thing to know about suitable soil for blueberries is that it should be acidic, with a range of 4.5 to 5.2. You will likely need to change the soil pH, so have your soil tested. Otherwise, blueberries prefer sandy loam soil that is well drained. Since you are working with clay soil, add in organic matter.

When planting, dig a hole 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide and mix 1 cubic foot of peat moss with topsoil until the hole is filled 4 inches from the top. Set the plant and cover the roots with the remaining peat-soil mix. In heavy soils, an equal amount of peat can be mixed with an equal amount of soil. Set plants 5 feet apart with rows 10 feet apart. Apply 4 inches of sawdust or wood-chip mulch in a 2 feet wide band after planting, and maintain a 4-inch depth and 4-foot band over the life of the planting.

Generous use of mulches like sawdust or peat moss will help control weeds, conserve moisture and keep roots cool. Increased organic matter from decomposing mulch will help improve soil structure and nutrient uptake of blueberry bush. Replenish mulch as needed to keep the mulch depth at 2 to 4 inches.

Water your blueberries regularly. They should receive about 1 to 2 inches of water per week. In order to make the plant stronger and more productive, pick off any flower buds that appear for the first two years after planting. This will encourage the plant to work on the roots and branches (canes).

Blueberries are self-pollinating, but for the best fruit production, plant more than one variety.