Blueberry question

yawineyFebruary 8, 2013

Hi, I have 22 blueberries planted of different varieties at my place in Sebastopol, CA. They are planted in an area which is kind of swampy in winter and some have standing water right around them. i had thought this was ok since there is a Swamp Bluberry farm on Occidental Rd in the nearby Laguna de Santa Rosa. Also I had heard that they are bog plants.
After coming on this forum and reading blueberry posts I realize I want to bring the soil level up in that area.
My question is: Is it ok for blueberries to be buried an inch or so deeper than they were? I have been adding peatmoss, .25 minus fir bark, rhododendron mix and some topsoil(not near the plants) to the whole area to get rid of the standing water. Thanks.

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Blueberries grow in the high places in boggy areas. They don't like their feet wet and die easily if they are in standing water. If you have standing water, then the drainage has to be poor. Adding soil, might make the surface dry, but it doesn't change the poor drainage or the level of the water. So, no it is not ok to bury the blueberry bushes deeper and adding soil on top isn't helping. If you can't find a different place, then I would try raised beds 12-18" high filled with sand, peat, soil blend. Raised beds also give you better control of the pH.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:25AM
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What Blueberry Hill Farm said. If you decide to dig the shrubs up, mound the soil, and replant in the same place, then this should be done when the weather is cool, and the skies are overcast. That will reduce the stress on the shrubs, and give them a better chance to recover.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Thank you for replies. I guess i will pull them up since there's no way i could do raised bed that big. The standing water is due to high water table in winter. It is sandy loam so the drainage is good. Once summer kicks in I will have to water alot.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:30PM
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If your only alternative is to pull them up and toss them, I would just leave them as they are and see what happens. You have nothing to lose. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:06PM
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Northwoodswis, I would never do such a thing, but thanks. I meant pull them up 3-6 inches, which i did today with the help of a friend. They are all in gopher baskets and went in the ground betwen this fall and last week so not many roots were through the baskets. My friend lifted one side at a time of the baskets with shovel and brut force and I stuffed more rodi/azaelea mix with peat moss under and around the basket. only 1 time did i feel a root rip. Some smaller ones we pulled all the way out and filled in the waterfilled hole with more mix and put back in. As he held the baskets some drained water (pouring out the bottom) for minutes. Then I did a thick layer of fir bark mulch between the mounds to keep them from washing away. The fir bark is pretty hot but it is not touching the plants and only on the surface.
How far down will the roots go?
If there is at least 6" of non-soggy depth now, will the roots just stay within that?
It does dry out very much in summer.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:07PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Blueberry roots are fairly shallow,but can go down 14-18 inches. Brady

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:13PM
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Brady, in that case will they do ok if during winter the roots from 8" down are in a constantly wet state?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:47AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

That's a good question and one that I don't have much experience with.Can root rot occur at any time during the year,even when plants are dormant?Maybe someone can answer? Brady

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:24AM
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A patented plant is not suppost to be propagated. The reason for the patent is to protect the grower who put in all the work and breeding to produce it. You can how ever use the seeds to reproduce a patented plant as it will not be exactly like the parent plant. Tissue cultured plants are cheap if bought small, like $6 or so. Plus they produce a superior plant after the first year compared to rooted cuttings. What's the point for a patent if someone could buy one plant and turn it into 100s of plants? Not saying you can't propagate them, just don't make it public knowledge and dang sure don't sell them! The inventor deserves his cut of the money. I've done my home work on this topic and every thing that has to do with blueberries. I had the same idea! Florida Hill Nursry doesnt have the best reputation but they offer Northern and Southern High Bush tissue culture plugs for cheap. Plus it's a legal plant that's certified disease free. That's a pretty sweet deal! You could always contact the University of Florida and ask them about patent regulations on blueberries as they hold many of them. They won't steer you wrong. I was wrong in my first post, patents are 20 years.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:14AM
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Oops, wrong post, sorry guys. :-)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:16AM
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Can root rot occur at any time during the year,even when plants are dormant?Maybe someone can answer? I would love an answer to this too Brady. Mabey the cold keeps them from rotting? Hopefully for me.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 4:00PM
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Even though this is an old post, I thought I would answer. I live in Santa Rosa, and I haven't had any trouble with my in ground blueberries during our very wet winters. They seem to be very tolerant of wet roots during their dormant time.

Since we have a similar climate, which blueberries have been your favorites?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 5:54AM
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