Blueberry - Takeout the flowers after planting?

nandakumar(7)March 21, 2013

Last week I planted three blueberry plants,

1. Bountiful Blue
2. Peach Sorbet
3. Sunshine Blue

These were grown by Monrovia nursery and I got them from Calloways in Dallas.

All three had lot flowers when I got them and still flowers are there. A friend of mine tells me to takeout all the flowers, so that bush can establish itself rather than spending energy on the fruits.

Could someone please help me with this.

Thanks

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sun_junkie(9)

You've got a wise friend! I'd even recommend pulling the blossoms next season too. It's worth the sacrifice, you'll get way more growth/fruit yield in year 3.

I just did some transplanting. It's year 4 for us and our blues got too big for the raised bed. (Removed the two middle bushes and centered the ends) Pulled all flowers again this year to lessen the stress. Wish someone told me not to plant so close originally. Root mats are heavy!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 6:51PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I think it depends some on where you live and what varieties you have. Mine fruit in April and May and hold leaves until at least early Dec. They have plenty of time to grow roots and top after harvest. So I often leave some fruit on a small plant and never pull all the fruit after it has established roots. But I do thin blooms or prune if the plant potentially has too much fruit. This is more for fruit eating quality but may also reduce chances of things like stem blight.

If I lived in zone 5 and had a plant that bore in mid to late summer it would be a whole different ball game. I'd probably remove most or all fruit early on. I'd be concerned about stressing the plant and subsequent winter injury.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 7:26PM
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nandakumar(7)

Thanks to sun-junkie and fruitnut for the response.

I got Blueberry plants from Calloways nursery in Lewisville (a suburb of Dallas, TX). Calloways folks suggested to me to plant them in Containers to easily control the soil acidity level and they further said that Bountiful Blue & Peach Sorbet varieties grow better in container than soil.

Attached picture has these two plants, please note the flowers in both of them.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:34PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

The good news is those both look like tissue culture plants. Ive had great results with tissue culture plants with first year growth. The tops and root system grows very fast if enough water and fert is supplied. The plant on the left looks to have too many flowers for the size of the plant. I would remove at least most if not all flowers on those plants. What kind of soil are they potted with? Looks like decorative hard wood mulch? Really need to use pine bark mulch for blues. Not as pretty but much better at trying to maintain low ph soils in pots. It acidifies as it breaks down and blues love it. With only 2 pots your plants will grow much better with rain water. Well water is a guess due to bicarbonates in the water and municiple tap water will raise yours soils ph quickly. Do rain water if you can. Takes alot of the guess work out of growing these things. I will post a pic of Bountiful Blue for you to give you something to look forward too. That is a awesome looking plant when its all grown up!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:31PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Fall color, it actually got deep purple a few weeks after this pic was taken

Summer growth



Pics don't really do it justice. It's hands down the most attractive plant I have and I got lots of varieties;)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:47PM
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nandakumar(7)

Thanks blueboy,

This is the first year I took up gardening, I learned a lot from this forum and members like you, who share their knowledge and experience.

Yes, both Bountiful Blue & Peach Sorbet are tissue culture plants. Each of the plant is planted in approximately 2.25 cubic feet of Calloways potting mix and about 4 Qt of Canadian Sphagnum peat moss (their pictures are attached) as per the direction given by Calloways folks and later on I also added about 8Qt of top soil as per my friend's advice. The mulch on top is Scott's Red mulch, I can take them out and add pine mulch.

I don't have rainwater harvesting tank but i can use large cans to capture some rainwater for these plants.

Other blueberry I got is 'Sunshine Blue', as per Monrovia website, Sunshine can be used a pollinator for Bountiful Blue for large yields. I'm yet to plant the Sunshine Blue.

I planted them last Saturday, in case I need to change the potting mix, i can do it. Please let me know.

Your blueberry plants look impressive, hope my plants grow like them.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 4:46PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

I havent read anywhere that topsoil should be included in potting mixes. Topsoil loses is value in a pot as it clogs up pores and compacts the soil so water will shed to the side of the mix and not pass through the soil where the roots need it. I use a mix 60-70% pine bark mulch, 10-20% peat moss, 10-20% perilite. Ive even substituted the perilite for coarse builders sand aswell. So far so good. Im going to repot my Sunshine Blue next winter as its been its pot for 3 seasons now. It was one of my first potted blues and the mix was mostly peat moss with some pine bark mulch. Water seems to shed to the side now and not penetrate like it should. I also add Microlife Fertilizer to the mix. If you ever make it down to Houston find a nursery that offers Microlife 6-2-4 and get a couple bags. Its got all the beneficial fungi in it and thats all Ive ever used on my plants. They really seem to like it. Its all organic too which is nice but not nessessary. A couple large trash cans under your gutter drain would be all you need for a few pots. Do it, its well worth it. Your plants will thank you! I would replace the mulch with pine bark. You can try your potting mix and if the plants dont like it they will let you know. If you have success with it let us know.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 5:39PM
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nandakumar(7)

Hi Blueboy, thanks again for the follow-up posting.

Not sure what I can do with my potted mix with top soil, of course I can re-pot and re-use the soil for some other plants.

I want to do it right for Sunshine Blue and Palmetto bushes. I was able to get Pine bark mulch and peat moss from local Home Depot but they didn't have the perlite on stock and suggested me to go to another store.

Below is the picture of Perlite in HD, the online review seems to be mixed and few complain that it is mostly fine rather than coarse. Could you please let me know whether you have experience with the HD Perlite.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:51AM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Course perlite is best but most bags are a mix of course and fine. I never worried too much about the fine particles as I usually pot up several plants at one time. I don't really have time to worry about it. The pine bark should have big enough pieces along with the perlite to achieve enough drainage and air pores to keep blues happy. They like there soil pretty moist as it is so don't worry too much about it. You can always sift the perlite to remove the dust and fine particles if you want. The way I see it its only goin to be in the potting mix 3-4 years then repotted any way. If its unhappy before then you can always repot with a more course potting mix. One big to look for in the pine bark mulch that is used for the potting medium is white wood chips. Remove as much as you can if there is a lot of it. Ideally you want nothing but bark in the mix, no wood. If you can find some beneficial fungi/mycorrhiza fungi it would be a great idea to add some to the mix. It really helps them establish well.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 12:41PM
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nandakumar(7)

Thanks again for the quick response.

I missed to mention my another question, ideally there is NO requirement for any type of potting mix or soil, just plant them with the mix of Pine bark mulch, Peat moss & Perlite, of course I'll use your ratio as the guidance.

I don't have place to keep bigger pots, could you please let me know whether it is ok to pot one Gallon Sunshine and Palmetto bushes in 5 Gallon pots for couple of years and transplant into bigger pots?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:16PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

That would be fine for the first year or two. Fruitnut grows his in 5 and 7 gallon pots for several years at a time. His are in a green house though and probably don't lose moister at the same rate they would if out side. I'm growin mine in 10-15 gallon pots out side in full sun all day. The bigger pot gets a bigger drink of water so it stays moist a little longer. Plus it gives the roots more room to spread out. Blues out side in full sun in a small pot will be hard to keep hydrated for more than a year. Just remember blues require more water than the average plant, especially in pots!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:54PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

That would be fine for the first year or two. Fruitnut grows his in 5 and 7 gallon pots for several years at a time. His are in a green house though and probably don't lose moister at the same rate they would if out side. I'm growin mine in 10-15 gallon pots out side in full sun all day. The bigger pot gets a bigger drink of water so it stays moist a little longer. Plus it gives the roots more room to spread out. Blues out side in full sun in a small pot will be hard to keep hydrated for more than a year. Just remember blues require more water than the average plant, especially in pots!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:55PM
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nandakumar(7)

Thanks again blueboy,

Being in Dallas, I should be watchful during summer time, in the last couple of years we have had temp 100+ for 40-50 days, do you think it is better to use clay pot than plastic containers?

During my lunch time I went to a Home Depot near by work and one of Garden Center associate suggested me to use 'Vermiculite' instead of Perlite and he said lot of customers were happy with Vermiculite. Here is picture of Vermiculite, please let me know your take on this. Thanks

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 4:16PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

I don't grow in pots but have a friend that wanted to grow that way and currently has 40 or so in pots. He started them out right from the 1 gallon pot to a 30 gallon pot in one step. With most plants that is a bad idea but not BB. Btw these are true 30 gallon pots, plastic 55 gallon barrels cut in half. His plants are growing great and frankly some have better growth than mine do.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 4:55PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

I've used both with success. Clay pots will dry out faster then plastic. I use cheap plastic pots and around the end of April I wrap them in tin foil to keep the pot shaded from the sun.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 5:46PM
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