Protecting blueberries from hard freezes?

charleskozApril 22, 2012

We've had a mostly warm and dry spring here in Vermont but there's a big pool of cold air moving in, and the forecast is calling for temperatures as low as 23F within about a week.

I've got 26 blueberry bushes that are three years old. They are very small, because my first winter I had a bunch of deer gnaw them pretty badly, but they've come back nicely and have quite a few flower buds on them. The buds aren't opened yet, but I'd imagine they'd be getting pretty close to opening by the time the really cold weather hits.

Do I need to do anything to protect the bushes? I realize the bushes themselves won't be harmed, but I've put a lot of time and money into them so far and this was going to be our first real (if small) crop so I'd like to save it if possible.

Thanks. :)

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From 23 degrees, I'd say yes, you should protect them if you want a crop this year. I know mine survive 28/29 without any issues, but 23 is getting down there.

I'd find something to throw over them, with a structural support of some kind to keep the covering off the plants if possible.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 9:42AM
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They just revised our forecast and changed the low from 23 to 30. LOL. I bet it will change again though. I'll have to keep an eye on it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:09AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

30=no problem.....below 28 is bad.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Yeah the lows on the weekend are back to 27 and 25. Bleh.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 7:42AM
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Today's report for us up here (huntington)is 23 over next will be devastating if correct. Plums just finishing bloom, cherries and apples just opening, blueberries in full.....

Let's hope it moderates some. But this may well be the other foot us northerners have been waiting to drop this early spring

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:25AM
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They are now calling for multiple nights with lows of 23-25. I think my stuff is toast for the year. :/

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 8:01AM
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April has been a very cold month. lows down to 18 degrees. we just got dumped on with 18 inches of snow. My blueberry bushes have weathered very well this month. every night I cover them with a 55 gallon plastic trash can. you can use food grade barrels too. it works for me because I only have 12 bushes. home depot or lowes sell them. no need to panic. its so easy to rig up a system to protect your blueberry bushes. you can buy cheap wood. make 4 sides and throw a plastic cover over the wood to protect your bushes.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 10:21AM
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The trash cans are a good idea. Unfortunately I have 26 plants. I was going to cover them with plastic but that didn't work out.

I'm considering running the sprinkler overnight. That works for me for early frosts in the main garden in the fall.. not sure how it will work for blueberries.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 6:50PM
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Well, if anyone is still following along, the sprinkler worked. Everything was coated with ice, but after it melted the bushes seem fine.

We still have three even colder nights coming up, though. I'm wondering if this will lead to excessive ice buildup and possibly damage, so I'm not sure if I should persist.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 3:36PM
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