Need estimate time for ripening blueberries

kate6(z7 bhm)April 28, 2012

We have had a warm, early spring in Alabama.

I'm delighted my late grandparents' blueberry shrub is still producing, I am taking care of their old place and would like to time my next trip when the berries will be ripe. It's a 3 hour round trip!

The berries seem to be full-sized and still green, with a hint of red on the blossom ends.

I don't know what variety the shrub is, but the berries are a typical size, and the shrub is at least 25 years old, but like closer to 30 (they retired to the country side around 1980 and were planting a lot then). The shrub is over 9' tall and umbrellas a span near 8' in diameter.

Thanks for your insight!


Here's a photo of the berries:

Here is a link that might be useful:

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I hope that plant has some leaves that can't be seen. Lots of berries with few leaves equals poor fruit.

I'd say those are a month off. But most varieties ripen over a month or more. If you wait until all are ripe, most may be lost to birds, etc.

I could be way off about Alabama blueberries.

You might consider pruning this winter. What little I could see looks like a bush badly in need of renewal pruning.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Sounds like a rabbiteye variety, they start ripening late May/June

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 3:05PM
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kate6(z7 bhm)

Thanks, Fruitnut.

I lifted the more leafy branches away to expose these loaded branches underneath.

You are ahead of me to my next question, too, which is about pruning. I have recently been put in charge of this house and the person before me didn't do any maintenance to speak of, unfortunately, for the 10 years the property was vacant. I doubt the shrub had been pruned for a long while before that due to grandparents' ailments, etc.

How would I go about pruning this blueberry? I already have plans to cut back the nandina that is crowding form one side, and the small maple coming up the other, and remove the muscadine that has begun to climb.

I'm also curious if it could be transplanted successfully in the fall.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 3:11PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Moving a shrub that big and old won't be my first choice. It might be possible but doing the other things you mentioned to get it some sun would sound like a lot better choice to me. Renewal pruning should probably be done over several years. Start by removing a few of the biggest and oldest shoots as low as possible. Clean up small wood down low and any shoots out of place. Each year take out a little more big wood. Soon you'll have a younger looking shrub.

That would be my plan. It could be so old it doesn't respond with many new shoots, at least not the first year.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 3:34PM
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