Best time and proper way of watering blueberry bushes

roflwtime(7a)July 30, 2013

I typically water my blueberries when I get home from work around 4:20, around the hottest part of the day. Is there a better time to water your blueberry plants? I would reason that it does not matter as long as you keep the soil moist, but there may be some reasons that say otherwise.

When I water, I try not to water the leaves, since I hear that the sunlight can reflect off the droplets on the leaves and possibly burn the leaves. (not sure how true that is) I give each plant around 2-3 gallons of water. I use a bucket instead of a sprayer since I got to acidify my water to a pH of 5ish.

Do any blueberry enthusiasts on here have any do's and do nots in the watering of blueberry bushes?

Thank you!

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I water potted blueberries in the morning. I figure this allows the excess water in the bottom of the pot, the perched water table, to dry before evening. Thus less chance of hurting the roots. I also try to compensate for periods of clouds or low water use with the same concern.

If in-ground this probably doesn't matter. But I'd be on a 2-3 day or longer schedule for in-ground plants unless your soil drains like sand.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 11:32AM
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I do the same as fruitnut. I water my potted plants as early in the morning as I can. When I work I water at 3:30am, when I'm off about 6:30am. Everyday in the summer is a must in my area.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 2:21PM
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I agree with above. Potted blueberry plants will go through water quickly, and they must be watered every day during the growing season. We have heavy clay soil that holds water well, so the blueberry shrubs that are in the ground get watered twice a week during drought conditions, and maybe once a week if it has not rained recently(within two weeks). If the lawn is green, I generally give the bb shrubs 4 gallons, but if the lawn is stressed, and the ground is dried out, I give each shrub 8 gallons per watering. I use plastic buckets.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 2:51PM
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Why would water in the bottom of your pots affect the roots of your blueberry bushes? I guess it depends on how shallow your pots are, but I figured the roots of blueberry bushes would be at least a foot above the bottom of your pots, which would prevent water-logging. Do you know how deep blueberry roots typically go?

In a way, I kind of have pots for my blueberries, since they are surrounded by thick, clayish soil. When I dug my holes, I put about 1.5 feet of peat moss into the hole, then put my bbs on top of the peat, followed by filling in peat moss at the level of the bushes with pine bark mulch. When we get a heavy rain, one of the holes will actually fill up and carry away a lot of my pine bark mulch because it is more downhill than the other bushes. It's my mistake, but it is kind of frustrating having to redress that naked bush.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 4:44PM
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I water my potted BB with straight tap water (8+ pH) in the morning. Now that they are in full sun, they are watered EVERY morning.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 5:48PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


My potted bb have always rooted the entire volume, top to bottom. But the pots have only been 10-18 inches deep.

If you have very heavy poorly draining soil you might, in effect, be planting in a tub. That tub of soil can fill with water and drown the plants. Watering that situation every day will only make matters worse.

If your soil is that bad you should make a mound of highly organic mix at least 18 inches deep and plant in that. Soil for bb needs to be moist but not wet and certainly not a "tub" full of water.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 6:12PM
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Sunlight on water droplets is a myth. But it is not a good idea to let water remain on leaves due to salt crystals forming and in humid areas rot. Water directly to the soil.

Watering is better in the morning but not as far as the plant is concerned, but because it cuts down on evaporation which may not be a big deal in Zone 7a.

I am not sure about 2-3 gal a day unless those are big bushes as blueberries only occupy the upper 3" of soil for a root zone and hence the reason they are very sensitive to drying out.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 8:29PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

In hot areas and plants in smaller pots watering during the hottest part of the day will help to cool the rootball.

As Fruitnut said while BB may be shallow rooted in a pot they fill the pot with roots no matter if it is a 2 gallon or a true 30 gallon pot. I used my tractor to help a friend plant about 500 bushes that came out of half barrels, 30 gallon pots. Hooked a rope around the BB base and lifted them up and knocked the pots off and the entire rootball stayed intact.

This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 15:55

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:39AM
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I installed a rain barrel this year so I could stop giving mine 8.5+ PH city water but so far I haven't needed to water my in ground blueberries (or anything else) this year. Just waiting for things to dry out and hoping for no signs of root rot when they finally do.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:39PM
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