SHB blueberries haven't gone dormant yet in Z5

edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)November 26, 2012

My 2 container SHB blueberry bushes haven't gone dormant yet and winter is here. Temp's in the 20's and 30's and snowing! I'm planning to overwinter them in the garage, but it seems weird to put them inside when they are still fully leaved. The leaves are reddish/green and the growth has stopped, but they haven't dropped any leaves yet. My NHB bushes went dormant and dropped their leaves a month ago. I currently have the SHB's an unheated outdoor shed. The temps in the shed are close to the outdoor temps, maybe a few degrees warmer. My garage temp is still in the low 50's and getting cooler slowly. Should I leave them in the shed for a while or move them into the garage? Suggestions please. Thanks. Ed.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

My Sweetcrisp keep their leaves all winter. That's what they want to do. The more vigorous growth and newer leaves stay on better. But if it gets cold enough some will surely drop.

I'd keep them as cool as possible without freezing too hard. They'll start blooming in Febr or March if you let them get too warm.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 2:39PM
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The Bountiful Blue,Sunshine and Misty all kept their leaves last winter.It probably will never get nearly as cold as in your location Ed,but below freezing.I'm kind of interested in knowing what temperature it takes for Southern Highbush leaves to fall. Brady

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 7:22PM
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I lost almost all the leafs on Sunshine Blue last winter and Im in Zone9A/B right were the 2 zones meet. Only the top 5 or 6 leafs on every branch remained. Emerald and Bountiful lost about half of there leafs by Feb. I am noticing some leaf drop now but not too severely. So far of all my SHB, Southmoon has dropped the most leafs to date, maybe 1/4 of the leafs. I stopped fertilizing in Aug though but my fert is a slow release up to 3 months. As much as I water though I cant see it lasting more than 2 months in a pot. If you fert to late in the season your plants may not go dormant in time for winter in the north. When did you fert last Ed?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 7:41PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Thanks all. blueboy1977, haven't fertilized in months. Ok, so the plan will be to keep them (1 Sweetcrisp and 1 Farthing) in the shed until it gets seriously cold, then I'll move them into the garage. Definitely can't leave them out all winter. Yeah, they might bloom early, but better that than dead. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 12:06AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I'd much prefer 30s and 40s to the teens or lower for potted SHB plants. They won't bloom very early when held in the 40s. It's the 50s and above that will cause early bloom issues.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:14AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Thanks fruitnut, The garage should be perfect for them I hope....40's and 30's pretty much all winter. Our nighttime temps now are only in the 20's (no teens yet), with daytime temps in the 30's and 40's with an occasional 50. In a couple of weeks it will be about perfect to put them in the garage.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 12:47PM
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