Covering blueberries with snow?

Natures_Nature(5 OH)December 15, 2013

Hello,

I planted blueberries along my driveway last year, they are about two-three feet tall. When i shovel, i have to put the snow somewhere, so i dump the snow in-between the blueberries(spaced 4'), however theirs Soo much snow.. So the blueberries are literally covered in snow, you can't even see any branches.. Is it ok to leave the blueberry completely covered in snow? Or should i get out there shoveling like a fool?

PS - please spare me, my back is still broke from yesterday..

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

The only likely damage is from crushing injury as the snow melts and settles. But you might do the same removing the snow. This will be a learning year. Next year you'll know the crushing risk better.

I've had some damage from settling snow. But I haven't had snow on blueberries.

The snow is good for them if they aren't crushed. It moderates the temperature.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

Well, that is how lowbush blueberries survive in the wild. They are normally found under 18" high and get covered by 3-4 feet of snow which insulates them all winter from the horrid cold that follows in the zones they reside.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lowbush Blueberry (wiki)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 12:45PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

"The snow is good for them if they aren't crushed. It moderates the temperature."

Yes, i understand that.. But, as far as covering the whole plant, i would think it would choke it out, and possibly rot it.. Fruitnut, what do you mean by crushing? I threw the snow from the shovel and the branches wobbled, but definitely did not break any branches..

"Well, that is how lowbush blueberries survive in the wild. They are normally found under 18" high and get covered by 3-4 feet of snow which insulates them all winter from the horrid cold that follows in the zones they reside."

Thanks! I always look at nature for answers.. She never lies..

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 1:38PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

When the snow melts, freezes and thaws, and settles; it traps the branches and can crush the plant. About the same as if you went out and sat on the plant or walked on them.

That's why some conifers in high snow areas have branches that naturally slope down. As the snow settles around them it doesn't break the limbs. Nature does solve such issues in the long run.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 4:14PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

I see what you are saying... Thanks for clarifying. So should i try to keep the snow from getting on the branches to prevent the possible crushing in spring? That seems like the most cautious thing to do.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 4:32PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

It would be nice if someone from a high snow area would chime in. Actual experience with blueberries trumps my experience with other fruits.

But don't get too bent out of shape about possible damage. Blueberries usually do better if half the small wood were removed. Most overbear reducing quality or berry size.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 5:20PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Bent out of shape........lol

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 5:40PM
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northwoodswis4

I have actually gone out and shoveled snow ONTO my blueberry bushes. I suppose it depends whether you are in an area with a lot of thaws between snowfalls. Of course, be sure there isn't salt on your driveway that you might get on the bushes. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

"It would be nice if someone from a high snow area would chime in."

Come on guys chime in already!

"Of course, be sure there isn't salt on your driveway that you might get on the bushes. "

One of the first things i though of.. Thanks

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:14PM
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ericwi

I prefer to cover our blueberry shrubs completely with snow, when it is available. The snow should be free of road salt. This is not done to protect the plant from winter weather. Only very rarely do I see any damage from cold weather to our blueberry shrubs. The shrubs are damaged every winter by rabbit browsing, and some winters, the damage they do can be severe. Shrubs that are covered entirely with snow are generally ignored by the rabbits in our neighborhood. They could dig through the snow, but they don't, as a rule. Once in a while I will have to prune off a branch in the spring, damaged by too much heavy snow. I don't know if snow will prevent deer browsing, because we live in the city, and deer are not a problem in our urban neighborhood.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:00PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

Thanks Eric! I guess it is not that much of a worry after all!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:12PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I live where we have a lot of snow, but the plants are tall and do not get covered completely. So I don't really have any experience burying them in snow, Even for protection. My dog would kill any rabbits that tried to enter the yard.
The smell of the dog keeps them out. Squirrels will enter at times, but have had close calls, and those do not return.
Of course the mail dog urinates on my blackberries and two of the plants were burned badly. Oh well, nothing is perfect!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

I have a doberman and american bulldog. They have the whole driveway to roam, but the blueberries lining the driveway are fenced, just to keep the dogs out. We have lots of squirrel, few rabbits.. I shouldnt have any problems with pests. I shouldnt talk to loud, we do have tons of squirrels.. What do squirrels do to blueberries anyway?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 2:12PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

I have a doberman and american bulldog. They have the whole driveway to roam, but the blueberries lining the driveway are fenced, just to keep the dogs out. We have lots of squirrel, few rabbits.. I shouldnt have any problems with pests. I shouldnt talk to loud, we do have tons of squirrels.. What do squirrels do to blueberries anyway?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 2:13PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

I have about 200 blueberry bushes and about 20,000 squirrels, they completely ignore them.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 7:35AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Mine are ignored too, but it is only one of many fruits I have. And many of them are on the top ten list, like peaches!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:39AM
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ravenh2001

finely a question I know a little about. cold dry winter winds cause the tips of low bush berries to have what we call dieback. As someone else said pruning a lot of small branches doesn't hurt production you make up in size what you lose in numbers.the reason we like deep snow is the production is usualy higher on the plant meaning, with a mechanical harvester, more berries in the box and less on the ground. If you hand rake every inch less to bend is one inch less to try to straiten up walking to the truck.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 4:49PM
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