Question of the Week
My four-year-old blueberry bushes are planted in a wet, shady location. Should I move them to a drier, sunnier spot?
Answer: You should consider moving your blueberry bushes if they appear unhealthy or drought-stressed or if they are too far from the house to be managed effectively. This includes being able to water them frequently as they begin fruiting because they are about the right age to begin production.
If they appear healthy, they are close enough to the house to be managed effectively (including irrigation as they begin full production), and, with a minimal amount of clearing work, you can ensure their continued survival, you probably don't need to move them.
Moving established blueberry bushes of this age is surprisingly successful. If the bushes were planted correctly and the planting hole contains a lot of peat moss, the roots should not be that extensive and transplanting should proceed relatively easily, though it is important to get as much of the root mass as possible.
Be sure to transplant the blueberry bushes during dormancy. You will also probably want to cut back or thin out a lot of the little trunks to help minimize transplant shock (some root loss is inevitable during transplanting, and so the tops need to be brought back into balance with the roots). You may delay or reduce fruiting during this transplant year.
If you choose not to move them, be sure to provide them with good management practices as described in the ATTRA publication Blueberries: Organic Production, available at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=14.
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