1 year blueberries in containers

IoldanachMarch 3, 2011

I'm looking at getting some one year blueberry plants, 4-8" tall, and want to start them in containers for a couple of years so that I can manage them when they're still small and take a couple years to amend the soil they'll eventually land in.

I'm not sure how fast they'll need repotting, however. I'd like to start them off in 3.25" pots (I already happen to have plenty of these) right away and then move them in to gallon nursery containers for their second summer, and move them into the ground before they look root bound.

Does this plan make sense? Is there any point in putting them in a 3.25" pot (29 cu inch TLC P80 pots) or will they grow out of these too quickly? I'm hoping they'd still fit in those pots at the end of their first summer so I could easily move them into a somewhat protected area for their first winter.

I'm in Orange County, NY (downstate) but I'm on the northwest face of a mountain so while the region is classified zone 6, I use zone 5 because our spring snow melt is always a few weeks behind the rest of the area.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I think you would achieve the best results by putting the plants in larger (1-2 gallon - you could even do 3 gallon if you wish) containers and a mix of coarse sand, pine bark, and sphagnum peat, powdered sulfur. The key to using this heavy mix is going to be in the fact that you'll partially bury them, which turns them into raised beds, hydrologically speaking. You can use heavier, more water retentive soils and much larger volumes of soil when you have the entire earth as your wick. ;o)

It may be necessary to lift & rotate the plants yearly because the roots will grow through the drain holes in the pot & anchor the plant. Plus, doing so helps you maintain a low enough pH (inside the container) so (excessive) Ca uptake isn't a problem. Blueberries like a lower pH because they have a problem limiting their Ca uptake. You can leave the plants in the ground all year long, unless you start seeing pH issues.

Fertilizers that use urea or ammonium sulfate as the N source are best for blueberries in containers, but be sure to withhold them when SOIL temps are below 55* to avoid ammonium toxicity.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 12:28PM
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