Replacing blueberries

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londongardener

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Replacing blueberries
« on: January 09, 2018, 17:24 »
I have some blueberry plants in pots which are about 9 years old and not producing much fruit.
Can I just pull them out and put new ones in (i.e not replace the ericaceus compost)?

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Goosegirl

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 12:26 »
I have never grown them but presume they have been pruned over the years (if you do that with them), been fed. and had a yearly partial or whole soil change. If so then maybe just start again. It could be that their soil has become a bit more alkaline or they're possibly pot-bound. It's worth taking one out to look at their roots.
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londongardener

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2018, 12:35 »
I did repot one last year and it had very little fruit.  To be honest they were practically dead :(
I have never changed the compost but will do with them or with their replacements in future.
Nor have I ever pruned them.

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Eblana

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 12:59 »
I have a couple of Blueberries in a large trough which are there about 4 years.  Last year was the first year that I got a good amount of fruit off them (possibly because I netted them to stop pidgeons swiping all the fruit before I get to them!!!).  I have never pruned them but I do always give them a topdressing of some ericaceous soil and ericaceous food when I am doing my Camelias. 

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JayG

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 13:41 »
I've had two blueberry plants planted in soil for at least 10 years, and they've certainly kept me puzzled for most of that time - one of them is half the size of the other but produces nearly all the fruit, despite losing most of its leaves for some reason last year.  :unsure:

I suspect they've never been entirely happy with the growing conditions, which is why I've never had to prune them other than removing the odd dead twig, but at the same time I suppose that's an argument for not compromising on their growing medium, so I'd at least partially change the ericaceous compost londongardener.
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spottymint

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2018, 13:53 »
Compost in pots normally run out of food after 6-8 weeks, so 10 years, they are probably hungry.
You could try repotting and feeding, or strat agian but top dress yearly and feed seasonaly following ericasous feed instructions. A lot of plants in acid soil tend towards iron deficency too.

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New shoot

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 13:58 »
If you have blueberries in pots in a hard water area, watering with tap water very quickly changes the ph of the compost. 

Ericaceous compost is very like multi-purpose, in that it breaks down and goes dusty after a year or so.  You might be better using a soil based compost like John Innes and feeding with an ericaceous feed regularly.  If you can use water butt water for watering, that would also be a plus.

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londongardener

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 14:38 »
If you have blueberries in pots in a hard water area, watering with tap water very quickly changes the ph of the compost. 

Ericaceous compost is very like multi-purpose, in that it breaks down and goes dusty after a year or so.  You might be better using a soil based compost like John Innes and feeding with an ericaceous feed regularly.  If you can use water butt water for watering, that would also be a plus.
I have been only giving them rainwater.

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londongardener

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 14:39 »
Compost in pots normally run out of food after 6-8 weeks, so 10 years, they are probably hungry.
You could try repotting and feeding, or strat agian but top dress yearly and feed seasonaly following ericasous feed instructions. A lot of plants in acid soil tend towards iron deficency too.
What would advise out of start again and feed?

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spottymint

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 14:54 »
I'd go with new shoot and maybe look for a john innes type soil (better for long term planting), maybe try new plants if the old one's look very poor (if look healthy, maybe replant or replant half) and half new and feed using rainwater to water.

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londongardener

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 16:30 »
I'd go with new shoot and maybe look for a john innes type soil (better for long term planting), maybe try new plants if the old one's look very poor (if look healthy, maybe replant or replant half) and half new and feed using rainwater to water.

By new shoots do you mean new plants?

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spottymint

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 17:18 »
Sorry, meant New Shoots post about john innes compost.

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New shoot

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Re: Replacing blueberries
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2018, 20:46 »
Sorry, meant New Shoots post about john innes compost.

 :lol:  To be fair, I could pass for a blueberry bush after some of my gardening sessions, when I roll back inside covered in grot and with leaves in my hair.

I would go with new plants if you can, just because the old ones will be so pot bound and hungry, they will take a while to recover.

If you want to save the old ones, this is drastic, but works most of the time and can revitalise a pot bound plant. It can also finish them, so be warned.

Knock them out of their pots and tease roots out, so you can get as much of the old compost out as possible - you will see what I mean about it going dusty.  An old kitchen fork can be useful for this. Trim the roots back by about 1/3, do the same to the top and replant, working new compost in around the roots as you do.  Make sure you water regularly and look after them a bit after this treatment.  Get this done fairly soon, before they start to get going for the new season.




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