How to Transplant Blueberry Plants

Overview

Blueberries are a shrub in the rhododendron family Ericaceae and like rhododendrons; blueberries need acidic, well-draining soil mixed with lots of organic matter. Before transplanting a blueberry bush select and prepare the new planting site. Blueberries need a high acidic (low pH) level of 4 to 5.3, according to the University of Georgia Extension Service. Plant blueberries in full sun for the best fruit returns, partial shad is okay for the plant as an ornamental but you will have a smaller harvest. Transplant blueberries in the winter or early spring when the plant is dormant and the weather is cool.

Step 1

Spread a 6- inch layer of peat moss at the new planting site and turn it into the soil. Work the peat moss 6 inches down into the soil using a garden fork or tiller.

Step 2

Prune back the blueberry bush to a third of its total size before transplanting. Use a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears and take out any dead or diseased wood as you prune back the healthy branches.

Step 3

Drive a garden fork 8 inches into the soil about 1 foot from the base of the stem and pull back gently to loosen the roots in the soil. Work your way around the plant loosening the root ball until you have completed a circle.

Step 4

Lift the root ball out of the soil and take it to the new planting site right away. Move larger plants in a wheelbarrow or on a garden cart.

Step 5

Dig a hole just big enough for the root ball of the blueberry bush in the prepared soil. The hole should be as deep as the root ball so that when planted, the base of the stem is level with the surrounding soil.

Step 6

Place the root ball into the hole and fill in the soil around it. Add soil a few handfuls at a time and push it under and around the roots to eliminate air holes.

Step 7

Water the soil until it is damp all around the root system. Keep the soil damp but not saturated for the first week after transplanting so that the roots can get established in their new environment.

Step 8

Spread a 4-inch layer of mulch over the top of the soil in a 2-foot radius around the blueberry bush. Hold the mulch back 1 inch from the base of the stem.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Garden fork
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel
  • Mulch

References

  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: blueberries
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Home Garden Blueberries
Keywords: transplanting shrubs, growing berries, shrub care

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.