How to Care for an Unrooted Blueberry Bush

Blueberry bush in fruit. image by Dladek/


Blueberry bushes are often shipped as bare-root plants rather than in soil-filled nursery pots. As with rose canes, this is done to cut down on shipping costs and make transport easier. Bare-root blueberry bushes readily establish themselves once they are re-planted in the proper soil. They must, however, never be allowed to dry out before they are planted since they can be damaged or even killed. Bare-root blueberries are shipped and best planted in early spring.

Step 1

Unwrap your blueberry bush canes and soak the crowns in a bucket of tepid water for an hour while preparing their planting bed. Till up the soil of the planting bed, which needs a moist and acidic soil in the range of 4.5 to 5.5 pH. Remove all weeds or traces of old plant material from the soil.

Step 2

Dig a hole for your blueberry bush in the prepared soil that is between 12 and 18 inches in diameter. Amend the excavated soil with compost and peat moss. Fill with the amended and loosened soil just high enough into the hole so that plant crown is just at ground level. Fill in the remaining amended soil and tamp down around the canes with your palms to collapse any air pockets. Plant multiple blueberry bushes at intervals of 5 to 6 feet.

Step 3

Water your blueberry bush canes well around the base of the plant but not over the canes. Water once deeply, allowing the water to percolate down into the soil and then water once more before mulching. Keep the soil moist to the touch throughout the growing season.

Step 4

Lay down a blanket of organic mulch material at least 4 inches thick all around the base of each bush. Use shredded bark, cocoa bean hulls or wood shavings and replenish the mulch as needed throughout the year as it degrades to keep the 4-inch thickness.

Things You'll Need

  • Bare-root blueberry bushes
  • Acidic soil
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • Texas A&M University
  • National Gardening Association
Keywords: blueberry bush shrub, unrooted bare root, care grow maintenance

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.

Photo by: Dladek/