Digging up an established blueberry plant is not as daunting of a task as it may initially seem. Blueberries have a very fine, shallow root system. Even a mature specimen will have a root ball far smaller than its size would indicate. Transplanting during the right season and replanting in an area that provides for the cultural needs of the blueberry will ensure success.
Transplant a blueberry in the fall after the bush is dormant. Very cold areas may have frozen soil at this time of year, in which case the bush can be moved in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked. If late summer and early fall have been unusually dry, water the soil well around the blueberry that is to be moved. This will loosen the dirt and help prevent root damage.
Dig cautiously around the diameter of the bush with a shovel. Even a large blueberry plant may have roots that are very close to the main trunk. When roots are encountered, excavate around the bush at that distance. Roots will be in a fibrous mat. Once the roots are freed around the outside, a shovel can be slid all the way under the bush. Lift gently but firmly, and the blueberry plant should easily pop free. A very large bush may require two people to lift it out of the hole. Grasping the plant at the trunk and cradling the root mass is the safest way to lift it. Sliding the bush out of the hole using a plank or a tarp is another option.
Prepare the new planting area. Blueberries love well-drained but moist soil. A mixture of peat moss and good garden compost will hold both nutrients and water. Acid soil is another requirement. Peat moss is acidic in itself, but a surface mulch of ground conifer bark or needles will boost acid levels. Water regularly the first few years, until the bush is well-established. Summer water thereafter will boost fruit production.
Plant the blueberry in a pot if it cannot be moved immediately. The pot should be at least a third larger than the roots. Planting media should be a mixture of peat moss and compost. Potted plants dry out very quickly, especially in summer. Monitor soil moisture carefully during hot weather. A blueberry that loses leaves due to lack of water can often be saved, but a prolonged dry spell can affect its health and fruit production for the next season and beyond.