Dividing Blueberry Bushes
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Weinstein
Posted on: August 27, 1998

I have a row of 100 bluebery plants, 2 feet apart, which are 30 years old. They are in south Jersey and are about 6 feet tall. I would like to transplant alternate plants, as they are crowded together. Is it possible to dig-up the plants and separate the root ball which has about ten branches growing from it, into about four or five parts? How much of the root ball would I have to digup without damaging the plants? What time of year should this be done?

You certainly can transplant alternate bushes, but you are going to set back the ones you dont touch as well, because the roots will have intertwined to a certain extent. Luckily the plants are fairly shallow rooted. You may do less damage by digging up the whole row, gently teasing them apart and replanting immediately, then watering and then mulching. If you wish to divide the individual bushes you are going to set the plasnts back severely. Make sure you only sever pieces that have plenty of roots and put a bit of flower of sulphur on the cut ends to prevent fungus infections from attacking the plant at its injured spots. Again rapid replanting, preferably on a cloudy or better yet rainy day will minimize losses. You will probably have to dig a ball twice as large as the spread of branches. As early in the spring as possible is the best time.

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