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  • 18-30" bare-root or 3 yr potted?

    I'm going to help my brother-in-law add a couple of blueberry bushes this coming spring. We'll be putting them in raised beds/boxes. He has a limited diet for medical reasons, so getting a harvest sooner would be better than later. One of the varieties I will be getting for him comes as either an 18-30" bare root or as a 3 yr old potted plant. Both are free shipping and only $5 dollars difference.

    When I planted my 2 bushes I have now, one was a small 12-18" potted and the other was potted as well but was bigger and looked to be about a year older. The bigger one started producing a year earlier and is still bigger and more productive. With the scenario I have now, I feel like the bare-root bush would likely develop a better root system and become a stronger bush over the next few years, and the 3 yr old potted would yield a crop sooner but not be as strong of a bush in 2 yrs.

    So you seasoned BB growers, what do you think? Which will actually set-in and acclimate faster, leading to a strong bush and bear a good crop consistently? Or, will it not really make any difference so go with the bigger one?
    Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
    Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

  • #2
    100% I always always always take the bareroot ones when I can get them. They establish faster and become more solidly rooted faster. The downside is the first year the potted one would probably grow more. The key though to sizing them up is ammonium sulfate apply it weakly and at least weekly. For in ground a 1/2 tsp per gallon twice a week will make them take of. It is just nitrogen but it holds in the soil well and will spur growth. If you can just do it weekly 1 tsp per gallon, first couple applications you might go a bit lighter and just make sure to never use it on bushes that are dry.
    Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

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    • #3
      If one purchased a dormant plant in a pot, assuming shipping costs weren't an issue, couldn't you just bare-root it before planting and get the same result? I've never tried that, but perhaps the roots might be less compromised. If that's true, I'd go for the larger of the two plants. Though a verbal description won't really tell you which one is larger in terms of girth or better health.
      SoCal, zone 10.
      www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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      • #4
        Gina,

        Not really......the bareroot are field grown so the roots naturally reach out in every direction and are on a single plane. When you put it in the ground that growth pattern continues and gives the plants a wide stable base. The potted plants even if barerooted the roots are still circling and due to the shape grew like a spiral staircase. It just takes them a lot longer to establish the main roots to the sides as they had always been forced down and around. Now you could cut the roots that circle off put it shocks the plant pretty badly and that slows the initial growth. Bareroots just work better at least that has been my experience anyway.
        Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

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        • #5
          OK, got it. Much like preferring to buy bareroot fruit trees and roses. Both of those also do better than previously potted versions. And for the same reasons.

          Out here, bareroot blueberries just aren't available so 'potted' is my main experience..
          SoCal, zone 10.
          www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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          • #6
            That confirms what I thought. Thanks so much for the responses.
            Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
            Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

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