Step 1. Dig hole twice as big as pot and about the same depth.
Blueberries need full sun and a rich well-drained acid soil (around pH 4.5). You can add soil amendments to make the soil more acidic. We sell a blueberry booster blend or you can make your own. For other trees and berry bushes, we recommend back filling only with the native soil and adding a good compost on top. But blueberries are the exception because they need that acid soil. However, if you are using elemental sulfur to acidify the soil don’t let it come in contact with the roots.
Step 1. Dig a hole twice as big as the pot and just a little deeper.
Step 2. Remove sod and keep separate from soil
Step 2. If you’re digging into a grassy location, remove the sod. You can compost this or use it to fill in bare spots in your lawn.
Step 3. Put soil on cardboard.
Step 3. Put soil from the hole on the cardboard. This will make it easier to blend with the blueberry booster (soil amendment). Check the hole with the pot to make sure it’s the right depth.
Step 4. Blend soil and blueberry booster amendment and put some in the hole.
Step 4. Blend the blueberry booster with the native soil and put a heaping handful into the bottom of the hole.
Step 5. Back fill, tamp down soil, and put any remaining booster around the plant.
Step 5. Center the blueberry plant and continue to fill in with blueberry booster mixed with the native soil until the soil is even with the original soil level of the plant in the pot. Tamp down gently with your foot. Put any remaining amendment around the plant.
Step 6. Water in well.
Step 6. Water in well. Usually, a couple gallons for a small berry bush and more for larger bushes and trees. Go slowly so the water has time to infiltrate. The water helps soil settle into any air pockets as well as soaking the back filled soil.
Step 7. Sheet mulching with cardboard plant collar.
Step 7. Make a cardboard collar for your blueberry plant by cutting a slit on one side into the middle of the cardboard. Make a small hole there, big enough for your bush. Carefully slide the collar around the bush. This is called sheet mulching. The cardboard provides the necessary grass and weed control critical for bushes and small trees. Blueberries are especially susceptible to grass and weed pressure.
Step 8. Wood chips hold down the cardboard, but in the case of blueberries they also add more acidity.
Step 8. Softwood shavings, wood chips or pine needles should be added on top of the cardboard. We put them on thick for blueberries. Over the season, the cardboard will break down and the softwood shavings will add acidity and biodiversity to the soil as they break down. Adding fresh compost, sheet mulching, and topping the cardboard with softwood shavings, wood chips, or pine needles should be done every spring. Even large blueberry bushes are impacted by weed and grass pressure.
For most other bushes and trees, we recommend hardwood shavings (if you can get them) just enough to hold down the cardboard. But always softwood for blueberries.